Josh Vignona on What’s Reopening in Tampa, Florida: Covid-19

The COVID vaccine rollout continues making headlines across Tampa and the state of Florida. But what about the restaurants, attractions and sporting venues reopening their doors to the public?
In his latest blog, #bizleisure blogger and longtime Tampa resident Josh Vignona walks you through what’s open across the city and where to start your next day on the town.

“Is my favorite downtown restaurant open for business?” 

“Can I kick up some sand at Clearwater Beach?” 

“How about treating the kids to a day at the zoo… or catching a ballgame at Tropicana Field?”

As the vaccine rolls out and things edge (just a little) closer to normal, many Tampa locals want to know what’s safe and where they can go to shake off the year-long lockdown. 

And as the city begins to (slowly) stretch its legs, #bizleisure blogger Josh Vignona provides a brief look at what’s open and how to ease back into the pre-pandemic lifestyle. 

But first, let’s look at what’s making this reopen possible, most notably:

Josh Vignona Vaccinated Back to Kumon math and reading
Vaccinated and back to learning! – Josh Vignona

The Vaccine in Florida

While the beginning may have been a little sluggish, Florida’s recent vaccine push continues to gain traction across the state.

As of late March, nearly 25% of the state’s 22 million residents have received the COVID vaccine. 

And of the four million Florida residents 65 and older, about 75% are now inoculated.

What’s more: Vaccine eligibility for the 40+ age group began on March 29th and extended to all state residents 18 and over just a week later. 

And while Josh Vignona knows that enhanced vaccine access has yet to eliminate the danger or the need for proper safety precautions, the rapid rollout provides some welcome news for people and businesses across the Tampa area.

Traveling with the Kiddo! - Josh Vignona
Traveling with the Kiddo! – Josh Vignona

The Great Tampa Reopening: What to Know

Of course, many Tampa attractions and businesses started the “reopening” process last May, providing access to patrons in line with state and local capacity and safety requirements.

But as vaccine numbers rise and cases trend downward, local organizations, venues and others continue to readapt their approach, including:

Tampa Ballparks & Sports Teams

Josh vignona baseball 2021 covid Tampa Florida
So glad sports are baaaccckkk here in Tampa! – Josh Vignona

As of now:

  • The Tampa Bay Rays plan to allow 9,000 fans to attend Opening Day (April 9 vs. NYY) and subsequent home games. This amounts to about 20% of Tropicana Field capacity.
  • As the Spring Training home of the New York Yankees, George M. Steinbrenner Field (aka Florida’s Yankee Stadium), will host about 2,400 fans (25% capacity) for each pre-season game. The same holds true for each Tampa Tarpons (Single A) home game.
  • Hometown hockey champs the Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the few NHL teams to allow in-person fans this season. Between 3,900 and 4,000 (23% capacity) may attend each home matchup at Amalie Arena. 
  • The NFL-Champion Tampa Bay Bucs hosted about 25,000 football fans at Raymond James Stadium for Superbowl fifty-five (LV), more than a third of the stadium’s 74,000 capacity. 
Josh Vignona Restaurant Tampa Covid19
It’s great to get to go out to eat again! – Josh Vignona

Tampa Restaurants

Most Tampa restaurants officially resumed in-person dining in June 2020.

And as Josh Vignona knows, Tampa’s mayor announced a return to 100% restaurants and bar capacity last September.

Currently, there no interior capacity limits in place.

So, while spacing and mask requirements remain, you are free to dine in at any of your favorite Tampa restaurants, including:

  • Ciro’s Tampa
  • Ocean Prime
  • Rooster & the Till
  • Front Porch
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
  • Al’s Finger Licking Good Soul Food
  • Bern’s Steak House 
  • Frenchy’s Rockaway Grille
  • Metro Diner 
  • La Teresita
  • Ulele
  • Meat Market
  • Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café
  • And more
Josh Vignona Clearwater Beach Covid 2021
So glad to be back at Clearwater Beach! – Josh Vignona

Tampa Beaches

Most public beaches in Tampa and Hillsborough County are now open from 8am to sunset. (Important: COVID safety and distancing rules apply to all beach activities).  

This means you may now dig your toes in the sand and plant your parasol at any Tampa area beach, including Clearwater Beach, St Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Caladesi Island, Fort DeSoto Beach, Cypress Point Park, Ben T. Davis Beach, Picnic Island Park, Davis Islands Seaplane Basin, East Tampa Beach, Sunset Beach and more.

Please note: Much like other parts of the state, Tampa continues to experience a record surge of travelers and beachgoers for 2021 Spring Break, raising concerns about social distancing and public health. Josh Vignona recommends exercising caution and common sense when visiting local beaches in the weeks and months ahead. 

Josh Vignona Adventure Island Tampa Covid19
Yep, back to Adventure Island!! Woohoo! – Josh Vigona

Popular Tampa Attractions 

Many popular attractions in and around Tampa are also open to the public, though some locations may limit access based on internal policies and capacity. 

Some of Josh Vignona’s favorites include:

  • The Florida Aquarium
  • Glazer Children’s Museum (by reservation)
  • Busch Gardens theme and Amusement Park (limited capacity)
  • Adventure Island
  • Raymond James Stadium
  • Amalie Arena
  • Tropicana Field
  • Dinosaur World
  • Sparkman Wharf
  • Sponge Docks
  • Ybor City
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park (reduced capacity; available by reservation)
  • Fort De Soto Park 
  • Henry B. Plant Museum
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Salvador Dali Museum (The Dali)

For information on City of Tampa COVID protocols, safety measures and more, click here.Want to learn more about Josh Vignona and the #bizleisure lifestyle? Follow Vignona on Facebook and Twitter today.

Hotels vs. Hostels? It Depends on the Destination!

Hotels vs. Hostels? #bizleisure blogger Josh Vignona looks at each vacation stay option and some of the best of both in destinations around the globe.

One of the most important questions you’re likely to ask before booking that next trip is “where am I going to stay?” 

And when it comes to mapping out that overseas vacay, the answer often comes down to one of two choices: hotel or hostel. 

Josh Vignona Hostel with Kids
With Kids, Hostels are fun! – Josh Vignona

Seasoned globetrotter and travel-stay aficionado Josh Vignona looks at the main differences between each overnight option and a few of his favorite hotel and hostel destinations around the world. 

Hotels vs. Hostels: What’s the Difference?

Before we get into the best hotel and hostel destinations in the world, let’s dive into what sets the two lodging styles apart – and why many travelers opt for one over the other:

Price

The price tag is nearly always a top concern when planning a trip. And due to cost-saving measures like shared rooms and limited amenities, hostels are definitely the more budget-friendly option. 

Josh Vignona Hotel with Friends
Hotels are great for friends when you want them and privacy when you want time for yourself! – Josh Vignona

Privacy

While some hostels now offer private rooms, the rule-of-thumb tends to be shared sleeping areas, bathrooms and common areas. If you’re looking for privacy during your next vacation, Josh Vignona knows hotels are the way to go.

Interaction/Atmosphere

If minimal interaction and keeping to yourself are your thing, most hotels are more than happy to accommodate. But for those seeking a little more personality, variety and social connection on that next European getaway, hostels are hard to beat. 

Freedom of Movement

Without a doubt, hostels provide some of the best opportunities to travel the globe and experience exotic areas on the cheap. But because you’re sharing a room with others, certain levels of etiquette and even curfews tend to be required, often limiting what you can do and when. 

Hotels definitely win this round.  

Josh Vignona Hotel bathtub
They are great for the bathtubs too! – Josh Vignona

Choice

You’ll find a variety of hotels and hostels nearly anywhere you go, providing no end of options for booking and planning your next vacay. While some areas are more hotel- or hostel-heavy than others, finding your stay of choice shouldn’t be a problem, no matter where you happen to be going. 

Now that we’ve looked at what separates each lodging option, let’s check in on some of the best hotels and hostels in the world and which stays to think about when booking your next trip.

Top 5 Hotels Across the Globe

For anyone seeking a great hotel experience (and willing to dish out a few extra dollars to get it), Josh Vignona recommends these top hotel stays around the world:

Awasi Patagonia (Chile)

Perched in a private reserve with breathtaking views of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, Awasi Patagonia private villas offer a luxury hotel experience you’ll never forget. 

Awasi Pategonia - Josh Vignona
Image credit: andbeyond.com

Finca Cortesin (Spain)

Located in Malaga along a stretch of elegant Mediterranean coastline, Finca Cortesin puts the perfect cap on any Southern Spain vacation. 

Anantara Chiang Mai (Thailand)

The beautifully designed Anantara Chiang Mai Hotel Resort & Spa offers the latest in luxury hotel comfort and sophistication (as well as a large swimming pool) just minutes from the dynamic urban epicenter of Chiang Mai.

Hoshinoya Tokyo (Japan)

High-rise hotel Hoshinoya Tokyo provides a peaceful escape from the never-sleeping streets of Downtown Tokyo, including comfy beds and spacious soaking tubs within an elegant ryokan-style design. 

The Mark (New York)

A sought-after destination for visitors to NYC’s Upper East Side, the Mark Hotel delivers a uniquely New York experience that’ll level-up any jaunt or week-long excursion to the Big Apple. 

The Mark Hotel New York - Josh Vignona
Image credit: booking.com

Best 5 Hostel Hot Spots You’ll Find Anywhere 

Traveling solo and on a budget? Josh Vignona recommends these top hostel stays when mapping out your next overseas journey:

ClinkNOORD (Netherlands)

Decked out with a large, spacious common area (including a pool table), free Wi-Fi and comfy dorm and private room options, the laid-back ClinkNOORD is one of the most popular hostels in all of Amsterdam.

Clinknoord Hostel- Josh Vignona
image credit clinkhostels.com

Dalat Friendly Fun (Vietnam)

Vietnams’ own Dalat Friendly Fun Hostel features four shared dorm areas (with adjoining bathrooms) and a friendly atmosphere at rates that’ll fit most any traveler’s budget. 

Adventure Queenstown Hostel (New Zealand)

Adventure Queenstown offers a clean, relaxed hostel environment with a huge balcony, an array of in-house activities and numerous local sightseeing opportunities within a short walking distance.

Soul Kitchen (Russia)

In the heart of St. Petersburg lies Soul Kitchen, a colorful, comfortable, medium-sized hostel with both bunk beds (including privacy curtains!) and private room options perfect for families, couples and individual travelers.

Josh Vignona USA Hostels San Francisco
Just hangin with friends in San Fran – Josh Vignona

USA Hostels San Francisco (U.S.)

Considered by many as the best hostel value in the city, USA Hostels San Francisco comes complete with a fully operational kitchen lounge, dorms (including lockers!) and a number of creature-comfort amenities. 

For the latest #bizleisure travel tips, updates and more, follow Josh Vignona on Facebook and Twitter

Josh Vignona: 9 Best Scuba Destinations in Florida

Ready for an unforgettable scuba experience? Florida resident Josh Vignona offers up his favorite diving destinations throughout the Sunshine State.

With an extensive ocean coastline and a large network of freshwater lakes, rivers and tributaries, Florida features virtually no end of incredible snorkeling scuba diving opportunities. 

And whether you’re a first-time diver or a grizzled deep-water veteran, few places on Earth that can match the number or level of scuba diving experiences as the Sunshine State. 

Below, #bizleisure blogger and longtime Florida resident Josh Vignona dives into some of his favorite scuba destinations across the state – must-do plunges to put on your deep-dive bucket list. 

9 Best Scuba Destinations in Florida

Josh Vignona Scuba USNS Vandenberg Wreck
Josh Vignona Scuba USNS Vandenberg Wreck

1. USNS Vandenberg Wreck (Florida Keys)

Sunk to the Atlantic Ocean’s briny depths in 2009, the USNS Vanderberg is far and away one of the ultimate dive destinations in the Florida Keys, if not the world. 

Attracting thousands of divers each year, this 520-ft.-long, over 100-ft.-tall ship offers an enormous and enjoyable diving playground for divers of almost every skill level, providing a labyrinth of opportunities to explore and test your diving mettle.

While not quite the vibrant underwater ecosystem of other diving hotspots, Josh Vignona knows this incredible dive opportunity to be loaded with numerous species of colorful sea life and spectacle, including countless barracuda, grouper and even the occasional whale shark.  

Josh Vignona Scuba Dry Tortugas National Park
Josh Vignona Scuba Dry Tortugas National Park

2. Dry Tortugas National Park (Gulf of Mexico, 70m from Key West)

Located a few-hours boat ride from Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park offers some of the best-quality tropical reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, complete with nearly no end of bright color, beauty and sea life variety accessible to divers of any level.

Home to massive marine sanctuaries and untold numbers of shipwrecks, it’s hard to top Dry Tortugas simply for the sheer magnitude of diving possibilities, including one of the more inspiring and exotic arrays of tropical wildlife found anywhere in the Gulf. 

With everything from shallow coral areas to deep wrecks and breathtaking drop-offs, Josh Vignona knows very few coral diving experiences that can truly match this isolated island cluster. 

Spiegel Grove Joshua Vignona Scuba 2021
Spiegel Grove Joshua Vignona Scuba 2021

3. Spiegel Grove (Upper Florida Keys)

You can’t have an honest convo about great Florida diving without a shoutout to Spiegel Grove, a thrilling wreck-diving experience with one of the best artificial reef environments in the Sunshine State.

Perched on Dixie Shoal just miles from Key Largo, this more-than-500-foot retired Navy deck ship is a must-dive for seasoned diving enthusiasts seeking an intense technical challenge. The site is also host to any number of groupers, barracudas, sharks and other reef regulars, making any visit an eye-catching marvel for that inner biologist. 

As Florida dive-wreck adventuring goes, Josh Vignona knows the coral-crusted Spiegel Grove will never do you wrong. 

Josh Vignona Devil's Den Spring Scuba
Josh Vignona Devil’s Den Spring Scuba

5. Devil’s Den Spring (North Central Florida)

Chances are “Prehistoric Sinkhole” isn’t what you think of when mulling over great diving opportunities. But when it comes to Florida diving, there are few experiences as serene or spectacular as the natural spring cavern known as Devil’s Den.

Filled with crystal clear water seeping in from massive underground aquifers, Central Florida’s Devil’s Den provides unique diving opportunities for beginners and accomplished cave divers alike. 

Offering a brief but mesmerizing look into the age-old freshwater tunnel network spanning the state, the 50-foot Devil’s Den features a rich collection of artifacts and fossils to explore as you dip and dive through its ever-comfy 72-degree depths.

Josh Vignona Scuba Blue Heron Bridge
Josh Vignona Scuba Blue Heron Bridge

6. Blue Heron Bridge (Riviera Beach, near Miami)

Just minutes from Riviera Beach and nestled alongside the Miami intercoastal, the Blue Heron Bridge offers the fun of a bottom dive without the commitment of a lengthy boat-side excursion.

Home to a tropical reef ecosystem that includes anything from octopi and manta rays to flounder, seahorses, eel, snappers and more, the area underneath Blue Heron Bridge is easy to access and get in some primo dive time. 

Josh Vignona knows the area to be popular among underwater photogs, snorkelers and local divers alike, with easy-to-dive depths and an abundance of opportunity to hone your underwater skill.

Joshua Vignona Scuba Panhandle Shipwreck Trail Florida
Joshua Vignona Scuba Panhandle Shipwreck Trail Florida

7. Panhandle Shipwreck Trail (Florida Panhandle)

Composed of 12 distinct shipwrecks stretched along the Florida Panhandle coastline, the Panhandle Shipwreck Trail offers a wide swath of artificial reef opportunities for the discreet to the daring diving adventurer. 

The Shipwreck Trail features freighters, barges, tugboats and several decommissioned U.S. Navy vessels intentionally sunk to bolster tourism following the devastating 2010 oil spill (Deepwater Horizon). Since then, this remarkable collection of shipwrecks and developing ecosystems have become a major attraction among divers from around the world.

Notably helmed by the highly popular USS Oriskany, a sunken aircraft carrier now considered the biggest artificial reef on the globe, the Shipwreck Trail is a longtime Vignona favorite, providing a near-lifetime of diving adventure for even the most intrepid of deep-water diver.

Joshua Vignona Hog Heaven Florida Scuba
Joshua Vignona Hog Heaven Florida Scuba

8. Hog Heaven (near Ft. Lauderdale)

Josh Vignona’s next top diving destination takes us near the shores of Fort Lauderdale, where the scuttled barge Hog Heaven offers divers one of Florida’s most interesting combinations of dynamic sea life and manmade diving sites along the Atlantic coast.

A 180-foot-long vessel submerged upside down in more than 60 feet of water, Hog Heaven also boasts bridge beams and a concrete dredge pipe – each added to encourage the growth of its outstanding artificial reef. 

Moray eels, parrotfish, barracuda and even spiny lobster reside in the overturned barge and make it one of the more entertaining offshore dives in the state.  

The nearby remnants of the Pacific Reef Lighthouse and another sunken barge (the Wayne) help extend the scope of this enjoyable shipwreck adventure, providing an excuse to add another day or two to your diving itinerary.  

Joshua Vignona Emerald Reef Scuba South Florida
Joshua Vignona Emerald Reef Scuba South Florida

9. Emerald Reef (Key Biscayne)

If it seems like South Florida is getting so much attention on this list, it’s only because there are SO MANY incredible diving opportunities throughout the region. And Emerald Reef near the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale coastline is certainly no exception. 

One of Josh Vignona’s favorites, Emerald Reef stands out not only as the area’s largest natural reef, but also it’s most accessible, providing nonthreatening 10-to-20-foot depths and crystal-clear waters that make maneuverability and navigation a cinch. 

Great for first dives, dive training and underwater photography, Emerald Reef’s natural coral formations and variety of tropical sea-life make it a five-star experience the whole family can enjoy. 

Located just one mile east of shore, Emerald Reef’s array of colors and abundant collection of species make it rival to many of the popular dives clustered throughout the Keys. 

Josh Vignona Tampa Florida Blogger #bizleisure
Josh Vignona Tampa Florida Blogger #bizleisure

Want to learn more about Josh Vignona and the #bizleisure lifestyle? For the latest tips, tricks and insight, follow Josh on Facebook and Twitter

2020 Gift Guide For #bizleisure Business Travelers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Need a great gift idea for the business traveler during Covid-19? Josh Vignona offers a few tips for surprising your favorite frequent flyer this holiday season.

Even with the COVID19 pandemic, social distancing and periodic travel restrictions, many of our loved ones have little choice but to keep their bags packed and ready for that next long-distance flight. 

And with the holidays upon us, treating those frequent flyers to some sharp new travel-related gifts can be the perfect way to show appreciation for all that they do – not to mention make those puddle-jumping journeys and weekend-weary hotel stays just a little more bearable.

With the holidays in full swing, Josh Vignona offers up some killer 2020 gift ideas for the business traveler on your list – and how to make it a season they’ll never forget.

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide
Josh Vignona Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide

2020 Gift Guide for Business Travelers during COVID19

1. Travel-friendly masks

Masks are the must-have accessory of 2020 (quite literally). And for those always on the go, having the right mask may be the difference between an incident-free flight and a trip-killing snafu. 

A pack or two of airline-friendly masks can be the perfect way to fill their stocking and help take some of the hassle out of your favorite traveler’s preboard ritual. 

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide Covid Masks
Image Credit: Getty Images – Josh Vignona

Since airlines in the U.S. base their mask requirements on CDC coronavirus guidelines, Josh Vignona recommends shopping for face coverings that:

  • Are made of breathable material (never lace or mesh)
  • Can be secured under the chin
  • Don’t have a vent or valve
  • Cover the mouth and nose

There are numerous options and mask designs out there, making it easy to find the masks that fit your loved one’s unique personality. 

2. Filtered water bottle

Disposable water bottles were a bit passe even before the pandemic began. And with illness and health concerns seemingly more prevalent than ever, gifting a sustainable, travel-friendly beverage bottle could be just the thing to help calm their worry and quench their in-flight thirst this holiday season.

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide Nalgene water Bottle
Gotta love the tried and true Nalgene! – Josh Vignona

Reusable water bottles are available in a range of sizes, materials and prices, flooding the market with no end of choices to make the2020 holiday truly special. From customizable collapsible options to a host of streamlined, stainless steel recyclables, these eco-friendly handhelds have everything you need to fill their cup with cheer this year and beyond. 

What’s more: as Josh Vignona knows, many reusables are insulated to maintain the perfect temp on the pre-flight coffee or post-meeting ice water, ensuring a quality experience time and again. 

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide
Josh Vignona Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide

3. Personal care bottles/pouches

Is it 3 ounces or 5 ounces? Remembering the TSA limit on carry-on liquids can sometimes be a pain. But watching as security tosses that expensive shampoo or tartar-fighting toothpaste into the garbage is downright maddening, testing the fortitude of even the most airport-tested travelers.

I use these for camping too! – Josh Vignona

A set of high-quality reusable toiletry bottles or foldable FlatPak pouches makes the perfect present for anyone with particular mouthwash, toothpaste or shaving cream preferences. 

Not only that, but FlatPaks travel pouches also provide a great space saver for anyone with an already overstuffed toiletry bag, making it easy to fold in and take everything they need for a more enjoyable overseas journey. 

4. Universal plug adapter

Chances are good your favorite jet-setter has a proven system for setting up shop and plugging into that next on-the-fly Zoom meeting. 

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide Universal Plug Adapter
Photo Credit: Rozette Rago – Josh Vignona

Still, an all-in-one global power adapter makes an excellent gift option for even the savviest of powered-up traveling pros, providing (at the least) a high-quality backup for keeping devices charged no matter where they happen to be.

A seasoned business traveling guru, Joshua Vignona recommends any well-made travel adaptor that:

  • Supports U.S., U.K. and E.U. power plugs
  • Offers built-in USB ports (for easy mobile and laptop charging), and
  • Protects against sudden power surges

Pair it up: Combining an adapter with a pocket-sized power strip makes a great travel gift combo that’ll really knock their stockings off!     

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide Noise Cancelling Headphones
These are not noise cancelling, but they do the trick for distracting me;)- Josh Vignona

5. Noise-canceling headphones

Whether they work from home or travel every day, no savvy business pro will scoff at seeing noise-canceling headphones under the tree – a godsend gift both in and beyond the 2020 home office.

A favorite accessory of business travelers and remote pros alike, noise-canceling headphones make it easy to shut out the noise and focus on that last-minute presentation. 

And once the workday is over, a pair of comfy, high-quality headphones or earbuds help drown out those unpredictable hotel noises and get the good night’s rest your special someone deserves. 

Wherever they are, whatever they do, your favorite globetrotter is sure to enjoy their brand-new noise-canceling headphones well down the road. 

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide TSA Travel Locks
Just don’t forget the combo! – Josh Vignona

6. TSA travel locks

As such developments like the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine start to pull the world out of quarantine, more people than ever are expected to rediscover their love of travel.

And as more travelers begin to pack up airports and tourist traps around the world, the dangers of travel-related luggage theft goes skyward, making it the perfect time to stock up that boardroom adventurer with some TSA-approved travel locks.

Available in a various types and colors, luggage locks help secure belongings from would-be thieves while providing access to any TSA agents singling out bags for inspection. 

Accessible with a TSA master key, TSA-approved locks allow security professionals to open bags without damaging zippers, handles or material in the process. In the long run, a good set of TSA locks may potentially save your loved one hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage and stolen items over the course of their travels.

For more info on TSA locks and some of the best options on the market, click here

Josh Vignona DOB 8/9/1974 Covid-19 2020 Gift Guide Mask up with your group
Mask up and head out! – Josh Vignona

7. Priority Pass Membership

Seeking a one-of-a-kind gift idea for that global commuter?

Consider indulging your favorite roamer of the runway with a Priority Pass Membership, a unique way to transform each new trip into an amazing travel experience. 

The Priority Pass provides access to more than 1,000 exclusive airport lounges around the world. With Pass in hand, your traveler can instantly escape the madness of the terminal and stretch out in the quiet comfort of a completely different airport experience. 

With comfortable seating, refreshments, Wi-Fi access all within a calm, luxurious atmosphere, the Priority Pass allows that special someone to catch up on work or even catch some Zs before cramming into that next international flight. 

While a little pricier than other travel-related gifts, Josh Vignona knows the Priority Pass membership to be a truly outside-the-box way to surprise and delight that flight-hopping favorite this holiday season. 

With the holidays fast approaching, are you all over it? For the latest on #pandemgifts and the #bizleisure lifestyle, follow Josh Vignona on Facebook and Twitter

How to be Productive Working from Home

Working from home? Business blogger Josh Vignona offers tips for enhancing your work-from-home mindset and getting the most from your home office workday.

New to working from home?

Whether your job involves answering calls, scheduling meetings or writing up reports, adjusting to a remote-work schedule for the first time can be a bit challenging. 

Heck, even the most battle-tested of work-from-home warriors can sometimes have trouble staying on track – especially with that comfy couch or fully-stocked fridge calling from just around the corner. 

But with a few small habits and the right work-at-home mindset, you can build a routine that keeps your eyes on the prize, allowing you to maximize productivity and make the most of your new settings.  

Josh Vignona offers seven simple strategies for staying on task and positioning yourself for work-from-home success. 

Joshua Vignona dob 8/9/1974 Pasco Sheriff Facebook
Josh Vignona – Covid-19 working from home

1. Designate a Space for Work

Setting aside a kitchen nook or guest bedroom solely for work isn’t always possible. 

Still, having a dedicated spot for making phone calls and completing daily tasks can provide some consistency to your work-at-home regimen – a reliable central location from which to shut out distractions and get things done. 

If COVID-19 has you working from home, having a designated desk, area or home office for conducting business is key to establishing an efficient, productive workday routine. 

2. Structure a Schedule and Stick to It

As Josh Vignona knows, structured work schedules don’t automatically transfer or kick in once you start the work-from-home grind. 

And without the normal flow of office culture, colleagues, clients, and bosses to keep things on track, it’s ultimately up to you to keep a schedule that prevents professional burnout while boosting productivity.

Structuring your days and sticking to the plan requires a certain amount of self-discipline, though it’s essential to staying focused and remaining an asset to your employer. 

Joshua Vignona dob 8/9/1974 getting exercise Covid-19 with kids
Take it from the kids! Working out, outside refreshes the brain – Josh Vignona

3. Take Breaks and Get Exercise

Want to keep yourself charged throughout the day? Regular breaks and even a little exercise are essential to avoiding exhaustion and getting the most out of any day’s schedule. 

Setting reminders to step away from the desk (every two hours or so) allows you to stretch your legs, clear your head and return to work with a slightly fresher perspective. 

Not only do short breaks help interrupt the work from home monotony – they provide brief opportunities to step outside, walk the dog and avoid any screen-time burnout that can sometimes affect overall work quality. 

4. Get Away from the House

It might seem a little counterintuitive, but scheduling time every week to get out of the house can do wonders for your work-from-home productivity. 

And while COVID-19 has limited where we can go and how much time we can spend there, finding new places from which to fire off emails and hold team meetings can provide some much-needed relief from the home office doldrums.

Not only that, but lugging your laptop to the local park, coffee shop patio or even just the back porch here and there may help freshen your perspective and spark the creativity to improve processes and brainstorm innovative solutions to longstanding issues. 

travel blogger Josh Vignona connect Covid19
Football and a close friend do the trick! – Josh Vignona

5. Find Someone to Connect with Every Day

COVID-19 may have (temporarily) put the kibosh on in-person workplace interaction. 

But just because we can’t chat around the water cooler or share a laugh in the lunchroom doesn’t mean those connections no longer have value – or that we should eliminate those crucial social exchanges altogether. 

As Josh Vignona knows, scheduling regular phone calls, video chats or text sessions with coworkers, friends and family during the day or week provides an effective way to alleviate isolation and cut into the inevitable work-from-home boredom. 

Maintaining such connections not only makes our days more interesting – it also helps boost morale and mitigate the midday slump.

While it’s important not to let these interactions dominate your day, sticking regular, consistent “connection sessions” offers a powerful way to raise spirits and promote higher productivity.

Josh Vignona Be Productive Working From Home
Just put social media away for a while:) – Josh Vignona

6. Set Social Aside

Social media could be a significant workplace distraction even before the pandemic began. 

But take away the oversight and pressures that come with office work, and you have a potentially disruptive force that can quickly snowball into an efficiency-draining nightmare, making it impossible to focus or be a productive asset to your team. 

Though it may require a bit of self-discipline, setting strict personal limits on phone and social use throughout the day can help eliminate a major time-killer, ensuring you stay focused on what’s important. 

And by sticking to a “no social” routine, you can develop and reinforce a long-term habit that gets much easier to maintain as time goes on.

7. Devote Your 8-to-5 to Work

For many of us, working from home is a relatively new experience. 

And for those suddenly thrust into a remote-work environment, the lack of barriers between work and home life can be a little disorienting – particularly when it comes to balancing the day-to-day of team meetings and impromptu faxes with laundry, childcare and keeping our families safe and happy. 

While it isn’t always possible, maintaining the separation between household chores and workday tasks is key to pursuing the productivity prize. 

Dedicating work hours to work – and leaving home-centered tasks out of that mix – is one more way to sharpen your focus and ensure that you’re getting the most out of each new day. 

team building professional Josh Vignona
Nothing builds a team and helps fight off the Covid-19 blues like a dip in the pool with the fam. – Josh Vignona

Other Small Hacks to Make Your Day Easier

Of course, sticking to a schedule and managing distractions are essential to elevating your work-from-home productivity. 

But there are a few other small ideas Josh Vignona believes can make your workweek just a little bit easier, including:

  • Buying a comfortable chair. For those spending 7-8 hours each day sitting at a desk, a good chair is always a worthwhile investment.
  • Keeping your workspace clean. Nothing speaks efficiency like a clean, well-organized workstation. 
  • Leaving your desk when the workday’s over. Work is important, but knowing when to stop is how you avoid exhaustion and burnout.  

Want to learn more about the #bizleisure lifestyle? For the latest business travel tips and updates, follow Josh Vignona on Facebook and Twitter

Coronavirus Business Travel: Advice from the Front Lines

Is travel essential to your work? Josh Vignona looks at the challenges of coronavirus business travel and how to build a routine that protects your health.

“Hey Josh Vignona, how do you manage business travel during coronavirus?”

As someone who’s traveled during this pandemic, I get this question a lot. And I mean A LOT. 

But even after navigating socially distant jetways and face-shielded bellhops for the past six months, it can sometimes take me a second or two to come up with a good answer. I mean, explaining how to manage the redeye to San Fransisco can be difficult even in “normal” times. But in the midst of a global outbreak?

After a little head-scratching and a lot of thought, I’ve cobbled out a few pieces of advice I think can better prepare you for coronavirus business travel. 

And while I can’t say these will remove the anxiety from your next experience, I think they can help prevent surprises and better protect yourself and others at each step in your journey.

Josh Vignona Covid-19 coronavirus travel airport protocols

Josh Vignona: How to tackle coronavirus business travel and maximize safety

Perhaps the most common question I get about business travel during coronavirus is this: 

Josh Vignona, even with all the right precautions, how do you eliminate your risk for getting the virus?”

It’s a great question. And for most, my answer isn’t very surprising:

You can’t. 

After combing through countless studies, airport hazard signs and company travel disclaimers, I’ve learned there is no way to completely erase your risk for COVID-19 – even in the most ideal of situations. 

Fortunately, there are some good practices to help minimize your exposure and protect your health during each trip:

Josh Vignona Covid-19 coronavirus travel social distancing

Stay clean and socially distant

Know how careful you are when going to the grocery store or visiting the neighbors? 

Those same precautions you take during everyday activities are just as important if not more during business travel, when the opportunities for exposure go up dramatically.

While nobody’s ever declared Josh Vignona a health expert (at least not yet), I do know that wearing the proper PPE and keeping your distance are vital to protecting your personal health and safety.

  • Wear masks. Most airports, airlines and hotels these days require you to wear a mask, making it crucial not just to have one on your face, but (at least) 2-3 backups in your pocket or carry-on in case something happens. 
  • Limit contact with surfaces. Do your best to limit contact with armrests, rails, counters, doors and other surfaces throughout your trip. Gloves can sometimes make this step a little easier. 
  • Keep your hands clean. Make it a habit to locate and utilize handwashing opportunities after each situation. Carry a small container of approved hand sanitizer to use where soap and water aren’t accessible.
  • Don’t touch your face. Ever.
  • Follow the 6-foot rule. While nearly impossible on a packed flight*, staying 6 feet away from others in airports and hotel lobbies is just good practice. 

*Air travel often requires sitting next to others for hours, which can often increase your risk for COVID-19 exposure. But because of how air is circulated and filtered on airplanes, germs don’t travel easily, making the overall risk of infection relatively low. 

josh-vignona-swiss-gear-luggage- Coronavirus travel

Research local conditions and requirements

Another good question I often get about coronavirus business travel:

“Josh Vignona, is coronavirus business travel the same everywhere?”

While I’d like to say the experience is the same no matter where you go, health and safety protocols for business travelers can vary widely.  This is mostly due to the ebb and flow of local outbreaks, and how different governments and regions react to them at any given time.

When a new hotspot starts to emerge, it may soon be followed by tighter distancing restrictions, local quarantines and sometimes even partial or complete bans on travel. The reverse may be true when infection trends begin to decrease, leading to reductions or lifting of restrictions that may increase opportunities for in-person (but distanced) business meetings.

Because things can change so quickly, it’s always a good idea to research local conditions before you head out the door. To stay updated on the latest in coronavirus travel restrictions, I’ll usually cross-reference sources like Covid Controls and the U.S. State Department website.  

Covid Controls offers a pretty good real-time database on outbreaks, levels of containment, number of cases and lockdowns in different areas around the globe. The State Dept. provides info on official travel advisories and alerts to note as you plan or adjust your next trip. 

Josh Vignona Covid-19 coronavirus travel luggage packing list

Pack right and plan accordingly

Coronavirus adds yet another challenging element to international business travel, piling on a hefty layer of extra information and additional routines that can test even the most resolute of mindsets.

But while things may feel somewhat upside down, I believe the right levels of preparation and patience can go a long way toward keeping ourselves safe and on an even keel.

Packing 

Just as in pre-pandemic times, business travel is made a lot easier when we have the right gear. In addition to having that cellphone charger and extra pillow at your side, Josh Vignona recommends packing:

  • 3-5 cloth masks. Extra face masks provide a convenient backup when others break or get lost. 
  • Gloves. Use gloves whenever possible to avoid touching surfaces.
  • Alcohol-based based wipes. Disinfectant wipes are essential when surface contact is unavoidable. 
  • Hand sanitizer. Having a small bottle of hand sanitizer can be an effective backup when handwashing opportunities aren’t available.
  • Thermometer. A reliable thermometer is key to tracking potential symptoms and staying updated on your health.

Planning

Coronavirus protocols often add extra time and frustration to the business travel process. Proper planning can help navigate those additional routines and reduce the anxiety that comes with getting through your day. 

Giving yourself a few extra minutes to check luggage and make it through security can help reduce the stress of traversing pandemic-era safety procedures, ensuring you’re on-time and able to avoid rush-related mishaps that may potentially increase exposure. 

This also goes for essential in-person meetings, where accounting for additional time provides the wiggle room needed to keep everyone safe and properly distanced throughout. 

Josh Vignona Covid-19 coronavirus travel

Learn more about Josh Vignona and how to manage coronavirus business travel on his Facebook and Twitter

Tampa Bay Fishing: Tips from a Local Fisherman

Nestled along the shores of beautiful Tampa Bay, the city of Tampa offers some of the best coastal, inshore and even lakeside fishing you’ll find anywhere in the Sunshine State. 

Whether it’s your first or thousandth time dropping a line, “The Big Guava” provides an abundance of fish and fishing hotspots to get that adrenaline flowing and quench your thirst for nonstop pole-bending action. 

Local fisherman Josh Vignona has some top Tampa Bay fishing tips on what to fish for and where to haul in the perfect catch during your next angling adventure.

Josh Vignona - Tampa Bay Fishing Florida
Types of Fish in Tampa Bay – Josh Vignona

Types of Fish in Tampa Bay

From the large, open water of the Bay to an expansive system of mangroves, grass flats and waterways, Tampa Bay’s diverse ecosystem is home to a large variety of fish species, making it a virtual paradise for anglers of all ages and skill levels.

Among the most popular types of game fish in Tampa include:

  • Tarpon
  • Sea Trout
  • Snook
  • Flounder
  • Redfish
  • Grouper

Tarpon

With each new summer comes the annual Tarpon migration, a flood of game fish that quickly takes over Tampa waterways and lures anglers from around the world. Tarpon provide a fun and abundant target that gobble up both live and artificial bait. 

Sea Trout

As Joshua Vignona knows, sea trout provide a year-round opportunity nearly everywhere in the Tampa Bay estuary. Whether you’re fishing the backcountry, mangroves or flats, sea trout put up a big fight and add big fun to any Tampa fishing experience. 

Snook

Found mostly near Tampa’s mangrove-lined waterways, the predatory snook species can sometimes be hooked while hunting down prey across flats and intercoastals. Snooks are strong and often hard to catch, making them a highly prized game fish among many anglers. 

Flounder

In the mood for some flounder? A quick ride aboard one of the many Tampa Bay deep sea fishing charters can help you fill up your cooler fast, putting your line near a wreck or public reef where these sometimes-elusive fish like to feed. 

Redfish

Also known as Red Drum, redfish feed and breed throughout Tampa estuaries all year long. The redfish’s constant movement through shallow flats has made this game fish species a favorite among sight anglers for years.

Grouper

As winter approaches, so does the shallow water grouper, a fierce but fun predatory fish that tend to hole up among patch reefs and rocky ledges to feed during the annual pinfish migration. Grouper fishing is often most successful in Tampa’s deeper channels. 

Josh Vignona: Tampa Bay Fishing Standing in front of boat
Josh Vignona – Tampa Bay Fishing Boat

Josh Vignona: The Best Places for Tampa Bay Fishing

From bay and offshore sites to endless channel, mangrove and freshwater destinations, Tampa provides no shortage of fishing spots to choose from.

Josh Vignona looks at a few of the best Tampa Bay fishing spots to begin your quest for the next big catch:

1. Fort DeSoto County Park

Easy access to the Gulf Pier and Bay Pier make Fort DeSoto County Park one of the top Tampa fishing opportunities in the Bay area. Light-tackle trout, redfish and snook fishing at the Bay Pier provides a full day of family fishing fun, while open-water, heavy-tackle mackerel and shark fishing at the Gulf Pier offer a challenging but rewarding option for the intrepid angler. 

2. Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the two miles of fishing pier at Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier State Park has long been a Joshua Vignona favorite. Whether you’re on the prowl for Spanish mackerel or want to test your mettle against a school of grouper, tarpon or sheepshead, Sunshine Skyway offers the perfect pier-fishing opportunity. 

3. Lake Tarpon

Seeking an exciting freshwater fishing hotspot? Lake Tarpon is one of Florida’s top-ten destinations for bass fishing and a must-visit for skilled anglers from throughout the region. For the best results, try casting a line from the Lake’s offshore structure during the height of the hot summer season. 

4. Harbour Island

A brief voyage to Harbour Island provides instant access to some of the best-rated channel fishing opportunities in Tampa Bay. If your mind is set on catching your fill of species like snook, or you’re looking to hire a professional charter for a first-class Bay fishing experience, Harbour Island is the place to be. 

5. Bishop’s Harbor

Shallow flats and mangrove-lined shoreline set Bishop’s Harbor apart as one of the top locales for trout, redfish and snook fishing in Tampa Bay. Perched at the mouth of the Bay, Bishop’s Harbor offers fans of inshore saltwater fishing prime real estate for reeling in their favorite species (be sure to consult local tide charts when planning your trip).

Josh Vignona - Bishops Harbor fishing in Tampa, Florida
Josh Vignona – Bishops Harbor

6. Davis Islands

Just minutes from downtown Tampa, Davis Islands is the perfect spot for river fishing or launching a nearshore fishing excursion in the heart of the Bay. Some (such as Josh Vignona) prefer to cast a line along the banks of the scenic Hillsborough River, while others venture into the Bay for action on the saltier side. 

7. Edward Medard Reservoir

Edward Medard Reservoir is a must-fish for fans of sunshine bass and largemouth bass, providing a haven for freshwater Tampa Bay fishing unlike any in the surrounding area. With irregular contours and unpredictable depth changes, this manmade fishing hotspot is sure to put your bass-fishing skill to the test. 

Tampa Bay fishing reports

Before casting a line at your first Tampa Bay fishing destination, it’s good to browse the local fishing report. 

Based on current and historical data, Tampa Bay fishing reports can offer invaluable insight into which fish are active at what times of day, and where you’ll have the best luck making the catch you’re hoping for.

While not locale or time-specific, seasonal Tampa Bay fishing reports may also help point your crew in the right direction, such as for: 

Spring

Overall, redfish and sea trout are active in Tampa flats during springtime, while snook activity tends to be on the rise.

Summer

Snook are highly active in Tampa over the summer, while sea trout and redfish remain steady. The yearly Tarpon migration usually lasts from May through August.

Fall

In fall, snooks remain available but tend to be less active. Anglers usually have a shot at catching bigger redfish (particularly along skinnier waterways).

Winter

Grouper action usually begins to warm up in October. Sea trout and redfish experience increased activity in the grassy flats.

Tampa Florida - Josh Vignona
Tampa Florida – Josh Vignona

Tampa Bay fishing charters: why hire one?

With its vast array of fish, fishing hotspots and year-round opportunities, the Tampa fishing scene offers anglers of any type or skill a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

But with so many options to choose from, Josh Vignona knows it can be hard to know where to start – particularly if you’re new to the Tampa area.

This is where Tampa Bay fishing charters come in. Whether you’re into fly fishing, scouting for Tarpon or trolling the deep, hiring a seasoned Tampa Bay fishing charter could be the key to turning your next fishing trip into an inspired angling adventure. 

Some of the top-rated fishing charters in Tampa include:

  • Baytime Charters (22 ft., 4-person capacity)
  • Sloppy Joe Charters (20 ft., 4-person capacity)
  • Capt. Ariel Charter Boats (20 ft., 4-person capacity)
  • Take a Day Off Fishing Charters (22 ft., 4-person capacity)
  • Sunstate Fishing Charters (23 ft., 4-person capacity)

Deep sea fishing in Tampa

For anglers seeking something a little deeper, Josh Vignona recommends the help of a Tampa deep sea fishing charter, such as:

Queen Fleet, which offers half-day, full-day and extended deep sea fishing charters to Tampa parties up to 150 passengers.

Tampa Fishing Charters, which provides half, ¾ and full-day fishing tours and opportunities to catch full-size flounder, snapper, shark and more.

The Saltwater Hook Up, now offering deep sea fishing opportunities across Tampa to small groups and corporate parties. 

For more on Josh Vignona and the #bizleisure lifestyle, follow him on Facebook and Twitter

Virtual Travel Experiences in a Post-COVID World

Did COVID-19 wreck your travel plans? Josh Vignona looks at virtual reality travel and how to salvage that summer trip without leaving the couch.

Got the travel bug? Getting a little stir crazy?

For many of us, COVID-19 has put the ultimate lockdown on travel plans, making it impossible to soak up the sun or satisfy our wanderlust in some exotic, faraway destination. 

But while the pandemic has grounded flights and put many travel dreams on hold, virtual reality tourism has begun to pick up the slack, providing a glimmer of hope to family vacationers and aspiring globetrotters seeking just a little slice of overseas adventure.

Josh Vignona takes a look at virtual reality travel, different VR travel opportunities and where to find a virtual experience you won’t soon forget. 

Joshua Vignona
Joshua Vignona – VR Travel

What Is Virtual Reality Travel?

Virtual reality (VR) travel is a tech-powered alternative to physical travel abroad, utilizing VR innovation to connect you to local and international destinations without ever needing a passport, plane ticket or lengthy travel itinerary. VR travel and tours provide lifelike, 360-degree simulations of monuments, museums and popular travel sites at far less the cost or time involved in traditional travel opportunities. 

With lockdowns and travel restrictions the norm, virtual travel experiences now offer a safe and increasingly sought-after option for families and adventurers throughout the world – a way to dive into new places and cultures without ever leaving the living room.

Joshua Vignona Yellowstone National Park
Joshua Vignona Yellowstone National Park

1. Virtual Travel: National Parks

As Josh Vignona knows, national parks across the globe have long been a source of wonder and escape, providing some of the most awe-inspiring natural monuments, landscapes and breathtaking vistas found anywhere on Earth. 

But with many parks at limited capacity or shut down altogether, more travelers than ever are turning to VR travel to experience the stunning mountaintops, jungle canopies and colorful wildlife these expansive natural preserves have to offer.

Do Any National Parks Offer Virtual Tours?

A number of U.S. national parks offer virtual tour sessions to the intrepid VR traveler.

For panoramic views of the nation’s most incredible natural scenery, take a VR trip down to:

  • Yellowstone National Park, including interactive maps, videos and step-by-step tours of such scenic landmarks as Upper Falls and Dragon’s Mouth Spring
  • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, featuring voice-guided 360 views of the park’s rainforest, volcanic tubes, coastal cliffs and the ever-active Halema’uma’u Crater 
  • Everglades National Park, a wild Google Maps-powered walk through the many trails and marshes making up this beautiful national treasure 
  • Virtual Yosemite, including the mesmerizing, 360-degree view of the iconic Half Dome from The Diving Board (complete with sound effects)

For more of an international experience, Josh Vignona recommends a virtual journey to:

  • The Red Sea, a fascinating virtual excursion through shipwrecks in some the deepest waters on Earth.
  • Mt. Everest, courtesy of Google Maps and a harrowing virtual reality helicopter ride around the world’s tallest mountain. 
  • Lights over Lapland, a VR travel adventure offering a spectacular view of The Northern Lights from Sweden’s Abisko National Park.  
Joshua Vignona, DOB 8/9/1974 - Pasco Sheriff's Office | Facebook

2. Virtual Travel: Historical Sightseeing

Looking for a little history? Many cities and countries have tapped into the power of virtual reality travel to spotlight their most famous historical landmarks, including the iconic bridges, buildings and monuments comprising their unique character and cultural heritage. 

For the history buffs out there, these VR travel opportunities could be just the thing to break you out of your stuck-at-home slump:

Rome Reborn

A paid virtual reality service, Rome Reborn has reconstructed Ancient Rome to provide users a detailed virtual tour of The Emerald City’s most famous landmarks at their peak. Rome Reborn modules include tours of the entire city and such notable attractions as The Pantheon, The Colosseum, The Roman Forum and more. 

Visit Paris

As Josh Vignona knows, Visit Paris offers armchair travelers a 360-degree, fully narrated introduction of the city’s most enduring architectural marvels, including trips past Sainte Chappelle, Palais Garnier, The Louvre and the incomparable Notre Dame cathedral. Though relatively brief, Visit Paris tours do provide historical background and maps to give each tour proper context.

Machu Picchu

Mapped out against the magnificent backdrop of the majestic Peruvian Andes Mountain Range, this 360-degree virtual reality travel tour on YouTube offers a comprehensive exploration of the long-abandoned Incan citadel. Travelers are instantly transported to this mysterious mountaintop city and provided a dizzying but educational peek into one of the seven wonders of the world.

Joshua Vignona, DOB 8/9/1974 - Pasco Sheriff's Office | Facebook

3. Virtual Travel: Museums

Of course, virtual travel isn’t just for nature lovers and amateur historians. For those drawn to famous museums, art exhibits and the wonders unearthed during the latest archaeological dig, VR technology has come to the rescue. 

Are There Any Virtual Museums in the World?

As Josh Vignona knows, many of the world’s most notable museums offer some form of virtual reality travel tour, giving culture seekers and exhibit aficionados a great opportunity to view their most prized collections and artifacts from the comfort of the couch. 

Some of the more popular VR museum tours available include:

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History makes it easy to navigate its many permanent, current and even past exhibits at your own pace, providing 360-degree walkthroughs that showcase an extraordinary level of detail. The Smithsonian also offers narrated virtual tours rel=”nofollow” of such popular spaces as Sant Ocean Hall and David H. Koch of Human Origins.

The Met

Visitors immersed in The New York Met 360 Project can explore one of the City’s most famous museums and its many iconic areas in ways never before possible. Created with spherical technology, these six award-winning short videos allow viewers a unique but expansive perspective of The Met’s Great Hall, The Met Cloisters, The Charles Engelhard Court and more. 

British Museum

Virtual tours of The British Museum are available through Google Street View, providing museum buffs access to more than 60 galleries and some of the most treasured artifacts and artwork from around the world. The British Museum also hosts its own virtual galleries from the Museum website, featuring sculpture and masterworks from some of the famous artists in history. 

National Museum – New Delhi

India’s National Museum, New Delhi provides virtual reality travelers instant online access to many of its most popular art and historical exhibits, connecting visitors with some of the country’s most vaunted national treasures and cultural artifacts. It’s easy to get lost in The National Museum’s extensive collection of ancient and modern pieces, many of which are available in an Augmented Reality (AR). 

Josh Vignona virtual aquarium
Josh Vignona virtual aquarium

4. Virtual Travel: Aquariums, Zoos, and Other Local Attractions

Video and VR technologies have made finding an amazing VR travel experience easier than ever. 

Virtual reality travel opportunities are so widespread, you’re likely to find a number of immersive online tours of local attractions and hotspots near your own backyard, such as:

Aquariums. As Josh Vignona knows, city aquariums like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and the world-famous National Aquarium in Baltimore provide a fun, interactive look into some of their most popular exhibits.

Zoos. The San Diego Zoo, Houston Zoo and Atlanta Zoo are just a few offering live cam feeds to check in on your favorite four-legged personalities. 

Theme Parks. Virtual tours of theme parks like LEGOLAND and Disney World offer kids fun, interactive tours of their most famous rides and attractions. 

Joshua Vignona, DOB 8/9/1974 - Pasco Sheriff's Office | Facebook
Joshua Vignona Virtual Travel

Virtual Travel Q&A 

Want to learn more about virtual reality travel?

Josh Vignona provides answers a few common questions on the VR travel experience:

Is virtual traveling free? 

While there are virtual reality tours and services that cost money, many VR travel opportunities are available for free, including many VR tours of cities, national parks, museums and local attractions. 

What kind of equipment do I need to experience virtual traveling?

Most VR travel experiences are accessible with just a smart device and internet connection. Truly immersive virtual reality travel may sometimes require additional equipment, including high-resolution monitors and full VR systems, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR. 

What is a 360 Virtual Tour?

A 360 virtual tour is a 360-degree simulation of an existing park, museum, home or other location. 360-degree tours allow you to explore a given location from any perspective as though you were actually in the room. 

Will VR traveling replace real tourism?  

Virtual reality travel will likely never replace real travel, though it does provide an easy and cost-effective alternative to traditional travel means, as well as a level of accessibility that may make it a more desirable option well into the future. This article offers a more comprehensive look at VR travel and its potential impact on travel down the road. 

Joshua Vignona, DOB 8/9/1974 - Pasco Sheriff's Office | Facebook

Seeking a Virtual Travel Group? 

Seeking a great VR travel experience? A virtual travel group may be the answer.

Josh Vignona lists a few companies and apps to consider for your next online adventure:

  • Fullscreen 360, which features virtual tours of iconic destinations around the world
  • Google Earth VR, a top virtual tourism app compatible with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
  • National Geographic VR, great for catching a glimpse of cultures and wildlife anywhere on Earth 

Check out the latest on Josh Vignona and the #bizleisure lifestyle here

The 5 Best Costa Rica Surf Camps by Josh Vignona

Travel blogger Josh Vignona coasts through the 5 best surf camps in Costa Rica and where to hang ten pura vida style.

Tropical temps and amazing waves have sealed Costa Rica as one of the top surf spots in the world.

And as this popular destination has become synonymous with 360s and hanging 10, it’s also transformed into one of the best places to refine your surfing skill and take your wave game to the next level.

Josh Vignona looks at the 5 best surf camps along the Costa Rica coastline and where to capture the “pura vida” spirit when shredding through your next surfside adventure.

Josh Vignona Ocean

There are plenty of surf camps in Costa Rica, but only a lucky few make Josh Vignona’s list as the best to catch some waves and hone your surfing acumen:

1. Dreamsea Surf Camp

Location: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Dreamsea Surf Camp Tamarindo - Josh Vignona

Like many of the best Costa Rica surf camps, Dreamsea is located in the town of Tamarindo, strategically positioned at the North end of CR’s beautiful Pacific coast.

Situated in a 15,000 square meter plot of jungle, Dreamsea surf camp combines expert surfing instruction with luxurious accommodations to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Surfers of all ages and skill levels flock to Dreamsea not only to learn the art of the board, but to lose themselves in the abundant natural beauty and wonder surrounding the local area.

Rates/packages: Private Dreamsea surfing and glamping packages range from $499 to $1560 per week. As Josh Vignona knows, each package includes daily surf and yoga lessons, meals and luxury tent lodging.

2. Surf Simply

Location: Nosara, Costa Rica

Surf Simply in Nosara - Josh Vignona

Nestled along the North end of Playa Guiones beach, Surf Simply in Nosara provides short-walk access to some of the best Pacific coast waves Costa Rica has to offer.

As Joshua Vignona knows, this streamlined 5-star Costa Rica surf camp delivers detailed surf coaching sessions that break down every aspect of surfing technique to really up your game. 

And Surf Simply guests receive much of their instruction within a state-of-the-art,, LEED-certified resort with comfy accommodations, a pool and hot tub, a shared living & dining area and more.

Rates/packages: Simply Surf all-inclusive packages are available for individuals, couples and groups and range anywhere from $6,500 to $77,064, depending on your needs. Each package includes full accommodations and three delicious meals a day.

3. Iguana Surf Camp

Location: Tamarindo Costa Rica

Josh Vignona Costa Rica Surf Camp

Want a surf experience everyone can enjoy? For the best family surf camp adventure in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and a truly inspired all-ages surf adventure, Josh Vignona recommends no camp more than Iguana Surf.

Headquartered in the spacious beachfront setting of the Iguana Surf Beach Hotel, Iguana Surf offers the best family surf camp packages in Costa Rica, customizable and complete with the one-on-one lessons your young surfers need to sharpen their shredding skills.

Iguana Surf provides friendly, focused surfing instruction as well as an array of amenities, including a variety of add-ons to amp up your next Costa Rica surfing vacation.

Rates/packages: Iguana Surf offers a full menu of the best family surf camp deals in Costa Rica. Package prices start at $269 and most include surf lessons, accommodations and video analysis.

4. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

Location: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp Josh Vignona

Positive vibes and amazing waves abound at the Tamarindo, Costa Rica surf camp Witch’s Rock, a fun, friendly destination to learn how to board, kick your feet up and access some of the most popular surf spots the country has to offer.

As Josh Vignona knows, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp offers surf programs for boarders of all skill levels, as well as a beachfront hotel and home base from which to eat, drink, surf and hang out with compadres all day long.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with the whole gang, Witch’s Rock offers one of the best surf camp experiences you’ll find anywhere in Costa Rica. This includes unlimited surfboard rentals and air-conditioned ocean-view accommodations within just steps of unbeatable wave-filled coastline.

Rates/packages: 7-night beginner packages at Witch’s Rock start at $1,183 and include lodging and daily surf lessons. Advanced surf programs begin at just $1301.

5. Peaks n Swells Surf Camp

Location: Puntarenas Province

Rounding out Joshua Vignona’s best surf camps in Costa Rica is Peaks n Swells, located near the southern point of Nicoya Peninsula near the village of Montezuma.

Guests of Peaks n Swells stay in comfortable beachfront villas near some of the most consistent surfing breakpoints on the globe. This provides access to exhilarating surf and high-performance surf lessons delivered in optimal break conditions.

Peaks n Swells also puts you near Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve, a sea turtle sanctuary and numerous snorkeling and boating opportunities, ensuring you get the complete Costa Rica surf camp experience.

Rates/packages: Peaks n Swells offers Custom, Classic and Surfer Girl packages between $2,850 and $3,150 per person. Each program includes lodging, lessons, meals and daily yoga sessions.

Happy Surfing! – Josh

Josh Vignona Costa Rica Sunset over water