The Terrifying Reason You Should Never Try to Hold in a Sneeze

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 5 min ago
<p>It’s not just the stuff of urban legend: Trying to suppress a sneeze by clamping your nose and closing your mouth can rupture the back of your throat, doctors say in the journal BMJ Case Reports.</p><p>A British man said he felt a “popping” sensation in his neck and had difficulty speaking after trying to hold in a sneeze. Doctors in Leicester discovered that the man had “spontaneous perforation of the pharynx” and air bubbles in his neck.</p><p>This type of injury is most commonly associated with trauma, vomiting, or severe coughing.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Employees Who Call Out on Fridays May Not Actually Be Sick</a></p><p>The man was admitted into the hospital and kept for seven days, where he was fed via tube and given intravenous antibiotics. Upon discharge, doctors advised him “not to block both nostrils when sneezing in the future.”</p><p>"Halting sneezing via blocking [the] nostrils and mouth is a dangerous maneuver, and should be avoided," <a href="" target="_blank">the authors of the case study wrote</a>. The doctors said that the action could lead to trapping air between lungs, perforating eardrums or even cause a rupture of a cerebral aneurysm.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">How to Prevent Getting Sick While Traveling Abroad</a></p><p>“When you sneeze, air comes out of you at about 150 miles per hour,” Dr. Anthony Aymat, director of ear, nose, and throat services at London’s University Hospital Lewisham, <a href="" target="_blank">told the Associated Press</a>. “If you retain all that pressure, it could do a lot of damage and you could end up like the Michelin Man with air trapped in your body.”</p><p>So this flu season, let your sneezes fly. Just remember to sneeze into your elbow, per the <a href="" target="_blank">Center for Disease Control etiquette</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airbus Might Have to Stop Producing the World's Largest Passenger Plane

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 20 min ago
<p>In 2005, Airbus made headlines when it introduced the A380.</p><p>At the time, the <a href="" target="_blank">double-decker aircraft</a> was heralded as a travel revolution. It was going to provide a new, luxurious experience for passengers — a quiet and smooth flight, akin to a cruise ship. But less than 10 years after the first <a href="" target="_blank">A380</a> was put into service, the project is in danger of being shut down.</p><p>Over the past 13 years, Airbus has only produced 222 of the <a href="" target="_blank">$400-million aircraft</a> — more than half of which have been delivered to Emirates.</p><p>The manufacturer was banking on another Emirates deal to materialize in November. However the airline instead chose to order 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.</p><p>In order to keep the airplane in production, Airbus said it needs to produce six A380s every year.</p><p>“If we can’t work out a deal with <a href="" target="_blank">Emirates</a> there is no choice but to shut down the program,” Jim Leahy, Airbus’s sale director, <a href="" target="_blank">said on Monday.</a></p><p>While passengers love the aircraft, airlines are more reserved. The plane’s biggest selling point (its size) could in fact be what kills the project. The A380 is expensive to operate and its sheer size limits the airports at which it can land. Because of this, airlines operate the A380 less frequently than its smaller counterparts and it typically only flies from hub airport to hub airport.</p><img alt="Side view of an A380 "src=""><p>Meanwhile, the aviation industry is moving towards <a href="" target="_blank">operating more frequent flights between smaller destination airports</a>. Airlines are increasingly looking towards longer and thinner aircraft — like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus’s A320neo — to operate these flights.</p><p>This past year has been a death knell for former legendary jumbo jets. Both <a href="" target="_blank">United</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Delta</a> retired their final Boeing 747 aircraft and <a href="" target="_blank">the manufacturer announced that it could shut down production</a>. When the 747 premiered in 1969, it garnered similar fanfare to the A380 and earned the nickname “Queen of the Skies” for its unrivaled size.</p>
Categories: Travel

Border Patrol Can Keep Your Devices If You Refuse to Reveal Your Password

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 33 min ago
<p>The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated its policy on searching electronic devices, allowing border patrol agents to detain devices of travelers who refuse to reveal their passwords.</p><p>The new policy directive states that “travelers are obligated to present electronic devices and the information contained therein in a condition that allows inspection of the device and its contents.”</p><p>Travelers who refuse to give their passwords may be denied access into the country and have their devices detained for up to a week. The agency will also be able to store data and password information — indefinitely, <a href="" target="_blank">according to some interpretations</a>.</p><p>In 2016, 19,051 international travelers had their phones searched by the CBP. That number was 30,200 in 2017. According to the CBP, these numbers are 0.005 and 0.007 percent (respectively) of the total number of international travelers the agency encounters.</p><p>Electronic device searches are used to find evidence in “combating terrorist activity, child pornography, violations of export controls, intellectual property rights violations, and visa fraud,” according to the agency.</p><p>“CBP is committed to preserving the civil rights and civil liberties of those we encounter, including the small number of travelers whose devices are searched, which is why the updated Directive includes provisions above and beyond prevailing constitutional and legal requirements,” John Wagner, the deputy executive assistant commissioner of the office of field operations, <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “CBP’s authority for the border search of electronic devices is and will continue to be exercised judiciously, responsibly, and consistent with the public trust.”</p><p>Travelers should be aware that while a CBP agent may confiscate a device, <a href="" target="_blank">an agent from the Transportation Security Administration may not</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Should You Buy That Cheap WOW Air Ticket?

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 50 min ago
<p>Perhaps as famous for their $99 (and occasionally $69) <a href="" target="_blank">flight sales</a> as they are for their vibrant purple livery, WOW Air is a budget airline based in Reykjavík, Iceland that offers cheap tickets for trips between North America and Europe.</p><p>But like a lot of ultra low-cost carriers (including both short-haul airlines like Spirit Airlines as well as long-haul carriers like Norwegian Air), WOW Air affords their outrageously inexpensive tickets by trading common amenities for greater savings.</p><p>For some travelers, however, the lack of a complimentary meal on a transatlantic flight comes as a serious shock. While you can certainly eat on a WOW Air flight, you'll have to pay for the luxury. Other details of a trip WOW Air passengers need to pay for? Seat selections, checked bags, and oversized carry-ons. </p><p>So is WOW Air really the deal it promises to be? For those who travel light, are flying solo, and never eat the inflight meal anyway, a WOW Air ticket is a serious bargain. But if you're used to (and use) those standard freebies, it may be worthwhile to splurge for a seat on a full-service carrier.</p><p>To give <em>Travel + Leisure </em>readers a complete — and honest — sense of what it's like to fly in those purple seats, we scoured the web for reviews from travelers who loved (and hated) their WOW experience. Be sure to ask yourself these key questions before booking a flight with WOW Air (or any scrupulous budget airline, for that matter). </p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Can You Pack Light?</h2><p>One of the deciding factors for travelers considering a WOW Air ticket should be whether or not they plan on flying with a small backpack, or if they require multiple suitcases for six weeks worth of clothing.</p><p>“Knowing that this was a no-frills carrier, we only packed our backpacks to fit as personal items and brought lots of snacks [so] we wouldn’t have to pay extra...” — <a href="" target="_blank">P. Dramer, <em>AirlineEquality</em></a></p><p>Because for travelers who plan on checking luggage, WOW Air's bag fees can quickly add up.</p><p>“Checked bags are expensive on WOW Air," explained <a href="" target="_blank">Patricia Magaña on <em>SmarterTravel</em></a>. "$48 when prepaid online, $67 at check-in, and double that for the second bag. A third bag costs $144 when prepaid online or $201 during check-in. Each bag may weigh as much as 44 pounds, and overage charges are $18 per kilo (2.2 pounds) per bag, up to 12 kilograms (26 pounds). Note that the checked bag fees are per flight segment, meaning you'll need to double the prices if your flight includes a single layover.” </p><h2>What Do You Look for in a Seat?</h2><p>If it's seatback entertainment, you may want to shop for flights with a different airline. </p><p>“Seats are bad," wrote <a href="" target="_blank">TripAdvisor user Maiken-m</a>. "No TV…Just don’t do it. There is nothing 'wow' about it.” </p><p>But otherwise, the airline's interiors received pretty rave reviews. </p><p>“WOW Air's fleet is much newer than many rival carriers," <a href="" target="_blank">Magaña said on <em>SmarterTravel</em></a>. "Superseding similar budget lines, seats are still spiffy clean and come equipped with a built-in device charger. [And] despite its value model, WOW Air doesn't skimp on seat width and pitch.” </p><p>On TripAdvisor, <a href="" target="_blank">Meg C agreed</a>. “If you have realistic expectations and plan accordingly, this is a great airline. We flew to Iceland for less than the cost of many [domestic] U.S. flights. Standard leg room was better than many airlines, and seats were comfortable for a six-hour [flight]. Just plan ahead and bring food, water, and entertainment with you.” </p><h2>Do You Want to Visit Iceland? </h2><p>“One of the best selling-points [of] the airline: all flights connect in Keflavík," <a href="" target="_blank">wrote travel blogger Becky</a>, of <em>The Girl and the Globe. </em></p><p>Regardless of where you're going, all international WOW Air flights have stopovers in <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. That means that even if the Land of Fire and Ice isn't your final destination, you can still check it out using <a href="" target="_blank">the airline's free stopover program</a>.</p><h2>Are You Traveling Alone? </h2><p>“Even though I confirmed our seats that morning for our flight, when we arrived at LAX, our seats were screwed up. We were no longer assigned to our seats and someone else had already checked into one of our seats. Unfortunately for us, the only two seats together were located at the back of the plane.” — <a href="" target="_blank">James Dozer, <em>Travel Codex</em></a></p><p>While Dozer's experience may have been due to a mix-up or computer glitch, travelers should still remember that seat assignments with WOW Air will cost you extra. But if you're traveling alone (and don't have particularly strong feelings about aisle or <a href="" target="_blank">window seats</a>) you can avoid the additional fee. </p>
Categories: Travel

This Is Where You Should Take Your Vacation in 2018, According to TripAdvisor

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 17:35
<p>If you’re searching for your next vacation in 2018, other travelers are happy to give you plenty of suggestions.</p><p>But if you want a truly spectacular destination to spend your hard-earned time off, there's one place in the U.S. that stands out from the rest this year, according to TripAdvisor. Based on traveler activity, as well as site searches and bookings, the top trending destination is Kapaa, <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>.</p><img alt="Wave breaking off the shore in Kappa, Hawaii "src=""><p>Kapaa, at the base of Nounou (the Sleeping Giant) Mountain on Kauai, Hawaii (<a href="" target="_blank">one of the World's Best islands</a>), is a beautiful and visitor-friendly spot with <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">great hotels</a>, shopping and restaurants — and of course <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">outdoor activities</a> for people looking for adventure.</p><p>For those who are looking for a good souvenir to take home, TripAdvisor suggests visiting the Kinipopo Shopping Village, which is full of great places to eat and small shops where you can find “Kauai Made” products made by local craftsmen using traditional materials. If you love to get out on the water, it's no surprise that Hawaii is a great place to do so: There are places for snorkeling, kayaking and water skiing, too.</p><img alt="Walking by seaside on coastal path in Kappa, Hawaii "src=""><p>Plus, Kapaa won’t break the bank for people who want a phenomenal vacation on a budget. The average annual Kapaa hotel price is about $251 per night.</p><p>Among the other places <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">TripAdvisor noted as great trending destinations</a> were Boulder, Colorado (<a href="" target="_blank">the happiest city in the U.S.</a>); Waco, Texas; Richmond, Virginia; and Bend, Oregon.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Philippines' Most Active Volcano Is Spewing Lava and Causing Thousands to Evacuate

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 17:28
<p>Fears of a volcanic eruption from the <a href="" target="_blank">Philippines</a>’ Mount Mayon have prompted tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.</p><p>More than 34,000 people have already fled villages surrounding the Philippines’ most active volcano, which sits in the Bicol Region of the country, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>.</p><p>The <a href=";view=article&amp;id=8347:mayon-volcano-bulletin-16-january-2018-800-am&amp;catid=70:latest-volcano-bulletin&amp;Itemid=500008" target="_blank">Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology</a> on Sunday raised the alert level for Mount Mayon to a level three, meaning the <a href="" target="_blank">volcano</a> has high levels of unrest and could fully erupt within days or weeks.</p><p>Mount Mayon has faced three steam explosions since Saturday, according to the Associated Press, with images showcasing the lava that has been seen spurting down its edges.</p><p>These explosions have already cause high amounts of ash to fall into the nearby villages, with officials warning residents and tourists to avoid anywhere in the danger zone that’s marked at about 3.7 to 4.3 miles around the volcano.</p><p>Renato Solidum, head of the <a href=";view=article&amp;id=8347:mayon-volcano-bulletin-16-january-2018-800-am&amp;catid=70:latest-volcano-bulletin&amp;Itemid=500008" target="_blank">Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology</a>, told the AP scientists are still unsure whether the current conditions will lead the institute to raise alerts to a level four to mark an imminent explosion, which could result in mandatory evacuations for those still in their homes.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>For this reason, officials are currently testing methods to make evacuation easier. These include creating temporary evacuation centers for the livestock of farmers in nearby villages, and creating temporary school sites.</p><p>Although Mount Mayon is a popular destination for climbers, the attraction can be dangerous, having erupted more than 50 times in the last 500 years, according to AP.</p>
Categories: Travel

Winter Storm Inga Could Bring Freezing Cold and Snow to Parts of Texas. Here’s What to Know

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:50
<p>Another snow storm, Winter Storm Inga, is making its way across parts of the U.S., bringing a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to areas already feeling the effects of <a href="" target="_blank">Winter Storm Hunter</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Winter Storm Grayson</a>.</p><p>Winter Storm Inga has brought a combination of snowy and icy conditions throughout several Southern States on Tuesday, carrying snow and temperatures the <a href="" target="_blank">National Weather Service</a> refers to as “well below normal” into Kentucky, Tennessee, northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and Texas.</p><p>The snow storm has already brought in up to 9 inches of storm in some parts of western Kentucky, and up to a half foot of snow in Arkansas, with snowy road conditions also reported in both Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">Weather Channel’s</a> latest forecast.</p><p>States like Texas, which have already been hit with up to three inches of snow in some parts, are facing slippery road conditions across Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, while icy conditions have also arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth.</p><p>The Texas winter storm is expected to continue bringing in mixtures of snow and freezing rain throughout Tuesday night, meaning traveling on bridges and overpasses more dangerous because of snow and ice buildups.</p><p>While road conditions have been icy Tuesday morning and afternoon and the Texas Department of Transportation is recommending that drivers use extra caution and slow down if they need to drive at all, both the Galveston Causeway and the Fred Hartman Bridge remain open for transportation needs.</p><p>Texas residents should prepare for near freezing temperatures anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees below what the mid-January average in the state, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">National Weather Service</a>. Those in Shreveport, Memphis, Nashville and parts of Georgia and Alabama will also want to be cautious of road conditions.</p><p>The storm has also caused school closures across a variety of states that include Texas and Louisiana.</p><p>Hundreds of flights out of airports in Texas have also been canceled or delayed due to Inga. <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Delta</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">United</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">JetBlue</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Spirit</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Frontier</a> are all providing travelers with the option to change their flights, free of charge, if affected by the current weather conditions. </p><p>Passengers traveling out of a Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, will want to be aware of potential flight delays that can arise due to snowy conditions and needing to deice planes, with travelers coming to or from states that include New York, Boston, Virginia, and New Jersey also qualifying for several of the flight waivers mentioned above. </p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The storm will continue through Tuesday evening, bringing snow into New York and Virgina that will continue into cities like Boston and Hartford on Wednesday.</p><p>Most of the snow is expected to stop by Wednesday night, though snow will continue throughout Wednesday night in northern Maine and North Carolina.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 30% on an All-inclusive Stay at Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Mexico's Riviera Maya

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:43
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Mexico: Get 30 percent off the <a href=";Chain=10237&amp;template=rMIASL&amp;shell=rMIASL&amp;start=availresults&amp;arrive=4/15/2018&amp;depart=4/18/2018&amp;adult=1&amp;child=0&amp;promo=TRAVEL" target="_blank">Iberostar Grand Paraiso</a>, an adults-only, all-inclusive hotel in the Riviera Maya with luxe amenities such as a personalized pillow menu, five restaurants, and a pool concierge.</p><p>The Winter Promotion includes:</p><p>*30 percent off an all-inclusive stay in a suite, which includes meals, beverages, and resort activities such as dance lessons and cooking classes</p><p>*A $600 resort credit</p><p>*A $150 room upgrade</p><p>*Two $50 spa credits valid towards treatments such as a couple’s massage, facial, or a chocolate scrub</p><p>*A $60 bottle credit (order a bottle of Moet or Veuve, for example)</p><p>*Unlimited golf</p><p>Original Price: From $5,743 (or $1,148 per night)</p><p><strong>T + L Price:</strong> $4,020 (or $804 per night); book by April 1 for travel through December 1, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: Guests must call the Iberostar Grand Paraiso directly to book 1-888-923-2722. Use booking code TL2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airbnb Will Now Let You Book With Just a Deposit

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:31
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Airbnb</a> users no longer have to pay for their entire stay up front.</p><p>The home-sharing service announced Tuesday that it will allow users to pay only a deposit at time of booking and complete the full payment closer to the stay. The “Pay Less Up Front” option is available on stays that cost at least $250.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How One Man Made $15 Million As an Airbnb Host Last Year</a></p><p>A typical deposit will be about 50% of the entire cost of the stay. The second payment will be due about three days before the stay. Guests must make their booking at least 14 days in advance and if they fail to make their second payment, the reservation will be automatically cancelled.</p><p>Other cancellations depend on <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">the type of policy that the Airbnb host</a> has chosen.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Airbnb</a>, the service is useful not only for guests, but for hosts. When travelers are given the ability to spread out payments, they often end up opting for a more expensive option than what they were previously considering. Guests also booked sooner when they could split payments, giving hosts more time to plan for arrivals and departures.</p><p>The split-payment on a homeshare is not exactly a novel innovation. Both HomeAway and VRBO currently offer users the ability to pay first with a deposit.</p><p>And the payment-split feature could be very useful for guests who want to spring for a memorable vacation. Last year, <a href="" target="_blank">Airbnb acquired about 4,000 new “luxury retreats,”</a> including Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean and Francis Ford Coppola’s Italian villa.</p><p>Airbnb’s development is a continuation of their mission to compete with hotels. In November, Airbnb introduced a feature that allows guests to split payments with friends and family when booking a group trip.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 30% on Stays at the Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa in Madeira

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:49
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Madeira Island: Get 30 percent off stays at the <a href="" target="_blank">Savoy Saccharum Resort &amp; Spa</a>. It has 243 ocean- and mountain-facing rooms on the former site of a sugar cane mill. Don’t miss a day at the sleek spa (there’s a halotherapy room and an ice fountain) and a meal a the refined Alambique restaurant.</p><p>Escape in Calheta includes:</p><p>*A minimum of four nights in a Double Sea View room</p><p>*Daily breakfast</p><p>Original Price: From $223 (or 185 euro per night)</p><p><strong>T + L Price:</strong> From $156 (or 130 euro per night); book by March 31 for travel through April 30.</p><p>Booking details: Use booking code Exclusivedeals when <a href="" target="_blank">booking online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

WOW Air Has $69 Flights to Iceland, $89 Flights to Europe

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:02
<p>Need a last-minute jaunt to Europe?</p><p>WOWAir has brought back its super cheap flights to Europe, offering <a href="" target="_blank">one-way $69 flights</a> from six U.S. airports to Iceland, and <a href="" target="_blank">$89 flights</a> to more destinations in Europe.</p><p>The discounted flights are available Newark International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport.</p><p>The destinations include Reykjavík, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Brussels, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Frankfurt.</p><p>“We want to start the year by giving our customers some of the lowest prices available,” WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen, said in a statement. “We saw great success and growth over the last year and I am confident it will continue into 2018 by offering great deals on transatlantic flights.”</p><p>Iceland-based WOW Air has been leading the way on super cheap flights to Europe <a href="" target="_blank">for the past year</a>. Fares go on sale Tuesday, for travel between January 17, 2018 and April 24, 2018.</p><p>If those destinations or dates don't fit your needs, WOW Air isn't the only airline with ultra-cheap flights to Europe this year. A brand new airline, Primera Air, which will launch officially in late spring, <a href="" target="_blank">is offering $99 flights to Europe in the summer</a>.</p><p>Sale prices include New York to Birmingham for $119, New York to Paris or London for $159, Boston to Birmingham for $119, Boston to London for $139, and Boston to Paris for $149. Currently, Primera Air only operates out of these two U.S. cities.</p><p>Both airlines are budget carriers, meaning you should check all the fine print about extra fees before booking. Things like checked baggage, and in-flight food or other services, cost extra. But if you're willing to plan around the limitations, this is your chance to visit Europe in 2018 on a very tight budget.</p>
Categories: Travel

Away Just Launched Two-tone Suitcases — But Only for a Limited Run

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:01
<p>The start of a new year is the perfect time to resolve to travel more. Maybe we're biased, but what better way to kick off 2018 than to begin planning your adventures for the year ahead? With that idea in mind, cult luggage brand <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Away</a> just launched its first limited collection of the year, and each suitcase style is inspired by our favorite travel destinations.</p><p>The Coordinate Collection, which launches today, includes three new dual-tone suitcases in colors that will make you dream of all the geographical landscapes on your list. The three colorways are Cove, in a deep blue and velvety green; Canyon, in a muted pink and sunset red; and Savanna, in a golden yellow and elephant gray.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Best Sleep Masks for Traveling </a></p><p>”The [new] collection represents the vivid tones of vastly inspiring territories: the tidal blue and forest greens of coves in the Pacific Northwest, the shades of red in Moab and Sedona, and the birch yellows and desert grays of the <a href="" target="_blank">Serengeti</a>,” says Away co-founder <a href="" target="_blank">Jen Rubio</a> of the limited collection.</p><p>Her travel plans for the new year? “In between my almost monthly trips to Vancouver and Tofino, I’d love to finally make it to Namibia and Sri Lanka. Both have been on my list for too long.”</p><p>The collection is debuting for a limited run in all of Away’s core sizes — Large, $295; Medium, $275; The Bigger Carry-On, $245; The Carry-On, $225; and The Kids’ Carry-On, $195 — and come with all the bells and whistles that make the brand's luggage so covetable: unbreakable shells, smart inner compartments, and removable batteries in the carry-on sizes.</p><h2>Away Canyon Suitcase</h2><img alt="Red and pink suitcase from Away "src=""><h2>Away Savanna Suitcase</h2><img alt="Yellow and gray suitcase from Away "src=""><h2>Away Cove Suitcase</h2><img alt="Green and blue suitcase from Away "src=""><p>The Coordinate Collection styles are available at Away retail stores and online at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here's How Much Money the Royal Wedding Will Bring to the U.K.

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:12
<p>Usually when someone plans a wedding, the big question on everyone’s mind is how much the wedding is going to cost.</p><p>However, when a member of the British royal family gets married, they aren't the only ones who benefit.</p><p>According to an estimate by Britain's Office of National Statistics, as reported by <a href="" target="_blank"><em>People</em></a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle</a> could generate a substantial boost to Britain’s economy by about £500 million — or $680 million in U.S. dollars.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Meghan Markle Just Crowned the New It-bag, and You Can Get One for $300</a></p><p>The couple’s wedding may cause an influx of thousands of tourists and visitors for the event on May 19, which would spur much more spending in the country, as it did with the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.</p><p>Back in 2011, Prince William and Middleton’s wedding attracted about 350,000 visitors to the U.K., according to <a href="" target="_blank">Reuters</a>. In addition, the royal couple are expecting their <a href="" target="_blank">third child in April</a>.</p><p>According to <em>People</em>, hotel rooms in Windsor are already selling out for the weekend of May 19. (If you haven't booked a trip and want to go, <a href="" target="_blank">there are still tours available</a>.) Prince Harry’s and Markle’s wedding will be celebrated at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why Meghan Markle, Like Kate Middleton, Will Never Actually Be a Princess</a></p><p>Beyond booking hotel rooms and spending money on travel, restaurants and general tourist attractions, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has also spurred the manufacturing of wedding souvenirs and keepsakes. According to the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Telegraph</em></a>, an estimated £222 million — about $303 million — was spent on memorabilia leading up to Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s wedding.</p><p>It’s clear that the happy day won’t just be celebrated by the royal family and loyal British subjects, but also by hospitality workers and shopkeepers alike.</p>
Categories: Travel

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Had the Most Relatable Family Vacation

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:45
<p>When you think of most celebrity vacations, you likely conjure up images of lavish island getaways filled with champagne, the finest foods, and first-class accommodations.</p><p>But not for Kristen Bell and her husband Dax Shepard. No, their vacations are way, way more relatable and down to earth than that.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Inside the Tulum Hotel Where Cara Delevingne Took All Her Model Friends</a></p><p>On Monday, "The Good Place" actress shared a little behind the scenes snap of her quiet weekend getaway with her husband and a few loved ones as they bonded over a board game in what appeared to be a rather ordinary mountainside cabin.</p><p>“Finishing this perfect family vaca with a good ole fashioned game of super competitive Catan guaranteeing one or more of us will be in tears by the end of the night,” the actress wrote in the caption of her image.</p><p>Of course, Shepard and Bell are both avid board game fanatics and are even auctioning off a night of revelry over a few games with the charitable auction site <a href="" target="_blank">Omaze</a>. If you enter and win, you’ll be whisked away to Los Angeles to take part in a couple’s game night with the pair all in the name of charity.</p><p>The auction, according to Omaze, will benefit Opening Act, a charity in New York City that serves public high schools by offering students opportunities to develop leadership, community, and commitment through its innovative, high quality, free theater programming.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Reese Witherspoon’s Adorable Family Getaway Will Inspire You to Take a Snowy Vacation</a></p><p>And if this photo proves anything, it’s that these two take game night seriously.</p><p>According to a few commenters on Bell’s Instagram photo, the couple and their friends were believed to be spending the long weekend at Mammoth Mountain in California, but this hasn’t been confirmed. It could make sense, however, since the couple does love a good local adventure.</p><p>As Bell explained to <a href="" target="_blank">Airbnbmag</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">best trip she ever took alongside her husband</a> was actually a short flight to Michigan, her home state.</p><p>"My husband and I really wanted our kids to experience some time on a Michigan lake like we did growing up,” she explained. So instead of going to some far-flung destination, they simply rented a house and passed the time along the Michigan shoreline.</p><p>Sounds like the perfect, cozy, quick weekend getaway to us. Now, if only we could score an invite to game night…</p>
Categories: Travel

A Passenger Was Banned From Two Flights for Wearing Too Many Pairs of Pants

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:29
<p>A <a href="" target="_blank">British Airways</a> passenger was denied boarding last week for wearing too much clothing.</p><p>Ryan Carney Williams — who goes by the name Ryan Hawaii — was attempting to pull a trick commonly used by budget travelers to avoid paying excess baggage charges at <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why You Should Expect More Baggage Fees in 2018</a></p><p>When Hawaii showed up to the airport for a flight home to London, his carry-on bag was overstuffed. He said he asked if he would be allowed to board if he took the clothes from his bag and wore multiple outfits to avoid paying a $124 (£90) fee, which he said he could not afford.</p><p>According to Hawaii, the British Airways gate agent agreed and Hawaii left to put on his clothing, including <a href="" target="_blank">eight pairs of pants and 10 shirts</a>. When he came back to the desk, he “was still refused [his] boarding pass,” Hawaii wrote in a tweet.</p><p>Airline employees called security to remove Hawaii from the desk when he refused to leave. <a href="" target="_blank">According to local reports</a>, he was barred entry for “rowdiness” and held to the ground by police. Hawaii claimed that he was treated unfairly because of racial profiling.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Every Airline's Baggage Fees</a></p><p>In a statement to <i>The Telegraph</i>, <a href="" target="_blank">British Airways responded</a>: “The decision to deny boarding was absolutely not based on race. We do not tolerate threatening or abusive behaviour from any customer, and will always take the appropriate action.”</p><p>The airline said they explained “policy to our customer, and arranged an alternative flight to London.”​</p><p>However when Hawaii showed up for his “alternative flight” onboard easyJet the following day, he was turned away. That airline said in a statement that “the captain and the ground crew were concerned about reports from the previous day so we provided a refund and he travelled with another airline.”​</p><p>Hawaii was refunded by both British Airways and easyJet and was able to fly to England on a Norwegian Air flight the following day.</p>
Categories: Travel

People From This State Leave the Saltiest Hotel Reviews

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:05
<p>Traveling should be a happy, rewarding, and thrilling experience. But for a select few, the process of boarding a plane, taking a train, or driving to a brand new destination can be downright miserable.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">RewardExpert</a>, a free service that helps people maximize their credit card points and travel rewards, those grumpy travelers are pretty easy to identify, because they all come from certain U.S. states.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Here Are the Most and Least Fun States in the U.S.</a></p><p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">new analysis</a>, RewardExpert looked at a data set of 878,561 user reviews from 4,333 hotels that include both the reviewer’s location and a numerical rating. From there, they identified people from the states that left the grumpiest, saltiest reviews. The grumpiest location, according to the company’s findings, was Washington, D.C.</p><p>“To determine our list, we ranked states by three key metrics: the number of one- and two-star reviews proportional to population; the number of one- and two-star reviews as a proportion of all reviews from that state in our data set; and the overall average rating for all reviews by users from that state,” RewardExpert CEO and co-founder Roman Shteyn said in a statement. “We then combined these three into composite scores for grumpiness. This allowed us to account for each state’s population share and to adjust the available data to make it more representative of the country’s population distribution.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">These Are the Best and Worst States to Be Single in the U.S.</a></p><p>According to the findings, our nation's capital is home to the grumpiest tourists nationwide. In fact, it was home to the most over-represented group in the company’s set of negative hotel reviews, with 882 more than RewardExpert estimated based on the district’s 0.2% share of the U.S. population.</p><p>The second grumpiest state was Colorado, according to the analysis. Coloradans left the lowest average hotel rating in the country (3.82 on a five-point scale out of 4696 reviews). Oregon rounded out the top three grumpiest states, with 14.98% of Oregonians leaving negative reviews, 33% more negative reviews than expected, and an average rating of 3.88.</p><p>On the flip side, people hailing from Louisiana are the happiest and most satisfied tourists and left the highest national average hotel rating of 4.18. Mississippians and New Hampshirites rounded out the top three states with the happiest tourists.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Top 15 Cities in the United States</a></p><p>“We can’t help but make judgements about people based on where they are from,” Shteyn added. “It is common belief that Southerners are known for their kindness and hospitality, whereas New Yorkers are perceived as rude and loudmouthed. Yet do any of these conceptions hold true in practice? By analyzing user review data, we set out to achieve an objective assessment of which states are most and least good natured.”</p><p>While the findings are interesting they should be taken with a big grain of salt. People from Washington D.C. could, after all, just all coincidentally stayed at bad hotels, or all experienced a collective weather event that set their vacations back.</p><p>But, if you’re from D.C., or somehow just experiencing a bad vacation, there are ways to fix it so you can at least maximize the time you have left. The key to enjoying your trip, according to Utrip CEO, Gilad Berenstein, is to take full advantage of the experience and find the most authentic experiences possible in any destination.</p><p>“I was doing that same top 10 cookie cutter thing that everyone who has been to Europe has done,” he told <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Travel + Leisure</i></a>. “People talked about the <a href="" target="_blank">hidden restaurants</a>. They talked about that random concert they went to. The picnic they had. The person they met who took them somewhere,” he added. “It’s not necessarily unplanned ... but it was really unique and special to that destination.”</p><p>So next time your vacation goes sour try to regroup, find a local, and try to get off the beaten path to fully immerse yourself in your destination.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Is Suing a Deal Website That Offered Fare Alerts

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:54
<p>A website dedicated to finding the cheapest airfare on Southwest is now facing off with the airline in court.</p><p>Pavel Yurevich, who used Southwest frequently as a traveler, created the website <a href=""></a> with his business partner, Chase Roberts, in order to help fliers find the best fares from the airline, <a href=""><em>The Dallas Morning News</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The website used data from the Southwest website in order to allow users to sign up for alerts of price drops on a flight they’ve already booked. The customer was charged $3 if rebooking with the site's recommendations saved them at least $10. (Southwest does not charge a fee for flight changes.)</p><p>As deal seekers may already know, Southwest is <a href="" target="_blank">protective of its fare data</a>: The airline does not list its prices with search engines like <a href="" target="_blank">Google Flights</a>, so travelers must typically check <a href="" target="_blank"></a> to see prices and book.</p><p> was up for less than two weeks in November before it got its first <a href="" target="_blank">cease and desist letter from Southwest</a>. Now, the airline has filed a lawsuit against the two founders and their company, claiming violation of its trademarks, computer fraud, and violating the terms and conditions of its website.</p><p>“It’s really kind of unfortunate that this is happening. We’re not a threat to their business in any way,” Yurevich told <em>The Dallas Morning News</em>.</p><p>“After repeated attempts to resolve issues with the Southwest Monkey website, Southwest is now pursuing claims associated with violations of our website terms and the unauthorized use of our trademarks,” a Southwest representative said in a statement. The airline claims this data scraping method creates “substantial” traffic to its website with no intention of booking tickets, according to <em>The Dallas Morning News</em>.</p><p>The website is still live — however it does not offer any services at this time. A note to visitors to the site reads:</p><p>“In the couple weeks that we were on-line, we were able to save customers more than 43,000 points and $550 dollars, and have made $45. Southwest Airlines has sent us a number of cease and desist letters demanding that we shut down our website ‘immediately.’ Because our $45 will not go very far in fighting litigation in federal court in Dallas, we have decided to save ourselves the headache and have shut down the service.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Visiting Britain’s Weirdest Castle

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:46
<p>What’s it like to live in a city with a 2,000-year-old fairy-tale <a href="" target="_blank">castle</a> at its center? Meghan Markle will find out this Thursday when she visits Cardiff Castle in the capital of Wales with fiancé Prince Harry.</p><p>In one of the couples’ first public duties, the actress and fifth (and <a href="" target="_blank">soon to be sixth</a>) in line to the British throne will spend Thursday looking around a medieval castle that became a bizarre Victorian Gothic revival mansion. Meghan might feel like she's back on a film set — and she will be; the BBC have filmed both “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” here.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announced Their Wedding Date, but There’s Just One Problem</a></p><img alt="Exterior of Cardiff Castle "src=""><p>Cardiff Castle was originally a Roman Fort, though the oldest part is now an 11th century Norman castle as well preserved as any in Britain. However, the real attraction is the bizarre Gothic transformation of a 15th-century mansion, which took place here during the 19th century when the castle was owned by John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. He was then one of the richest men in the world. His family made Cardiff the world's biggest coal port, and the Marquess gave architect William Burges whatever funds he needed to create one of the most lavish interiors in Britain.</p><p>Stuffed with intricate wood carvings depicting everything from Greek and Roman mythology to Aesop's Fables and the Zodiac, Cardiff Castle is now packed with Victorian Gothic strangeness.</p><img alt="Interior of Cardiff Castle "src=""><p>Meghan and Harry will definitely grace Cardiff Castle's banqueting hall and library, two of the grandest rooms. They will be just the latest A-listers to grace the long table in the banqueting hall: Previous visitors include the Queen, who held a dinner here for a NATO meeting in 2014, attended by President Obama.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why Meghan Markle, Like Kate Middleton, Will Never Actually Be a Princess</a></p><p>Other visitors include Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and golfer Tiger Woods (the Ryder Cup dinner was held here in 2010). Its fireplace doubles as a model of a medieval castle. Reached via the great Octagon staircase, whose baluster is topped by a gilded alligator chasing a cherub, this site of an old medieval hall feels almost church-like.</p><img alt="Interior staircase at Cardiff Castle "src=""><p>Down the staircase — via a statue of a lion in full armour with a dragon on its head, and a carved monkey stealing an apple from the Tree of Knowledge — is the warmer, wood-paneled Library.</p><p>The Royal couple will surely also visit the Arab Room, a Moorish fantasy room who impossibly intricate ceiling is decorated with around $11 million of gold-leaf. Here in the main 15th century part of the castle, the room is supposed to resemble where an Arab ruler's harem would live.</p><p>Perhaps the weirdest section of Cardiff Castle is the Clock Tower. It dominates the castle, and Cardiff itself. Inside is an eccentric suite of rooms designed to be a bachelor pad for the young Marquess. On the lower level is the extravagant Winter Smoking Room, its theme being “time” — the walls and ceiling contain images of constellations, the zodiac, cardinal points, and carved sunrises and sunsets. There are also cigar drawers and a drinks cabinet.</p><img alt="Detail of exterior and statue at Cardiff Castle "src=""><p>However, the highlight is at the top of the tower, where the two-level Summer Smoking Room gives views across the city in all directions. Fittingly, it's all about the cosmos, with a grand tiled floor depicting the geocentric model, and walls containing figures of astronomers and Greek gods. The Marquess never did hold his bachelor party in such opulent surroundings, as intended — he got married just before the castle was finished.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Official Engagement Photos Are Absolutely Stunning</a></p><p>Below the tower is the busy center of Cardiff, a bustling city whose exquisite Victorian and Edwardian a shopping arcades contain tea houses, interior stylists, vintage tailors and boutique food shops (and “The New York Deli,” in case Meghan needs a hoagie, bagel or a hot dog). Also below is the castle’s defensive Animal Wall hosting a stunning line-up of 15 carved stone statues including lions, bear, hyena, leopard, anteater, and raccoon.</p><p>What will Meghan think of one of Britain’s grandest and oddest buildings? There may be little that’s either Royal or Welsh about Wales’ most captivating castle, but Megan and Harry are in for a grand day out.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Winter Is the Perfect Time to Visit Bavaria

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:20
<p>On Zugspitze, Germany's tallest mountain, there is surprisingly decent schnitzel. There are also life-altering views. As I stood atop a glacier, the ski town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen nearly 9,000 feet below me, I looked down at what resembled an Alpine lake but was in fact the top of a cloud. Tethered to my wrist was a toboggan, the instrument of my shame — and eventual revelation.</p><p>The main reason for my trip to this part of Bavaria, the large state that occupies Germany's southeastern corner, was to indulge a curiosity about tobogganing. For years, I'd been eager to recapture the rush I'd experienced as a child, in Moscow, sledding down the man-made crevasse in front of our Cuban Missile Crisis–era tenement. And while most Americans regard sledding as a children's pastime — as quaint as snow angels and hot cocoa — I'd read that in Germany it was a legitimate adult winter sport. According to the German Bob &amp; Sled Federation, the country is home to about a hundred competitive clubs with 6,500 members.</p><p>I'd brought along my friend Paul Boyer as insurance against wimping out. A veteran of New York's wine industry, he made for an agreeable travel companion by possessing several crucial qualities I lacked: physical courage, an easy sociability, and a love of driving at unsafe speeds. When I confided to Paul that I was having second thoughts about ascending the Alps to sit astride a wooden rocket and plummet into an icy abyss, he laughed and said it sounded "totally rad."</p><p>We'd arrived in <a href="" target="_blank">Munich</a>, Bavaria's largest city, a week earlier. After emerging from a U-Bahn station, we found ourselves near the iconic domed towers of the Frauenkirche, a 15th-century Gothic cathedral. We were in the midst of a downpour, and three women in yellow rain ponchos were singing on a makeshift stage for an audience of no one. It took me a moment to recognize the words to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." We hustled past this odd entertainment to the Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom, a traditional, wood-paneled tavern, to dry out by the hearth and sample one of the glories of Bavarian culture. The Nürnberger bratwurst is a pork sausage about the size of an American breakfast link that's grilled over a raging beechwood fire. According to some Mitteleuropean sausage mavens, the Glöckl serves the Platonic ideal of the Nürnberger — what Fauchon on Paris's Place de la Madeleine is to the macaron and Yonah Schimmel on New York's East Houston Street is to the potato-and-mushroom knish.</p><p>In the first-floor dining room, we sat next to men in lederhosen, knee socks, loden jackets, and felt hats decorated with feathers and pewter pins — a demographic we would encounter at every drinking establishment we visited in Bavaria. "Welcome to our strange land," whispered Willibald Bauer, a friend who hails from Munich and manufactures some of the world's finest record players several neighborhoods away. We were making short work of our glasses of Helles — the light, crisp lager native to Munich — when I asked Bauer, the product of an old local family, what made Bavarians distinct from other Germans. "A distrust of anyone except our neighbors," he answered brightly. "Also, Bavarians drink a lot of beer, and beer makes you sentimental." Just then the group in the lederhosen linked arms and began crooning a ribald folk ballad with a broad, boozy vibrato.</p><p>After lunch we headed to the Tegernsee, a lake encircled by snow-rimmed Alps that's a popular getaway for Munich residents. The hour-long southbound drive snaked along mowed fields lined with Lilliputian sheds and distant foothills. The country's longest natural toboggan course winds high above the Tegernsee, on the slopes of a 5,650-foot-tall mountain called the Wallberg. On the autobahn, a minivan carrying a family of six whipped past us so fast that it felt like we were puttering along on a hay baler by comparison.</p><img alt="Gondola and sledders in Bavaria, Germany. "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Bachmair Weissach</a>, a contemporary hotel decorated with the mahogany and deer skulls of a traditional hunting lodge, awaited us on the lake's southern shore. One of the restaurants inside specialized in fondue; stripped of the kitschy 1970s connotation it has in America, fondue made a lot of sense. We spent our first dinner in Germany dipping forkfuls of bread, speck, and sliced figs into a pot of tangy Bergkäse — mountain cheese — and washing it down with glasses of cold Sylvaner.</p><p>The following morning we made a trip around the Tegernsee through villages of low houses with flower-garlanded balconies. In the town of Bad Wiessee, we stopped for lunch at Fischerei Bistro, a wooden structure flanked by two bathtubs used for chilling champagne. Christoph von Preysing, the handsome thirtysomething proprietor, pointed to a fishery he operated across the lake. It was the origin of the seriously delicious char he served three ways — in a salad, as roe, and as a whole, delicately smoked fillet. Later, in a village also called Tegernsee, on the opposite shore, we applied ourselves to a softball-size, butter-hued bread dumpling in mushroom gravy and local pilsner at the Herzogliches Bräustüberl Tegernsee, a cavernous beer hall inside a former Benedictine monastery. Hundreds of locals, day-trippers from Munich, and tourists from much farther away ate and drank to the sounds of a live brass band while waitresses laden with plates of wurst and baskets of Laugenbrezeln, traditional pretzels made with lye and salt, shimmied between the tables.</p><p>That afternoon, we discovered that we would have to put our tobogganing on hold — because of unexpected warm weather, much of the snow had melted and the toboggan runs were closed. We rode the gondola to the top of the Wallberg anyway. Below us, the lake and the surrounding villages looked like a model-railroad landscape; the storybook peaks behind us receded into Austria.</p><p>According to the sweltering five-day forecast, the only place in Germany where we were certain to find tobogganing was atop Zugspitze, where the runs are open year-round. The drive there took us along the Isar River, which glowed such a luminous shade of aquamarine that we wondered whether it was rigged with underwater lights, and past Karwendel, a nature preserve roughly the size of Chicago. The landscape of jagged rock walls streaked with rugged pines and snow brought to mind the mythological operas of Richard Wagner, who spent his happiest years in Bavaria.</p><p>With history on our minds and the overture from Das Rheingold blaring in our rented BMW, Paul and I decided to make an unexpected detour to Linderhof Palace, the favorite home of Wagner's patron, King Ludwig II. Handsome and tall, the Swan King, as he was known, enjoyed making unannounced trips to the countryside and presenting the farmers he met with lavish gifts. Some locals still refer to him in the Bavarian dialect as <em>Unser Kini</em> — Our King. As European monarchs go, Ludwig was about as fun as they get.</p><img alt="Bavarian man and Zugspitze peak, in Germany "src=""><p>Linderhof looks like a shrunk-down Versailles transplanted to a remote mountain valley. The unexpectedly dainty palace is filled to the rafters with several types of marble, Meissen china, elephant-tusk ivory, and enough gold leaf to gild a regional airport. Its most remarkable feature is a dining table that was set with food and wine in a subterranean kitchen and raised by a winch to the room above, where Ludwig preferred to eat alone. Afterward, he sometimes adjourned to the Venus Grotto, a man-made stalactite cave with an underground lake, painted to look like a scene from Wagner's Tannhäuser. There, the Bavarian king was rowed about in a gilt seashell boat while one of the first electrical generators in Europe lit the walls in otherworldly colors.</p><p>Schloss Elmau, our hotel and home base near the Zugspitze for the next four days, proved equally remarkable. It stands in a mountain valley where Ludwig's horses stopped for water on the way to his hunting lodge on one of the nearby peaks. It is a vast, rambling structure anchored by a Romanesque tower, but our rooms were located in a newer, posher building called the Retreat. As we pulled up, a young woman in a dark suit approached our car and, in an aristocratic London accent, said, "Welcome, Mr. Halberstadt." She led us inside a spacious common area trimmed in dark wood and filled with Chinese tapestries, shelves of hardcover books, and precisely trained spotlights, then onto a deck with a view of a mountain that jutted up into the clouds. When I inquired about checking in, our guide informed me that nothing as mundane as check-in existed at the Schloss Elmau, and that we were welcome to go up to our rooms at any time.</p><img alt="Sledding in Bavaria and a room at the Schloss Elmau hotel "src=""><p>Mine turned out to be a rambling suite with Balinese and Indian accents, discreet motion-sensor lights, and a 270-degree vista of the valley. (Later, I discovered that when the Schloss hosted the G7 summit in 2015, my suite was occupied by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan.) Despite the sumptuous rooms and numerous restaurants, saunas, and heated pools, the Schloss manages the trick of appearing neither forbidding nor gaudy. Studied yet casual touches — a shelf of board games, piles of art books with worn spines — defuse one's awareness of the impeccable, laborious service happening just out of sight.</p><p>As it turned out, the books I saw everywhere were more than an affectation. The Schloss contains three private libraries and a large bookstore. The latter is staffed by Ingeborg Prager, a tiny septuagenarian fond of red wine and cigarettes, whose main function at the Schloss Elmau, as far as I could tell, was to engage guests in conversations about books. Elsewhere, several halls host more than 220 performances a year by classical and jazz musicians, some world-renowned. The cultural program also includes intellectual symposia, readings, and mystifying events like Bill Murray reciting the poems of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman while accompanied by a string trio.</p><p>I learned about the unlikely history of the place from its owner, Dietmar Müller-Elmau. The Schloss was a lark of his grandfather, Johannes Müller, a Protestant theologian and best-selling author of philosophical and spiritual treatises. Financed in 1914 by a countess who admired Müller's teachings, it was intended as a retreat for visitors to transcend their egos by walking in nature and dancing vigorously to classical music. Eventually, Müller's philosophical legacy was muddied by his vocal admiration for Hitler, and after the war the Schloss became an American military hospital and later a sanatorium for the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. When Müller-Elmau took over the property, which was being run by his family as a barely profitable hotel, he saw it as an albatross. "But eventually I became interested in hotels," he told me. Today, the Schloss is a reflection of his many odd and exacting thoughts about hospitality, décor, and culture.</p><img alt="Lamb at Mizu restaurant, and a view of Tegernsee Lake and Rottach-Egern "src=""><p>Other sights awaited us. Located a 20-minute drive away, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a quaint town best known for hosting the 1936 Winter Olympics. It is dominated by a sinister-looking stadium surrounded by monumental sculptures of athletes. Luckily, not all of it is grim. One night, we headed there for dinner at Husar, where Paul and I made short work of the impossibly light veal schnitzel and confit of quail with beet carpaccio prepared by chef  Verena Merget. Her husband, Christian, uncorked a single-vineyard dry Riesling from Schlossgut Diel in Nahe that tasted like a cocktail of limes and quartz dust. Then he opened another.</p><p>The morning we went to Zugspitze, we found our car waiting for us outside the Retreat. In Garmisch, we parked by the unnervingly fast gondola, which shot us to the top of Zugspitze at an almost vertical incline; a smaller lift brought us to the glacier. A surly man at the equipment-rental counter shot me a funny look when I asked for a wooden sled. "Only pregnant mothers rent those," he grumbled in accented English, then snickered when I asked for a helmet. Paul and I walked into the thin air dragging small plastic toboggans. A diagram on the wall had explained that you steered them by leaning back and lowering a foot into the snow. This looked dangerously unscientific.</p><p>I made the first run haltingly down a gentle slope, lurching from side to side and finally coming to an ungraceful stop at the bottom. I wiped the snow from my face and trudged back up. After several descents I began to get the hang of steering around corners and felt the joyous tingling in the solar plexus I'd recalled from my childhood.</p><p>"You know this is the kiddie slope, right?" Paul said. He was waiting for me at the top, grinning evilly. A sign beside him contained a line drawing of a woman and a small child on a sled.</p><p>A short walk away, the grown-up slope plunged nearly straight down and then twisted out of sight. While I squinted at it apprehensively, a man in glasses and a green parka hopped on a toboggan and sped away. At the bottom of the first descent, the toboggan went out from under him and skittered onto the adjacent slope, nearly taking out a group of skiers. The man came to a halt on his back with his limbs splayed, looking like a beached starfish. I looked at Paul.</p><p>"Come on," he said, "this will be awesome!" I searched inside myself but received only a mournful, definitive no. "Your loss, dude," Paul said, and shot down the slope. I watched his jacket grow smaller as he whizzed out of sight. Just then I regretted inviting him. I bit my lip and trudged away shamefully. A short while later I saw Paul walking toward me, his arms raised in triumph. "I scored weed on the ski lift," he shouted.</p><p>We agreed to meet later and I meandered back to the kiddie slope, pulling the toboggan behind me. The sun warmed my face and ahead of me the snow seemed to merge with the sky, making it look like I was walking on the roof of the world. Soon my mood lifted, too. I realized that I wanted sledding to remain in childhood, where it could keep singing its nostalgic song. Like hot cocoa and tonsillitis, it was something better left in the past. At the top of the kiddie slope I sat on the toboggan and pushed myself down the hill. By the time I got to the bottom, my face plastered with snow, I'd found what I'd come looking for.</p><p><img src="" /></p><h2>How to Explore Bavaria</h2><h3>Getting There</h3><p>This corner of Germany is renowned for its medieval villages, fairy-tale castles, hearty food, and outdoor pursuits — especially tobogganing in the winter. To get there, fly to Munich, the state capital, where you can rent a car and explore the region's scenic rural roads at your own pace.</p><h3>Hotels</h3><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Bachmair Weissach</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Located an hour south of Munich, this rambling, comfortable resort has a Zen-meets-hunting-lodge vibe, several good restaurants, and stunning mountain views. The property provides easy access to skiing and tobogganing on the Wallberg. <em>Doubles from $302.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Schloss Elmau</a>: </strong>This grand hotel, hidden in an Alpine mountain valley about an hour west of Bachmair Weissach, is an utterly singular Bavarian experience. Daily concerts, numerous spas, nine restaurants, and a bookstore on the premises are just part of the story. <em>Doubles from $522.</em></p><h3>Restaurants</h3><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Fischerei Bistro</a>: </strong>Impeccable local seafood served on the shores of the Tegernsee.<em> Entrées $11–$39.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Herzogliches Bräustüberl Tegernsee</a>: </strong>A rollicking beer hall in a former monastery, this spot can't be beat for its Laugenbrezeln — traditional pretzels made with lye and salt — and people-watching. <em>Entrées $8–$15.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Luce d'Oro</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Schloss Elmau's Michelin-starred restaurant serves refined yet approachable food alongside a colossal wine list.<em> Entrées $26–$57.</em></p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom:</strong></a> A beloved institution famous for its wood-grilled Nürnberger sausages and fresh Helles beer — with décor seemingly unchanged since the time of King Ludwig II. <em>Entrées $8–$32.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Restaurant</a>:</strong> In this sky-blue house covered in 200-year-old murals, chef Verena Merget's flavorful Bavarian cooking pairs perfectly with a beverage program deep in German wines.<em> Entrées $23–$46.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Restaurant Überfahrt</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>At the only Michelin three-starred restaurant in Bavaria, you can enjoy regionally influenced food in a modern dining room. <em>Tasting menus from $266.</em></p><h3>Activities</h3><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Linderhof Palace</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Though the popular Venus Grotto is closed for restoration, the extensive formal gardens surrounding this Rococo 19th-​century schloss in the Bavarian Alps are as compelling as the rooms inside. <em>Tickets from $10.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Wallberg</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>In addition to Germany's longest toboggan run, this mountain claims unparalleled views of town and lake below. Take the gondola up at any time of year for breathtaking Alpine panoramas. <em>Lift tickets from $12.</em></p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Zugspitze</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the country's tallest peak offers year-round tobogganing on natural snow — plus equipment rental, rustic restaurants, and a wealth of facilities. <em>Lift tickets from $52.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Reese Witherspoon’s Adorable Family Getaway Will Inspire You to Take a Snowy Vacation

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:49
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Reese Witherspoon</a> may be one of Hollywood’s hardest working celebrities, but that doesn’t mean she shies away from a vacation every now and again. In fact, if her Instagram account is any indication, she’s a true <a href="" target="_blank">vacationing expert</a>.</p><p>Over the weekend, Witherspoon shared a few photos and live updates to her Instagram account as she enjoyed a bit of fun in the snow in <a href="" target="_blank">Sun Valley, Idaho</a> with her husband, Jim Toth, and her three children, Ava, Deacon, and Tennessee.</p><p>“The mountains are calling…” Witherspoon captioned a photo of her and her husband as they stood in front of the mountains on a perfect bluebird day.</p><p>She shared another joyous photo of herself in front of a red barn with the simple caption, “I love Sun Valley!”</p><p>But this wasn’t the only vacation the Hollywood A-lister went on in recent months. She’s taken more than a <a href="" target="_blank">few beautiful beach vacations</a> recently, including a <a href="" target="_blank">lavish-looking girls trip to the Hamptons</a> over the summer and a wilderness vacation to Canada with her son, Deacon.</p><p>However, on her trip with Deacon, things got a bit hairy for the adventure lover.</p><p>"We went kayaking in this glacier water, and the water's freezing cold because it's really north in Canada, and they said 'No, there's no way you can roll this kayak because it is literally un-rollable,'" Reese told <a href="" target="_blank">Ellen during an appearance on 'The Ellen Show</a>'. "What did I do five minutes into it? Rolled us right into the water."</p><p>As she further explained, "I went straight into a tree, grabbed it, flipped the whole thing into the glacier and start screaming 'Help! Help! Deacon help!' But it was really funny. And it's a good story to tell on 'Ellen'."</p><p>Maybe it’s best Witherspoon sticks to dry land from now on.</p>
Categories: Travel