A Guide to Vacationing in the Maldives

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 15:02
<p>The <a href="" target="_blank">world’s lowest-lying nation</a> rises barely four-feet above sea level (at its highest point, a mere eight-feet), and fans over the Indian Ocean in wide, flat circles of blindingly white sand. The Maldives are nestled halfway between Indonesia and Africa, and attract travelers seriously committed to communing with the sparkling turquoise tides.</p><p>Made up of 26 atolls spanning 1,190 different islands (of these, less than a third are inhabited) the Maldives are like one giant jigsaw puzzle of sandbars and lagoons. An impressive number of marine species have made their homes in the surrounding reefs and, as a result, the Maldives are particularly popular among scuba divers.</p><p>The Maldives are where people come to experience island life at its most relaxed — and most beautiful. Whether you’re criss-crossing coral reefs in a glass-bottomed boat, or dozing off in your private overwater bungalow, the chances of returning home disappointed are slim to none. As noted author Adrian Neville <a href="" target="_blank">writes</a>, “It’s hard to have a bad holiday in the Maldives.”</p><img alt="Boat, South Male Atoll, Indian Ocean, Maldives "src=""><h2>Getting around the Maldives</h2><p>Within each of the island chain’s ring-shaped atolls — North Ari Atoll, South Ari Atoll, Laamu Atoll, and so on — is a group of different islands typically anchored by a small airport. In the case of Kaafu Atoll, it’s home to Velana International Airport, which is the main entry point for all travelers. From here, you’ll need to arrange a separate flight or speedboat transfer to get to your individual hotel.</p><img alt=" "src=""><img alt="Dock, Maldives "src=""><h2>Vacation during the dry season</h2><p>December through April is the dry season, and the most popular time to visit the Maldives. This can make hotels slightly more expensive, but it’s also when you can enjoy a guaranteed streak of gorgeous, storm-free days. Moreover, dry season makes for better visibility (think: crystal-clear snorkeling and underwater diving). No matter what time of year, travelers can expect balmy temperatures in the mid-80s.</p><img alt="Aerial view of atolls, Maldives, Indian Ocean "src=""><h2>Visit multiple islands</h2><p>The Maldives are full of dreamy, relatively untouched islands, and one of the joys of vacationing here is venturing beyond your hotel. A typical excursion might include fishing at sunset <a href="" target="_blank">in a 60-foot <i>dhoni</i></a> (a traditional Maldivian wooden boat). Another favorite is island hopping, when resort guests are taken to a handful of nearby islands and properties to snorkel and explore on land (a packed or barbecue lunch is almost always included). Some hotels even offer intimate escapes for couples. Just imagine being taken out to a deserted beach in a dinghy, where you’re left to enjoy the company of your significant other for the entire afternoon, equipped with only a fully stocked picnic basket and a mobile phone in case of emergencies.</p><img alt="Whale Shark, Maldives "src=""><h2>See a whale shark</h2><p>Scuba diving in the Maldives is second to none — the nutrient-rich waters here, fed by currents from the Indian Ocean, are like a Whole Foods for marine life. Brightly colored tropical fish, manta rays, reef sharks, whale sharks, eels, sea turtles, and more are attracted to the waters of the Maldives. Start at the South Ari Atoll, where you’ll find popular dive sites like Broken Rock (split in half by a deep canyon) and Kudarah Thila.</p><h2>Check into one of the new hotels</h2><p>With <a href="" target="_blank">four crisp new properties</a> just added to the docket in 2016, the Maldives’ reputation for over-the-top accommodations is as strong as ever. At the <a href="" target="_blank">Shangri-La Villingili</a>, for example, guests can practice their swing at a dazzling 9-hole golf course. The new <a href="" target="_blank">Soneva Jani</a>, on the other hand, has waterslides that loop down into a private lagoon. (Another highlight: retractable ceilings in the master bedroom, which slide back at the touch of a button.) Way down on the archipelago’s southern tip, the all-suite <a href="" target="_blank">Jumeirah Dhevanafushi</a> requires a 55-minute flight from the capital, followed by a 20-minute speedboat ride — but the private villas (with infinity pools) and 24-hour butler service are well worth the trek.</p><img alt="Ithaa Underwater Dining, Conrad Hotel, Maldives "src=""><h2>Dine underwater</h2><p>In 2005, <a href="" target="_blank">Ithaa</a> became the world’s first all-glass, undersea restaurant. Though the trend has spread, travelers can still enjoy a seafood feast at the intimate, 14-seat restaurant. Everything on the menu is sustainably caught. To eat here, however, you must be a guest of the <a href="" target="_blank">Conrad Rangali hotel</a>, and reservations are required well in advance.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Throw a Miami Bachelorette Party Your Friends Will Never Forget

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 14:00
<p>Gone are the days when a <a href="" target="_blank">bachelorette party</a> was a one-night affair. If you or your friends are tying the knot soon, set some extra money aside and make sure your passport is up to date, because there is likely a long weekend away in your future.</p><p>And while <a href="" target="_blank">Miami</a> is a popular destination for brides-to-be and their girl gangs for obvious reasons — sunshine, beach time, and non-stop partying, to name a few — there's more to the Florida hotspot than popping bottles in bandage dresses in South Beach (not that there's anything wrong with that).</p><p>If you're longing to stick your toes in that Florida sand but are afraid to be a cliché, we're here to help. These spots will let you revel in all the fun Miami has to offer, while earning bonus points with your bridal party for originality. </p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Where to Stay</h2><p>If you can swing it, don't skimp on accommodations when planning a bachelorette weekend. When traveling with a large group (and likely doing a good amount of partying), drama can be avoided if everyone is well-rested and comfortable at their home base.</p><p>Luckily, while a luxury Miami Beach hotel can certainly set you back, the surrounding area has some stunning real-estate to offer at surprisingly reasonable prices, especially if you're splitting the cost with friends.</p><p>To save a few bucks without feeling like you're settling, try using <a href="" target="_blank">Oasis</a>, an experience that falls somewhere between a hotel and an Airbnb. You get hotel-like amenities — a personal concierge, professional cleaning service, toiletries — and that insider feeling that comes with staying in an apartment in a less touristy neighborhood. Plus, there are perks like free access to local gyms (including trendy fitness studios like <a href="" target="_blank">Green Monkey Yoga</a> in Miami) and city guides curated by local experts.</p><img alt="Inside the Baia apartment in Miami couresty of Oasis "src=""><img alt="Inside the Baia apartment in Miami via Oasis "src=""><p>For a spot right between Miami Beach and Wynwood, stay at <a href="" target="_blank">Baia</a>, a three-bedroom apartment in the Design District with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and wrap-around balconies that offer unobstructed views of the sparkling blue bay. The meticulously decorated, waterfront pad sleeps seven, and there's a pool. It's $314 a night (and just think of all the cash you'll save pre-gaming at “home” while soaking in that jaw-dropping sunset).</p><p>If that all sounds great but you have your heart set on staying at the beach, the <a href="" target="_blank">Miami Beach Edition</a> offers a next-level stay complete with a Jean-Georges food hall, poolside lawn games, outdoor movie nights, and ice skating and bowling in the basement (next to the on-site nightclub, of course). Head downstairs on the second Monday night of the month for the award-winning Gio’s Total Split Show, an interactive speed bowling competition and wild party.</p><img alt="The Miami Beach Edition hotel lobby "src=""><img alt="Edition Miami Beach hotel grounds "src=""><p>The romantic, outdoor Matador Terrace, covered in lush greenery, is an idyllic spot for a fancy dinner just steps from the ocean, and the spa offers bachelorette-friendly services including blow-outs and mani-pedis, plus a 30-minute “power nap” service that uses biotic wave technology to deeply relax your mind.</p><p>And those interested in a dose of history can play their own scavenger hunt around the hotel grounds, finding remnants of the hotel's storied past among its modern amenities and impeccable design. It sits on the site of the first luxury hotel in Miami Beach, the <a href="" target="_blank">Pancoast</a>, and has kept everything from the original clock on its exterior to the original diving board and swimming pool (adjacent to a more modern one). Doubles start at $399 per night. </p><h2>Where to Eat</h2><p>Miami may not be the first city you think of when you hear “dinner and a show,” but nestled between high-end shops in the heart of the Design District is <a href="" target="_blank">Estefan Kitchen</a>, an ode to two of the things Miami does best: music and Cuban food. Oh yeah, and the 1950s Cuba-themed restaurant does belong to <em>those</em> Estefans — Gloria and Emilio — who just opened it in March.</p><img alt="Cuban food at Estefan Kitchen in Miami's Design District "src=""><p>The menu is Cuban with a twist: Sip on a champagne mojito or Gloria's own Cosmopolitan recipe, and try the lechón crispy moros, a roasted pork, sweet plantain, and truffle oil combo that's like crispy rice sushi in construction, but all Cuban in flavor. When your mouth isn't full, sing along to live music from a pianist, flamenco guitarist, or mariachi band. (The waiters and bartenders have been known to join in on the performance, too.)</p><p>For a more down-to-earth dining experience, feast on barbecued meats straight from Florida family farms and veggies grown in an on-site garden at <a href="" target="_blank">Charcoal Garden Bar + Grill</a>, the first full-service restaurant built at the Wynwood Yard, an outdoor "entrepreneurial hub" where art and design meets food and drink. It's built entirely out of shipping containers, and the menu, which changes twice every season, also includes a roster of 20 sauces inspired by different places around the world, from French tarragon-gribiche and Oaxacan roasted tomatillo to Indian curried coconut. </p><p>French and Italian wines are on tap, and the craft beers are served in growlers.</p><h2>Where to Party</h2><p>Sure, you'll probably want to hit <a href="" target="_blank">LIV</a> at the Fontainebleau or one of Miami's many other world-famous nightclubs, but when your feet need a break from dancing, a low-key Miami Beach night can be spent at beachfront <a href="" target="_blank">The Confidante</a> hotel, where Nina's Game Night is held every Thursday, with arcade games, ping pong, foosball, and throwback tunes.</p><p>When you're in the mood to take your tropical-style vacation to the next level, try to catch <a href="" target="_blank">The Anderson</a>'s “Miami is an Island” party. The '80s-inspired cocktail bar, beloved of locals in the MiMo (Miami Modern) historic district, pulls out all the stops one Sunday a month, including a backyard barbecue, a line-up of DJs, and a mini-market to peruse while sipping your choice of craft cocktail in “The Shack,” the bar's Caribbean-themed backyard.</p><img alt="Inside The Shack at The Anderson cocktail bar in Miami "src=""><h2>What to Do</h2><p>While everyone else hits a pool party, head out on the water with your very own boat — and captain. With easy-to-use boat rental site <a href="" target="_blank">Sailo</a>, you can enter your location and the amenities you're looking for, and sort by price to find the option that's best for your party. Boats in Miami currently <a href=";guests=(None%2C+None)&amp;latitude=25.7617&amp;longitude=-80.1918&amp;mile_radius=7.49&amp;page=1&amp;sort=price_a&amp;tab=4" target="_blank">start at around $250</a> for a half-day. Some, like the pictured <a href="" target="_blank">Victory 35</a> ($800 per half-day; fits 12) come with extras like swim floats, a grill, a music system, and more to enjoy while you cruise around Biscayne Bay or anchor by a sandbar and go for a dip.</p><img alt="A boat on Biscayne Bay in Miami "src=""><p>And after you inevitably have too much fun in the sun, it's time to add some culture to your trip. <a href="" target="_blank">MKT by bazbaz</a>, a massive outdoor marketplace and art installation that just opened in Wynwood in early April (Saturday to Sunday, 1-6 p.m.) is a must-visit for lovers of local art, quirky trinkets, and live music.</p><p>Plus, after a weekend of self-indulgence, you'll feel good about grabbing some healthy snacks and giving back to the <a href="" target="_blank">socially conscious vendors</a> — and you may even stop and learn a thing or two about one of the featured Miami-based charities.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines Flight Attendant Appears to Threaten Passenger to Fight

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 13:58
<p>American Airlines announced it will investigate video of an incident on Flight 591 in which a flight attendant seems to say to a passenger, “hit me, come on, hit me.”</p><p>Surain Adyanthaya posted video of the incident on Facebook:</p><p>Adyanthaya wrote that the flight attendant “violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby. Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her.” The alleged confrontation between the flight attendant and woman is not in the video.</p><p>American was quick to post a statement about the incident — likely after witnessing the intense criticism of <a href="" target="_blank">United Airlines after video of a passenger being forcibly removed went viral</a>.</p><p>“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts,” the airline <a href="" target="_blank">posted on its website</a>. “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family's needs are being met while she is in our care. After electing to take another flight, we are taking special care of her and her family and upgrading them to first class for the remainder of their international trip.”</p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Airlines Have Been ‘Bullying’ Passengers for a Long Time, United Passenger’s Lawyer Says</a></strong></p><p>The statement continues: “The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s Why Your Hands Wrinkle in Water

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 13:01
<p>As the warmer months quickly approach, summer getaways are likely on many travelers’ minds. Whether they’re conjuring up images of pristine beaches or poolside cocktails or vertigo-inducing waterslides, getting wet is synonymous with summer travel.</p><p>And for those who love cooling down by <a href="" target="_blank">jumping in a pool</a>, there’s probably one mystery about the whole experience left unsolved: Why do fingers and toes get wrinkly after spending time in the pool, but no other part of your body does?</p><p>The answer, as always, lies in science.</p><p>Fingers, toes and the soles of feet are all covered in something called “glabrous skin,” which basically just means skin where hair won’t grow.</p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Best and Worst States for Summer Road Trips</a></strong></p><p>Many people assume that when skin here wrinkles, it’s just water passing into the skin’s outer layer and making it swell up. However, in the 1930s, scientists proved that this human reaction does not happen in people with certain types of nerve damage. Therefore, skin wrinkles are involuntarily controlled by the body’s nervous system. It’s actually the blood vessels below the skin constricting.</p><p>There are a few other theories suggesting why skin wrinkles: Some biologists believe that the wrinkling is caused by <a href="" target="_blank">dead keratin cells absorbing water</a>. Because skin on the hands and feet has the highest counts of dead keratin cells, that could be why they are the only parts of the body to wrinkle.</p><p>Whatever the cause, the reaction is <a href="" target="_blank">most likely something left over from evolution</a>. When skin gets wrinkly, it makes it easier to grab things. Our ancestors may have used this trait to gather food from wet vegetation or make it easier to walk in the rain.</p><p>Today, the most we probably use it for is trapping small items that fall off the edge and sink to <a href="" target="_blank">the bottom of the pool</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Make a Difference in the World While Traveling

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 12:01
<p>These days, we all have a lot on our minds. It’s tempting to use our vacation time to escape to a remote beach, where we can slip into blissful oblivion with a cocktail in hand.</p><p>Relaxation has its place, but with a little effort and a different approach, we can also use our vacation time to create change, if we so choose.</p><p>If you're up for a challenge and feel like turning your vacation into a more inspiring experience, here's a guide to representing your country abroad and building positive relationships along the way.</p><h2>The Power of Citizen Diplomacy</h2><p>“A ‘citizen diplomat mindset’ means being intentional when interacting with individuals from a different country by believing that one of your roles is to positively represent the United States,” explained Jennifer Clinton, president of citizen diplomacy non-profit Global Ties. “Our reality today is that citizens around the world are having much greater influence on local, national, and international relations.”</p><p>Being a citizen diplomat means not only representing our country, but engaging in meaningful interactions across cultures to create shared understanding.</p><p>This can be as simple as engaging in more conversations with locals, but it’s not always easy to escape the tourism bubble, and it can sometimes be difficult to have meaningful exchanges with taxi drivers or strangers on the street.</p><p>“It’s OK to have balance,” said Richard Bobo of Cultural Vistas, an international exchange nonprofit. “Spend a few days in a resort. Then spend a day or two out in the country really experiencing the culture.”</p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Engaging in Meaningful Interactions</h2><p>Travel often teaches us that we have many things in common with people who appear to be very different from us, which in turn helps us see those commonalities through a new lens.</p><p>What are your passions? What issues do you care about? Wherever you're going, there are people who share your passion or who are exploring innovative solutions to similar issues. Imagine how much you can learn — and share — by connecting with them.</p><h2>Connecting Through Services</h2><p>Plenty of services make it easier to connect with locals when you travel.</p><p>You can stay with local hosts through <a href="" target="_blank">Couchsurfing</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Airbnb</a>. You can also use Couchsurfing to find other users to meet for a coffee or meal. <a href="" target="_blank"></a> is an excellent way to attend gatherings and participate in activities with locals who share your interests.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Vayable</a> and Airbnb’s <a href="" target="_blank">Experiences</a> provide more structured options to meet locals. You can book unique travel experiences hosted by a local guide or expert, such as a dinner, workshop, or specialized tour. These experiences are usually based around a specific interest, offering the chance to learn from and connect with locals in a more personally meaningful way.</p><img alt="Citizen Diplomacy "src=""><h2>Volunteer With a Local Organization</h2><p>Volunteering is a great way to connect with a community and make an impact. You’ll also learn how people in other countries are approaching problems in creative ways.</p><p>Search your destination country on <a href="" target="_blank"></a> to find local organizations. Even if they aren’t able to accommodate you as a volunteer during your trip, you may be able to arrange a site visit or meeting to discuss issues, share knowledge, and perhaps find a way to collaborate.</p><h2>Utilize Your Networks</h2><p>Our own networks can easily lead to contacts across the globe. Sharing a mutual connection makes it easier to forge a relationship, and it’s more likely you’ll stay in touch after the trip.</p><p>Contact your university’s alumni office to see if they can connect you with alumni or former international students at your destination. Ask colleagues and tap into professional networks. Send a message out on social media. You may be surprised how many people have connections to your destination.</p><p>Beyond your personal networks, there may be local resources that can help. Does your city have <a href="" target="_blank">sister cities</a>? Are there local businesses with international ties or roots?</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Community-based organizations</a> devoted to international relations and citizen diplomacy exist across the country. They host dozens of international visitors each year.</p><p>“Global Ties has affiliates in 45 states,” said Clinton. “They often have strong networks of individuals around the world who would welcome the opportunity to interact with Americans to reciprocate the hospitality they received.”</p><h2>Creating Shared Understanding</h2><p>Mutual understanding is an important aspect of citizen diplomacy, but it’s hard to get there without context.</p><p>Leading up to your trip, read a few stories each day from local news publications. Do a <a href="" target="_blank">Google News</a> search for the country, including keywords for issues or topics that interest you.</p><p>By educating yourself on the realities of your destination, you will be able to engage in more meaningful conversations.</p><p>You may also discover something you can incorporate into your trip, such as a local event or an organization whose work you want to learn more about.</p><img alt="Citizen Diplomacy "src=""><h2>Bringing Citizen Diplomacy Home</h2><p>Citizen diplomacy doesn’t have to end with your trip. Just as you served as a representative of America while traveling, you represent the country you visited when you return. </p><p>“Use social media as a way to educate your friends back home of the people and customs of your host country,” Clinton said. “Don’t just post photos of monuments. Mention what the people are like, friends you made, things you learned.”</p><p>You can continue to serve as a citizen diplomat by volunteering with international organizations and becoming a connector between your community and the rest of the world.</p><p>“True diplomacy is apolitical,” Bobo said. “The more people’s minds are opened, the more they realize there are other ways of living and doing things, the more the fear of the ‘other’ reduces.”</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Spend Your Post-grad Life Traveling the World for Free

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 17:35
<p>Entering the post-grad phase can be tough. You're thrust into the real world for the first time with big decisions to make and daunting goals to accomplish, the safety net of campus life in the rear-view mirror.</p><p>But if you're a college senior in the U.K. who wants to avoid all that (at least for a while), we have very good news: You could win an all-expenses-paid trip around the world after graduation.</p><p>Price comparison site <a href="" target="_blank"></a> wants to send one student who is currently in their final year to at least eight countries as a "travel adviser" in the fall. Plane tickets, accommodations, adventure excursions, camera equipment, and travel insurance are all included, as is a £5,000 donation to the winner's student union.</p><p><strong>Related: <a href="" target="_blank">How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World, According to People Who Have Done It</a></strong></p><p>All the lucky grad will have to do in exchange is take 10 photos a month in various destinations, film one video in their favorite spot, and write a monthly blog post with travel tips they learn along the way. The winner will also have a say in the itinerary and length of trip. </p><p>If you're interested, check out the complete rules <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, and then pen a <a href="" target="_blank">short essay of less than 200 words</a> explaining your ideal place to visit and why by April 30. </p><p><strong>Related: <a href="" target="_blank">How This Picture-perfect Couple Makes Six Figures While Traveling the World Together</a></strong></p><p>If you're selected by Compare the Market travel experts as one of the top five candidates, you'll submit a YouTube video “application,” and then the public will vote on the winner by May.</p>
Categories: Travel

Protect Your Head From Airplane Germs With This Seat Cover

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 16:41
<p>When stuck in an airplane, there isn't a whole lot travelers can do to avoid germs — save boarding armed with bottles of disinfectant.</p><p>But for travelers who prefer less smelly options, <a href="" target="_blank">the HeadDEFENDER</a> is a personal headrest cover that lets passengers protect their heads from the back of <a href="" target="_blank">their seat</a>.</p><p>“I won’t forget one particular flight that awakened my germ consciousness,” the product's creator Keely Watson told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. “As I was walking down the aisle, someone was trying to pass me. To balance myself, I touched the top of a headrest and felt something that disgusted me. As I remember it, it was wet, sticky, and had a mucous-like consistency.” (This experience would also convince us to always cover our headrest.)</p><p>The seat cover is made from a non-toxic “bacteria-killing shield,” according to the company. It is hypoallergenic and claims to kill 99.9 percent of “disease causing microbes including MRSA and Staph.”</p><img alt="The HeadDEFENDER covers the top of your airplane seat. "src=""><p>The cover also promises to protect travelers from dandruff, hair left behind on the seat by previous passengers, hair oils and dried sweat.</p><p>“After speaking with a number of flight attendants, they admitted that they rarely clean seats,” said Watson. “There is no mandate that states a plane be cleaned daily or weekly. Airline companies do have standards and the plane usually gets a good cleaning at the end of the day, but between flights it is minimal.”</p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Robot Can Kill 99% of Germs on a Plane in 5 Minutes (But Don't Expect Airlines to Use It)</a></strong></p><p>The seat cover comes in a pouch that can be zipped up and quickly placed on headrests. According to manufacturers, it was designed to not interfere with the passenger behind — but it never hurts to double check while sliding it on.</p><p>If covering the headrest isn't enough for you, there are also covers like <a href="" target="_blank">GermFreeBee</a> for the entire seat.</p><p>HeadDEFENDER comes in two different sizes — one original and one extended size for shorter passengers — and five different colors. The covers cost $14.99 and 17.49, depending on size.</p>
Categories: Travel

U.S. Air Marshal Forgets Loaded Gun in Airplane Lavatory

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 16:18
<p>A passenger on a <a href="" target="_blank">Delta</a> flight from the U.K. to New York City discovered a loaded service weapon in the bathroom of the plane, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em> reported</a>.</p><p>A U.S. air marshal had left the weapon in the bathroom by accident, where the passenger then found it and turned it over to a crew member. The air marshal in question, who is a new hire, failed to immediately report the incident to her supervisor and was back on another flight a few days later, according to the same report.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“You can’t have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory,” Craig Sawyer, a former air marshal, told<em> The New York Times</em>. “If someone with ill intent gets hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they are now armed.”</p><p>The U.S. Air Marshal program, <a href="" target="_blank">part of the TSA</a>, welcomed some of its first new recruits since 2011 earlier this year. While the <a href="" target="_blank">security</a> program was created in the 1960s under president John F. Kennedy’s administration, officials reexamined and revamped the training for marshals following the 9/11 hijackings.</p><p>Marshals receive training on hand-to-hand combat, how to disarm a threat, and how to shoot accurately if the situation escalates.</p><p>“Expert marksmanship is a key requirement for air marshals, who are tested quarterly on their shooting skills,” noted a recent <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Washington Post</i> report</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

What It's Like to Cruise Down the Danube River

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 16:05
<p>Fifteen minutes into our tour of Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs’ 1,000-plus-room summer retreat in Vienna, my 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, disconnected her Quietvox and, out of earshot of the tour guide, said, “They’re all just like the Kardashians.”</p><p>The way she saw it, the social-climbing Napoleon married Austrian archduchess Marie-Louise in 1810 not so much to consolidate peace between France and Austria, but to bask in the rarefied atmosphere of the Hapsburg royal clan.</p><p>For her, it was the equivalent of Blac Chyna having a child with Rob Kardashian. “Blac Chyna snuck her way into the family in order to get the Kardashian last name,” she explained. “Like Napoleon marrying Marie-Louise, who hated the French. He just wanted to get into an important family.”</p><p>I have to admit that there was an odd — even brilliant — logic to what she was describing. We were on day five of our weeklong <a href="" target="_blank">Adventures by Disney</a> Danube River cruise, which began in Vilshofen, Germany, and ended in Budapest — and Hannah was having the time of her life. She had already climbed to the top of castle ruins in Austria’s stunning Wachau Valley, sat in on a strudel-making course in Vienna, and attended a Lipizzaner horse performance at the city’s exclusive Spanish Riding School.</p><img alt="Disney Danube Cruise "src=""><p>I marveled at her energy, but more so at her sense of excitement. Hannah is a seen-it-all New York City high school senior who speaks five languages and spent her early childhood in Rio de Janeiro. I am a former foreign correspondent, and my ex-husband is a Serbian-Canadian photographer who now lives in Belgrade.</p><p>After Hannah was born, we traveled the world with her. She is amazingly cosmopolitan, and I worried that she would find a river cruise organized by the theme park’s tour operator lame and boring. And although Hannah politely refused to wear the Adventures by Disney lanyards studded with Mickey Mouse pins we were all given to mark each day’s excursion, she was engaged in a way I have never quite seen her.</p><p>That’s in large part because Adventures by Disney, which recently began chartering ships operated by <a href="" target="_blank">AmaWaterways</a>, doesn’t offer a traditional river cruise. Most companies target an older clientele, and before I boarded our ship, the well-appointed, 82-cabin <em><a href="" target="_blank">AmaViola</a></em>, I must admit I had visions of shuffleboard and bridge.</p><p>But among the 110 people on our cruise, I met gay couples, families with small children, and single parents with their adult kids. The vibe? Relaxed and welcoming. These family-focused cruises have proven to be so popular that Adventures by Disney and AmaWaterways are offering 15 sailings this year, on both the Danube and the Rhine.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Like Hannah, I found myself completely captivated by the whole river-cruise experience, which unfolded like a series of mini-adventures day after day. Family activities included a slide deep into a salt mine in Salzburg and a backstage tour of a marionette theater in Vienna. Adult excursions included wine tastings in Krems and tours of food and craft markets in Bratislava and Budapest.</p><p>All were conducted in conjunction with local guides who had in-depth knowledge of their native towns. The ship’s crew was also well informed, which I noticed after Hannah started questioning them about everything from where to find the best <em>café mélange</em> to how much we should pay for taxis in our next port.</p><p>In many ways, Hannah became the star of the <em>AmaViola</em> and its mostly Serbian staff. They had never met a passenger who could speak their language, and I swelled with pride every time she ordered our lunch or dinner — multicourse affairs that included beef consommé and Hungarian goulash as well as surprises like perfectly prepared pho — in their native tongue.</p><p>Every night, as we retired to our warm little cabin with its windows overlooking the splendid cities on the shore, Hannah researched what we would do the following day. Armed with intelligence from Hannah’s new friends in the crew and suggestions from the Adventures by Disney tour guides, who encouraged us to go off the official grid of daily activities, we decided to take in the Albertina Museum in <a href="" target="_blank">Vienna</a>, where my daughter made a beeline for the indie galleries.</p><img alt="Disney Danube Cruise "src=""><p>“I love contemporary art,” she whispered as we made our way past paintings by Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol.</p><p>Who knew?</p><p>By the time the <em>AmaViola</em> docked in Budapest, the last port of call, Hannah’s requests were even more surprising: Could we go to the House of Terror on Andrássy Avenue?</p><p>The House of Terror?</p><p>During World War II, it was the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi Party. Today, the splendid Beaux-Arts structure, which is tucked into a fashionable neighborhood in central Budapest, is a museum. In February 1945, when the Soviets took political control of the country, they used the building to house dissidents. Hundreds were tortured in a network of underground cells that stretched over a city block.</p><p>Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who had saved tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution in Hungary, shared a cell here before he disappeared into a Soviet gulag. “The basement smells like death,” Hannah told me, as we took the tour. Although the exhibits were difficult to stomach, it was important that Hannah was now getting a close-up of what life was like for opponents of totalitarianism.</p><p>After the House of Terror, we strolled down Andrássy Avenue before stopping at the <a href="" target="_blank">chandelier-studded Alexandra Bookcafé</a>, located on the second floor of the former Paris Department Store. We sipped steaming lattes and ordered an array of billowy Hungarian pastries. While she sampled each of the sweets, Hannah had another epiphany.</p><p>“You know, Mom, I think I want to come back to a place like this to study,” she said. “History just feels so alive here!”</p><p>That night, our last on the ship, I climbed to the upper deck as we sailed past the Hungarian Parliament, lit up in all its neo-Gothic splendor. I looked down at my phone as a text came in from my daughter, who was packing in our cabin below.</p><p>“Thank you Mom for an adventure of a lifetime,” it said. Followed by three heart emojis.</p><p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Seven-night cruises start from $4,349</a>.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Five Amazing Spring Travel Deals to Book Now

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 11:02
<h2>Sonoma County </h2><p>Get 30 percent off from the new <a href="" target="_blank">Timber Cove</a>, a mid-century modern gem with rustic, modern interiors, set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.</p><p><b>Sweet Sonoma Coast Suites package includes</b><strong>:</strong></p>One night in an Ocean Suite<p><strong>Original Price:</strong><b> </b>$630 per night</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> $441 per night; book by May 24 for travel through April and May</p><h2>Costa Rica </h2><p>Get 33 percent off a <a href="" target="_blank">Romantic Getaway</a> from <a href="" target="_blank">Costa Rican Vacations,</a> a specialist in the country that crafts all-inclusive packages and private tours.</p><p><b>A Romantic Getaway includes</b><strong>:</strong></p>Airport meet and greet and a private transfer to the Arenal KioroThree nights at Arenal Kioro, in La Fortuna, including daily buffet breakfastAccess to Kioro’s Titoku Hot SpringsPrivate transfer to the Villa Buena OndaFour nights at the Villa Buena Onda, in Guanacaste, including all mealsA private tour of hidden beaches, including a barbecueAccess the Club at Coco Bay and the Beach ClubChoice of a $150 bar credit or 50-minute couple’s massage at Villa Buena HondaPrivate transfers to the Liberia Airport<p><strong>Original Price: </strong>From $2,605 per person (or $372 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $1,797 per person (or $267 per night); valid through December 15, 2017</p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Cambodia</h2><p>Get 32 percent off the new <a href="" target="_blank">Hillocks Hotel &amp; Spa</a>: a collection of minimalist, modern villas decorated with Khmer-style furnishings, near the famous temples of Siem Reap.</p><p><b>The Opening Promotion </b><strong> includes:</strong></p>One night in a Deluxe SuiteDaily breakfastA 20 percent discount off of food and beverages30 percent off services at the Kraven SpaRound-trip airport transfers<p><strong>Original Price: </strong>$140 per night</p><p><strong>T+L Price: </strong>$95 per night; valid through October 31</p><p><strong>Booking Details: </strong>Email <a href=""></a> or call 855-63-966-699</p><h2>Palm Springs</h2><p>Get 35 percent off a stay at the <a href="" target="_blank">Hard Rock Hotel</a> in <a href="" target="_blank">Palm Springs, California</a>. This funky, music-inspired property can craft you a personalized playlist — or deliver guitars and DJ equipment to your room.</p><p><b>Spring Sale includes</b><strong>:</strong></p>Three nights in a Deluxe Guest room (upgrades available) $15 daily food credit<p><strong>Original Price: </strong>From $286 per night</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $186 per night; book by May 30.</p><p><strong>Booking Details: </strong>Use promotion code SPRING3</p><h2>Mexico</h2><p>Get 30 percent off a stay at <a href="" target="_blank">Royal Hideaway Playacar</a>, an adults-only all-inclusive in Playa del Carmen with high-end amenities such as tequila master classes, afternoon tea, and a nightly chef’s table.</p><p><b>A Romantic Getaway includes</b><strong>:</strong></p>A minimum of four nights in a Luxury Room (upgrades available)All meals and beveragesA 50-minute Swedish massageUse of the spa water circuit<p><strong>Original Price:</strong> From $528 per night, double</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $370 per night, double; valid through December 25.</p>
Categories: Travel

United Announces CEO Oscar Munoz Will Not Be Chairman Next Year

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 10:11
<p>United Airlines' CEO Oscar Munoz will not be the chairman of the company next year, according to <a href="" target="_blank">a federal filing on Friday</a>.</p><p>The news comes on the heels of series of damaging events for the airline. Earlier this month, a passenger <a href="" target="_blank">was violently dragged off a flight</a> after refusing to give up his seat for a crew member.</p><p>Video of the incident prompted outrage, which was only exacerbated after Munoz made an initial statement that referred to “re-accommodating” passengers.</p><p>Despite continued outrage — and additional horror stories from other passengers — Munoz <a href="" target="_blank">promised not to fire any employees</a> and insisted that he himself would not resign.</p><p>Now, Munoz has been dismissed from consideration for the position of the company’s chairman.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Reuters</a>, the decision was initiated by Munoz, who "<a href="" target="_blank">desires to remove the provisions</a>...related to the future appointment of Executive as Chairman of the Board," and to leave “future determinations” about the position to the board.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Binge-watching TV Shows

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 09:03
<p>Binge-watching our <a href="" target="_blank">favorite shows</a> has been something we address in whispers. Somehow the agenda on those precious days off when the weather might be a bit gloomy or when you really just need a day to yourself with a few favorite fictional characters has become something to feel bad about. Well, don't. </p><p>A dig into the feeling of guilt that comes with binge-watching television has popped up on <a href="" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. After giving it a read, you'll feel a little bit better about passing your afternoons (and nights) with your eyes glued to a screen. </p><p>The article brings up a great point: We plan entire nights around movie marathons — and we even invite friends! — and to call devouring a novel in one sitting binge-reading seems excessive. So why does binge-watching television get such a bad reputation?</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The researcher behind this argument is Elizabeth Cohen, an assistant professor of communication at West Virginia University. "But binge viewing TV has become <a href="" target="_blank">popular</a> for a good reason: Despite its negative reputation, television has <a href="" target="_blank">never been better</a>," she write for <em>The Conversation</em>. "We are in the midst of <a href="" target="_blank">a golden age of television</a>, with a variety of shows that provide a steady diet of novel premises, long-running, elaborate plots and morally complicated characters. Far from dulling the intellect, these shows create more suspense, interest and opportunities for critical engagement."</p><p>If books can be celebrated as intellectual vehicles for thoughts and opinions, why can't television? No matter what your reason for binge-watching the latest series — an escape from a stressful day of work, general interest in the show topic, just a means to help you fall asleep — the content being created on television has never been better.</p><p>Cohen cites a 2014 study looking into the way watching media recharges those who find themselves overstressed. "Individuals who bought into the 'lazy couch potato' stereotype enjoyed fewer benefits from watching TV," Cohen writes. "Instead of feeling revitalized after watching TV, they felt guilty."</p><p>So, in a very meta turn of events, we can thank the media's affiliation of binge-watching with laziness for our ill-fated guilt. Want to read more about Cohen's thoughts on the positive effects of binge-watching? Head on over to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Conversation</a></em>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Start Planning Your Trip: Airfares to Europe Have Dropped Nearly 30%

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 09:02
<p>Flights from the U.S. to international destinations in Europe and Asia have plummeted in the past year, according to flight aggregator and search engine <a href="" target="_blank">Skyscanner</a>, making it an awesome time to travel.</p><p>The average <a href="" target="_blank">price of flights</a> to Europe has dipped by nearly 30 percent year over year, compared with April 2015-March 2016. For long-haul flights — lasting six hours or longer — the average ticket price has dipped by about $300, according to data shared with <em>Travel + Leisure</em>.</p><p>Destinations even further away, such as Tokyo and Bangkok, are down approximately 15 percent year over year.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Amsterdam</a> came in as the destination that had seen the starkest decrease, with the average ticket price dropping from $1,010.24 round trip to $769.82 — a dip of 23.7 percent. Paris was second, down 23.2 percent to $776.09, and Milan nabbed the third place spot, down nearly 20 percent to $781.09.</p><p>The price of flights is likely to remain low, as low-cost carriers have extended to transatlantic flights. Norweigan Air announced its intention to create flights <a href="" target="_blank">as low as $69 round-trip</a>.</p><p>The exchange rates in Europe continue to be favorable for U.S. travelers, on both the continent and the U.K. Great Britain’s planned exit from the European Union has <a href="" target="_blank">caused a good deal</a> of economic uncertainty, causing the pound to remain weaker, meaning prices are lower for U.S. residents. Roundtrip flights to London were down 18.6 percent from an average of $1,005.57 per ticket to $818.35.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Get Julia Roberts’ Comfy Travel Shoe Style

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 08:48
<p>Julia Roberts rose to fame as a "Pretty Woman," and it still rings true today. The Oscar-winning actress was just <a href="" target="_blank">named the World's Most Beautiful Woman</a> by <i>People</i> magazine<i> </i>for a record fifth time. She also graced the Most Beautiful cover in 1991, 2000, 2005, and 2010.</p><p>Roberts, 49, has spent over 27 years in the limelight, racking up movies, awards, and quite a few beauty campaigns with her talent and famous smile. Naturally, a demanding job like hers requires quite a bit of traveling.</p><p>In between shooting films in locations around the world, doing press tours, and flying back home to California, the "Erin Brockovich" actress has probably earned more frequent flier miles than we ever will.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>So, if we were to take fashion advice on <a href="" target="_blank">airport style</a> and travel-friendly attire from anyone, Roberts would be at the top of our list. Though she doesn’t shy from a six-inch heel on the red carpet, when traveling, it’s clear the mother of three favors <a href="" target="_blank">comfortable footwear</a> before anything else.</p><p>Take this time she landed in <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a> to promote "Eat, Pray, Love" (another ode to on-point travel dressing). She wore a pair of chic, leopard-print ballerinas that she paired with washed-out blue jeans, a gray jacket, and a black-and-white plaid scarf. It was a master class in spicing up an easy outfit with the right pair of shoes.</p><p>So if you’re headed to the airport soon, take a fashion cue from the World’s Most Beautiful Woman with these similar styles.</p><img alt="Julia Roberts Travel Style "src=""><h2>Vionic Caballo Pointed Toe Flats</h2><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $120</p><img alt="Julia Roberts Travel Style "src=""><h2>Dr. Scholl's Really</h2><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $55</p><img alt="Julia Roberts Travel Style "src=""><h2>Kate Spade New York Emma Flat</h2><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $90</p>
Categories: Travel

There’s a Meteor Shower Happening Tonight and You Don’t Want to Miss It

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 07:55
<p>If you find yourself in the United States on the night of April 21, take some time to check out the Lyrid meteor shower that's going to be lighting up the sky.</p><p>This will be the first visible meteor shower since January, according to <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Up to 20 meteors per hour are expected to be streaking across the night sky. There's a chance this could be an extra-special show as well — the <a href="" target="_blank">American Meteor Society</a> shares that Lyrid meteors don't often feature long trails, but they can produce fireballs. It's safe to say you don't see many fireballs crossing the horizon (unless you're watching an apocalyptic movie scene, of course).</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>For the record, a fireball is a meteor that burns incredibly bright as it hits the Earth's atmosphere. It usually only lasts a couple of seconds, but is truly a sight to see. </p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Related:</a></strong><a href="" target="_blank"> 25 Perfect Spots for Watching the Total Solar Eclipse Crossing the U.S.</a></p><p>If you're looking to spot some of the meteors, all you have to do is look up. AccuWeather shares that the meteors will be streaking across the sky in all directions, so you won't need to focus on one specific area of the sky. The best time to see the meteor shower will come after midnight, when the meteor origin area is at its highest point in the sky.</p><p>In terms of the best physical location to spot the show, the western side of the United States and the Great Lakes are being treated to clear skies tonight. The East Coast will be shrouded in clouds, making it harder to see the meteors. </p>
Categories: Travel

This Couple Spent Their First Year of Marriage Traveling Around the World

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 06:59
<p>Jo Piazza and her husband, Nick Aster, spent one year traveling around the world on honeymoon. Or at least in a honeymoon state of mind.</p><p>After their wedding in September 2015, the couple decided to treat their first year of marriage “like a continuous honeymoon,” Piazza told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. From their home base in <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco</a>, they set off once or twice a month to explore a new place together.</p><p>“I figured we could spend the first year of our marriage nesting at home <a href="" target="_blank">binging Netflix</a> and gaining the first year of marriage 15 [pounds] or we could travel and crowdsource marriage advice from around the world,” Piazza, a former travel editor, told T+L.</p><p>Piazza compared their first year traveling together to “marriage bootcamp,” saying that it changed the way she and her husband interact with each other.</p><p>“You learn so much about your spouse on the road that wouldn't come up at home. You're forced into and out of difficult situations,” Piazza said. She got food poisoning four times — including once at the Entebbe airport in Uganda. He got altitude sickness at <a href="" target="_blank">Mount Kilimanjaro</a>. In each unusual case, they were forced to help each other.</p><p>But she also said that traveling together builds stories that bring two people closer together.</p><p>“A day doesn’t go by now that we don't recall one of our stories from that first year together,” Piazza said. “From the time I bought my husband an engagement ring and proposed in the Atacama desert, to the time we crashed an embassy party in <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a> or slept on the hippo highway in the Maasai Mara convinced a giant beast was going to crash into our tent at any minute.”</p><p>But more than just gathering stories, the duo traveled around the world, asking people from all different cultures their advice on marriage. In Denmark and France she learned to “put away your phone when you're spending quality time with your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend.” From Orthodox Jewish women in Jerusalem, Piazza learned that it’s important to take time “to take care of yourself before you try to take care of a partner or your family so that you can stay strong and centered.”</p><p>And there was some advice that was the same no matter where in the world the couple traveled. They learned how to communicate properly, maintain their own lives outside of the marriage and remember to say thank you.</p><p>There was one other thing that most cultures agreed about: Piazza said that almost unanimously, people around the world believe that Americans “complain more about marriage and love than anyone else in the world.”</p><p>It may be time to follow Piazza’s lead, stop complaining, and hit the road.</p><p>Piazza’s advice and stories from the road are compiled in her new book out this week, <a href="" target="_blank">“How to be Married,”</a> now available for purchase.</p>
Categories: Travel

White House Sidewalk Will Be Permanently Closed to the Public

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 06:44
<p>Visitors to the <a href="" target="_blank">White House</a> in <a href="" target="_blank">Washington, D.C.</a> will no longer be able to snap photos of the grounds from one of the sidewalks that surround the president's residence.</p><img alt="White House sidewalk closed permanently "src=""><p>The U.S. Secret Service announced plans to permanently close the south sidewalk over security concerns Wednesday. Several people have broken into the grounds of the White House, and one man in March wandered the lawn for more than 15 minutes before he was detained. In another <a href="" target="_blank">incident in 2014</a>, a visitor jumped the fence and was able to get all the way into the <a href="" target="_blank">White House</a> itself.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The secret service upped security in 2015, closing the sidewalk from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m and installing sharp spikes on the fence that surrounds the property, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The south sidewalk has long been a popular place to take photos, as it offers a great view of the building’s facade. The secret service insisted that tourists will still have plenty of other locations and opportunities.</p><img alt="White House sidewalk closed permanently "src=""><p>The <i>Washington Post</i> editorial board slammed the decision in an op-ed Thursday, saying the change reflected embarrassment on the part of the secret service and was not a necessary security precaution.</p><p>“The loss this time is not just of access to a sidewalk that offered a glorious view of the White House but further erosion of the openness that is — or should be — a hallmark of American democracy,” <a href="" target="_blank">the editorial board wrote</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Flying Premium Economy Is About to Get Even Better

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 06:31
<p>There’s plenty of good news for airline passengers with big budgets, including the reveal of Delta Air Lines’ Crystal Cabin Award-winning <a href="" target="_blank">Delta One Business class suite</a> and Qatar Airways’ new <a href="" target="_blank">QSuite</a> business class experience, fit for a king and his family.</p><p>But as airlines push the upper limits of innovation, offering new <a href="" target="_blank">business class</a> cabins that outshine many first class cabins, the gap between the front of the plane and the back is widening.</p><p>Enter the happy medium of premium economy. Offering more comfort and services, this cabin is ideal for business fliers with strict corporate budgets, entrepreneurs who pay their own way, and leisure travelers who want to fly in greater comfort.</p><p>Unfortunately, not every economy upgrade is a true premium economy cabin. A number of airlines still offer some flavor of "economy plus," which will have you sitting in the same seat as everyone else, with extra legroom and a few perks.</p><p>This lack of product parity causes some problems for airlines and passengers alike, especially when alliance partners can’t match the standards of their service.</p><p>Fortunately, alliances and joint ventures between airlines are growing in influence and scope. Partners are sharing strategies to ensure that a passenger buying premium economy class with one will be happy with the product of another.</p><p>A great example of this collaboration is the recent launch of Iberia’s new premium economy.</p><p>Iberia’s IAG partner British Airways already offers a true premium economy class, which it markets as World Traveller Plus. And IAG partner American Airlines also revealed a very <a href="" target="_blank">plush premium economy cabin</a>. The pressure was on for Iberia to step up its middle-market game.</p><img alt="American Airlines expands Premium Economy to these routes "src=""><p>Passengers in this private cabin get 19-inch-wide seats with articulating headrests and leg rests, 37 inches of legroom, and a 7-inch recline. The seats are laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration, which is not uncommon in this class, but if you’re flying alone, we recommend booking early to get a window or aisle.</p><p>Even in the middle seat you’ll be more comfortable than anything the exit row in economy could offer, and you get to pass the time watching a wide range of films and programming on new 13-inch HD displays. (Folks in economy get a 9-inch screen.) Wi-Fi connectivity is available throughout the aircraft.</p><p>Upon boarding, premium economy class will get a welcome drink and the option to dine from a custom menu offered exclusively in the cabin. Amenities include noise-canceling earphones, a zipped<em> </em>necessities<em> </em>kit with basic comfort items, which will double as a nice pouch for your smartphone after you land, a generous pillow, and a fluffy blanket. Premium passengers also get priority boarding and deplaning, and allowance for an extra piece of luggage.</p><p>Iberia will install premium economy cabins on its long-haul Airbus A340-600 and A330-300 planes, and the cabin will also be featured on the new Airbus A350s, which will be added to Iberia’s fleet starting next year.</p><p>The new Iberia premium economy cabin will be available on flights to <a href="" target="_blank">Chicago</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">New York</a>, and Bogota, with service to Mexico starting in June and additional services in July and August to <a href="" target="_blank">Miami</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Boston</a>. Iberia's premium economy cabin will be the first time a mid-cabin premium product is offered on direct flights between Spain and Latin America.</p><p>“People need to first understand what premium economy is," Marco Sansavini, chief commercial director for Iberia Airlines, told <em>Travel + Leisure</em> during the reveal of Iberia’s new premium economy cabin in <a href="" target="_blank">Madrid</a>. "Some airlines simply offer the same experience, just with a bit more seat space. Premium economy is not economy with more space. It is a separate cabin. It has its own seat and its own structure of services. That is something we need to explain to consumers.”</p><img alt="Premium economy airlines "src=""><p>These American Airlines partners aren’t the only ones thinking along true premium economy lines.</p><p>Delta Air Lines followed the lead of its partner Virgin Atlantic (which has offered a <a href="" target="_blank">market-leading premium economy flying experience</a> for decades) by introducing a <a href="" target="_blank">delightful</a> premium economy experience all its own. With 38 inches of legroom, a 19-inch-wide seat, adjustable headrests and leg rests, and a 13.3-inch HD IFE screen, Delta’s premium economy gives budget-savvy travelers the VIP treatment.</p><p>Although it has introduced a stellar new <a href="" target="_blank">Polaris</a> cabin for business class passengers, <a href="" target="_blank">United Airlines</a> is still on the fence about premium economy class. That’s a shame because the other Star Alliance founders — <a href="" target="_blank">Air Canada</a>, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways — all offer premium economy cabins.</p>
Categories: Travel

While Your Grandma Learns to Text, This 62-year-old Russian Woman Is Making Her ‘World Travels’ Go Viral on Youtube

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 17:23
<p>Many of us would love to spend our days mountain climbing, swimming with tropical fish, and visiting the world's tallest skyscrapers, but <a href="" target="_blank">responsibilities and budgets</a> tend to get in the way.</p><p>Luckily, a 62-year-old woman in Saint Petersburg, Russia is coming to the rescue with <a href="" target="_blank">viral YouTube</a> tutorials showing how to use a green screen to “get away” without even leaving the house.</p><p>Tatiana Subbotina's mastery of <a href="" target="_blank">chroma key</a> techniques will not only make you appreciate her skills, but it will also make you laugh — even if you don't understand a word she's saying.</p><p>This is one of her most popular videos, with more than 388,000 views:</p><p>While living in Thailand in 2013, Subbotina made her first YouTube video, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>BuzzFeed</em></a>. She then taught herself how to use a green screen to create chroma key composites with Adobe's Premier Pro.</p><p>“So I started making stories on my YouTube channel about how I work with it. I didn’t invent anything there, but I try to explain it as simply as possible,” <a href="" target="_blank">she told <em>BuzzFeed</em></a>. “It’s very exciting and I like it.”</p><p>“Exciting” is a good word to describe her virtual adventures, which include magic carpet rides, deep sea diving, and cruising in luxury cars.</p><p>Subbotina, who the internet has dubbed “Queen of the Chroma Key,” even flaunted her skills on Russian talk show “Vecherniy Urgant.”</p><p>And though you won't get much of a tutorial out of her if you don't speak Russian, Subbotina's travels are inspiring in any language.</p>
Categories: Travel

Super-cheap Flights Are Coming to Canada

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 16:30
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Canadian</a> airline WestJet announced on Thursday its plan to launch a new ultra low-cost carrier by the end of 2017.</p><p>"As the price-sensitive consumer seeks out alternatives to what is presently available, we believe there is no better airline suited to bring [ultra low-cost carriers] to Canada than WestJet," WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>.</p><p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">28 Cheap Airlines Around the World</a></strong></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">WestJet</a> started as a discount airline serving <a href="" target="_blank">Canada</a> in 1996, and it has widely expanded in the intervening two decades, offering flights to more than 100 destinations worldwide.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The new no-frills service will launch with a fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s, the <a href="" target="_blank">Canadian Press reported</a>. As is the case with most budget airlines, passengers should read “high-density” as “no leg or elbow room.”</p><p>WestJet has not yet announced the name of the new airline, nor which destinations it will serve. The service will likely compete with NewLeaf, which offers fares under $100 between Canadian cities, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>CBC News</em></a>.</p><p>Several airlines are currently adjusting to get into the low-cost game made popular by Ryanair, easyJet, and Spirit. U.S. domestic carriers like Delta and American have introduced <a href="" target="_blank">basic economy airfares</a>, some other airlines are taking WestJet's approach of creating a new carrier. British Airways, for example, <a href="" target="_blank">recently announced LEVEL</a>.</p><p>“Our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record,” Saretsky said.</p>
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