3 Types of Flight Deals That Will Save You a Ton — and How to Spot Them

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:01
<p>Cheap flights reveal themselves in a number of ways — <a href="" target="_blank">JetBlue’s limited run flash sales</a>, $187 round-trip flights from the United States to Africa, and even as all-out airfare wars.</p><p>At <em>Travel + Leisure</em>, we’re always on the lookout for unbeatable flight deals. After all, what inspires travelers to get up and go faster than <a href="" target="_blank">$383 round-trip flights to Italy</a>?</p><p>But not all cheap flights are the same. Some are only bookable through the airline with a special promo code, while others are accidents — and can disappear even after you’ve booked them.</p><p>Whether we’ve pointed you in the direction of a great flight deal, or you’ve stumbled upon one on your own, knowing the difference between an internal promotion and an error fare can help you determine where to book, how to book, and when to start planning your vacation.</p><h2>Flash Sales</h2><p>To encourage travelers to book directly with the airline, carriers will discount flights or offer a limited number of cheap seats. Emirates, for example, regularly runs 2-for-1 sales (think: <a href="" target="_blank">$799 round-trip for two tickets to Milan</a>), while the Irish budget airline, Ryanair, might sell <a href="" target="_blank">100,000 tickets for less than $6</a>. <em><a href="" target="_blank">Thrifty Traveler</a></em> calls this your “traditional fare sale.”</p><p>Airline-sponsored sales typically have restricted travel dates, a curbed number of available seats, and rigid cut-off times for purchase.</p><p>While it’s not uncommon for airline sales to yield small savings, the promotions can occasionally be massive. In November, for example, Spirit Airlines offered <a href="" target="_blank">87.1 percent off flight bookings</a> to celebrate on-time arrivals.</p><p>Travelers who are interested in predicting airfare sales should be on the lookout during holidays (Black Friday fares are not uncommon) and make note of regular airline promotions. Every June and October, for instance, <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines runs a 72-hour sale</a>.</p><h2>Airfare Wars</h2><p>There may be no better example of a full-on airfare war than what’s happening on Hawaiian routes right now.</p><p>It started when United Airlines announced a massive route expansion to the Aloha State, offering travelers new ways to fly to Hawaii. <a href="" target="_blank">As we predicted</a>, competitors like Hawaiian Airlines were forced to drop their prices.</p><p>Since then, both <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaiian</a> and Alaska Airlines have expanded their services and lowered ticket prices. And with Southwest announcing an intention <a href="" target="_blank">to enter the Hawaiian market</a>, it’s likely flights will continue to get more affordable.</p><p>In December, flights to Hawaii dropped to $179, thanks to increased service from Hawaiian Airlines.</p><p>What’s happening in Hawaii can also take place over a much shorter period of time. <em>Thrifty Traveler</em> noted that in the event of a “share recapture,” an airline can lower ticket prices in another market to impact an airline adversary — an often localized and short-lived event — or a brief fare war in which an airline attacks another carrier’s hubs by lowering flights from those specific airports.</p><h2>Mistake Fares</h2><p>Impossible to predict and one of the most lucrative ways to save on airfare, mistake fares (sometimes called error or “fat finger” fares) are ticket prices that seem too good to be true.</p><p>Round-trip flights from the United States to Australia for $509, for example, or <a href="" target="_blank">First Class flights to London from the West Coast</a> for $1,522 round-trip are two examples of accidentally published fares.</p><p>They occur when a misplaced decimal point, miscalculated currency conversion, computer glitch, or data entry error turns a $2,594 Business Class seat into a $594 Business Class seat.</p><p><em>Thrifty Traveler</em> noted that these outrageously cheap tickets appear less frequently than ever, as airlines are increasingly cautious about preventing these accidents.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Mistake fares</a> are incredibly short-lived, because they disappear as soon as the airline notices what’s happening. And because airlines are no longer required to honor mistake fares, tickets can be canceled even after booking.</p><p>For that reason, travelers are encouraged to wait until the ticket has been issued to make any additional travel plans, like hotel or tour reservations. When an airline rescinds mistake fare tickets, they’re required to reimburse the purchase, as well as all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the traveler in confidence of the reservation.</p><p>Whether you’re looking for a squeaky-clean promotion or a once-in-a-lifetime mistake fare, follow your preferred airlines on social media, check flight deal-hunting websites like <a href="" target="_blank">Thrifty Traveler</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Scott’s Cheap Flights</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">the Flight Deal</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">the Airfare Spot</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">sign up for airfare alerts</a> with Airfarewatchdog or Hopper to see prices plummet on your favorite routes — and make sure you never miss a cheap flight of any kind.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Hotel Robots Will Carry Your Bags, Check You In, and Serve You a Drink

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 09:46
<p>Robots with jade-colored digital eyes could one day turn airports and hotels into a human-free zone.</p><p>At the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week, LG unveiled three robots for the hospitality industry whose duties include delivering meals and drinks in hotels and airports, taking luggage to guests’ rooms, and scanning items in stores.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Man Forgets Where He Parked, Finds Car 20 Years Later</a></p><p>They're part of <a href="" target="_blank">a range of concept robots</a> called CLOi (pronounced <em>KLOH-ee</em>). The unthreatening name is part of a transparent attempt to make hard robot tech seem soft and friendly, because who wants an evil-looking robot serving a cocktail?</p><p>The CLOi robots for the hospitality industry are subtly different. Designed to deliver food and drinks to travelers in hotels and airport lounges, Serving Robot has a built-in sliding tray, which it presents to the customer. CLOi wheels it back to the kitchen as soon as you've tapped its touchscreen to confirm you've got your order. Ah, the personal touch.</p><img alt="LG's CLOi personal assistant robot is displayed during CES 2018 "src=""><p>Meanwhile, the Porter Robot puts bellboys out of work first by carrying heavy luggage without expecting a hefty tip. It then performs check-in at your room, and checks you out at the end of your stay while carrying your things to a waiting car. Don’t expect much witty conversation, though it does come with voice recognition, so don’t talk down to it.</p><p>The third machine is Shopping Cart Robot, which scans items using its own barcode reader, which could be used in hotel stores and kiosks.</p><p>Serving Robot, Porter Robot, and Shopping Cart Robot follow in the footsteps of LG's Airport Guide Robot and Airport Cleaning Robot, which have been trialed at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport in Seoul.</p><img alt="A hospitality robot. "src=""><p>Whether or not travelers will like being served by robots remains to be seen, but they do have a huge advantage over the existing staff. After all, robots work 24/7, 365 days a year. (Unless <a href="" target="_blank">there's a malfunction</a>.)</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">This Robot Can Kill 99% of Germs on a Plane in 5 Minutes</a></p><p>As well as performing specific functions themselves, the CLOi robots work on LG’s ThinQ platform, so can interact with TVs, air conditioners and other compatible smart electronics. So as well as asking the Porter Robot to put your bags in the corner, you can also instruct it to switch-on the coffee machine — before giving it no tip and yelling at it to leave.</p>
Categories: Travel

Disney Will Allow Some Guests to Buy Extra FastPasses, and People Aren’t Happy About It

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:47
<p>Disney diehards know it’s not uncommon to see an astronomical 240-minute wait time posted for Animal Kingdom’s new Flight of Passage attraction, or even a substantial hour-long wait at the classic Peter Pan’s Flight. Luckily, Disney’s <a href="" target="_blank">FastPass+ system</a> has, for years, helped guests ride these attractions without the wait, allowing them to reserve ride times well in advance and enter through a special FastPass+ line, away from the crowds.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Now, however, thanks to a few recent updates to the FastPass+ system that Disney plans to implement, things in the land where dreams come true might be changing.</p><p>Beginning January 12, Disney World will allow some resort guests to purchase three extra FastPass+ selections per day for $50 per person, a Disney spokesperson confirmed to <a href="" target="_blank">Spectrum News 13</a>. The option, now in its pilot stages, will only be available to those guests staying in club level rooms and suites on property.</p><p>Club-level rooms can be found in many Disney deluxe resorts, like the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Yacht Club Resort, and also encompasses cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, bungalows at the Polynesian Village, and various suites at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels.</p><p>According to <a href="">The Kingdom Insider</a>, guests must participate in the program for a three-day minimum ($150 per person) and can only purchase one Fastpass+ per ride, but will be able to use FastPasses in more than one park per day, as well as book FastPasses 90 days in advance, as opposed to the traditional 60 days for resort guests.</p><p>While there are already claims that these extra FastPasses will NOT affect other guests’ ability to book their regular selections in the future, many Disney fans are worried about the consequences of the seemingly small change. The pilot program introduces Disney’s first foray into a “pay-to-play” system for FastPasses, offering those families who have the means to stay in Disney’s most expensive rooms to spend additional money to skip some of Disney’s lines. Many argue that now that a price has been applied to FastPass+, it can only point to a larger trend in the future, especially if the pilot program is rolled out to more guests.</p><p>Others maintain that, for now, the number of people taking advantage of the program will not cause a noticeable difference in the number of FastPasses available, especially while the program is in the pilot stages.</p><p>The idea of <a href="" target="_blank">paying to skip the lines</a> isn’t altogether new, though. Disney neighbor <a href="" target="_blank">Universal Orlando Resort</a> has been offering an Express Pass system for years, allowing guests to skip every line in the park for about $90 a day. The pass is also included with your room at some of Universal’s on-property resorts. While the option to skip the line over and over again can be well worth the money, the price is still steep, causing many fans to look at Disney’s FastPass+ as a more “fair” system.</p><p>Some Twitter users point out that Disney’s increasing hotel prices, ticket costs and (now) FastPass+ upcharges are making it less and less affordable to take an enjoyable Disney vacation. Disney day guests who do not have the luxury of booking FastPasses months in advance are also at a loss, especially if the system continues to allow for more purchasable FastPasses.</p><p>Another notable change is Disney’s recent decision to allow some neighboring hotel guests to book FastPasses and participate in Extra Magic Hours (a change from the usual system that only allows Disney resort guests to do so.) While this could allow for a more affordable trip for families who do not stay on property, it does not benefit the annual passholders who already live in the area, and could make FastPasses even more scarce.</p><p>Of course, much of this is merely conjecture for now, and only time will tell how these new policies affect Disney’s overall wait times, costs and crowds.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Stay in This Harry Potter-themed Apartment in Scotland — As Long As You're Not a Muggle

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:42
<p>“Harry Potter” fans can now stay in the apartment of their dreams — and they don’t even need to know any spells to get it.</p><p>Canongate Luxury Apartment, a deluxe “<a href="" target="_blank">Harry Potter</a>”-themed apartment located in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a master bedroom that is decorated just like a Gryffindor dormitory, including a four-poster bed with a top that gives the illusion of floating candles, gilded mirrors, old (presumably magic) books, gold and red decor and plenty of “Harry Potter”-themed knick knacks.</p><img alt="Canongate Luxury Apartment - Harry Potter Theme - Edinburgh, Scotland "src=""><p>The apartment is owned and was designed by “Harry Potter” fan Yue Gao, who has painstakingly collected objects for the apartment himself, some of which belonged to J.K. Rowling herself.</p><img alt="Canongate Luxury Apartment - Harry Potter Theme - Edinburgh, Scotland "src=""><p>“There is a desk which actually belonged to J.K. Rowling,” Gao told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Metro</em></a>. “I managed to acquire it as the furniture restorer’s son went to the same school and was in the same class as <a href="" target="_blank">J.K. Rowling</a>’s daughter.”</p><p>“I didn’t want to turn it into a cheap copy of the film, so it’s more like an homage from a huge fan rather than the copy of the movie scene,” he said. “I put my heart into it — it’s my dream realised.”</p><img alt="Canongate Luxury Apartment - Harry Potter Theme - Edinburgh, Scotland "src=""><p>Along with the gorgeous bedroom, the apartment includes a fully functional kitchen, a smaller bedroom that looks like a carriage from the Hogwarts Express and a living area that is modeled after the Gryffindor common room. Each door in the apartment is painted in honor of each Hogwarts house. Yes, even Slytherin.</p><p>To stay in the apartment of any young witch’s or wizard’s dreams, nightly rates are £150 (just over $200 USD) per night. More information on booking a stay can be found on the Canongate Luxury Apartment <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin America Flight Attendants Give the Airline an Emotional Final Farewell (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:32
<p>Thursday is <a href="" target="_blank">Virgin America’s final day</a> of operations as an independent airline.</p><p>About 10 years after the airline began operations, it will merge with and operate underneath <a href="" target="_blank">the Alaska Airlines name</a> beginning on Jan. 11.</p><p>Molly Choma, a Virgin America flight attendant who <a href="" target="_blank">photographed and filmed the airline behind the scenes</a>, created a farewell video, compiled from her nine years at the airline.</p><p>The video features flight attendants explaining why they loved working for the airline, a look inside the galley during meal service, and a test emergency evacuation training.</p><p>“We were encouraged to be the best version of ourselves, nothing less,” Choma said of the airline. “Unbeknownst to guests, the galleys were a place of refuge and vulnerability where we shared our successes and fears with teammates we’d only known for hours. We didn’t just tolerate each other, we embraced each other’s uniqueness and built a family during the good times and the bad.”</p><p>Virgin America was founded in 2004 and operated its first flight from New York to Los Angeles on August 8, 2007. In April 2016, the airline was acquired by Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion.</p><p>However this week won’t be the last time we’ll see Virgin America planes in the sky. It will take about another year for the brand to fully retire. Come Thursday, the brand will be integrated under Alaska Airlines only in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration. The Virgin America callsign (“Redwood”) <a href="" target="_blank">will be officially retired</a>.</p><p>Beginning April 25, passengers will notice a difference at the airport. On that day, the two airlines will have a merged passenger system, meaning that the flight numbers, airport check-ins, app, and website will all be under the Alaska name.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines has already begun replacing visuals</a>, including new crew uniforms, a new livery for planes, and retrofitted Alaska cabins on former Virgin America aircraft.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Flying, Autonomous Taxi Could Be Your Uber in 2 Years

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:27
<p>The public transportation of the future could look like a lot like modern luxury.</p><p>Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter revealed its prototype for a flying, autonomous taxi at the CES in Las Vegas this week.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Flying Car Concepts Coming Soon</a>
Categories: Travel

Kansas City Is Getting Its First Nonstop Transatlantic Flight — to Iceland

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:07
<p>Getting to Iceland — and from there Europe — just got easier for travelers in Kansas City.</p><p>Icelandair has announced new seasonal service from Kansas City International Airport beginning in May. The airline will offer three <a href="" target="_blank">nonstop flights</a> to Reykjavik each week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. In addition to making it much easier to get to Iceland, the new flights will offer an easy link to Europe.</p><p>“Today marks the first time in that history that Icelandair will offer nonstop flights to and from the heart of America to Iceland and beyond,” Icelandair CEO Bjorgolfur Johannsson said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. “This will not only benefit families and leisure travelers wanting to explore the world but will also open up many opportunities for business, trade and foreign relations between Europe and Kansas City.”</p><p>Flights from Kansas City to Reykjavik are estimated at about seven hours, according to Icelandair. Plus, Icelandair offers an <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland Stopover</a> for travelers to stay and explore the country for up to seven nights at no additional fare.</p><p>What better excuse for a layover than seeing glaciers and soaking in hot springs?</p>
Categories: Travel

How This Traveler Gets Paid to Tag Along on Other People's Vacations

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:01
<p>A Finnish travel blogger is now offering her services as a “personal travel assistant” for anybody who doesn’t mind paying for her company.</p><p>Henna Rinnekangas is the 32-year-old Finnish travel blogger behind <a href="" target="_blank">Whatta Wow World</a>. On Tuesday, she announced her availability as a travel companion, telling <i>Travel + Leisure </i>that she hopes to help people who need assistance traveling “make their adventures come true.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How One Woman Gets Paid to Travel the World Staying in Luxury Homes</a></p><p>“Overall, I don't think there are too many people offering this kind of service globally - so I can be a great help for the people who otherwise wouldn't be able to travel (disabled, elderly etc),” Rinnekangas told T+L.</p><p>Although the idea of a short-term traveling personal assistant or companion is not exactly new, Rinnekangas’s approach is unique: Travelers who agree to pay for everything for both themselves and the “personal assistant” will benefit from Rinnekangas’s company, experience, and planning skills. She will plan the itinerary and take care of any issues that pop up while on the road in exchange for transportation, accommodation, and food.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World, According to People Who Have Done It</a></p><p>“I really enjoy traveling but also having good conversations with different people,” Rinnekangas said. “So I thought that it would be great to combine these too. I think you always learn a lot from other people, especially when traveling with them.”</p><p>Rinnekangas began traveling in 2011 and has since visited 40 countries, including Cuba, Fiji, and Iceland. She can assist clients throughout the world in English, Finnish, German, and Swedish.</p><p>Since launching the service on Tuesday, Rinnekangas said she has already received many inquiries. “Now, I just have to start browsing them through and see what I can do for them,” she said.</p><p>Her next trip will be through Asia for 10 weeks, passing through South Korea for the <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines Flight Attendants Can Now Offer Instant Compensation In-flight — But There's a Catch

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 06:49
<p><a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> <a href="" target="_blank">flight attendants</a> will now be able to offer compensation for problems that occur while in the air.</p><p>When a passenger encounters a meal shortage, issue with seat or a broken in-flight entertainment system, flight attendants will be able to offer compensation in the form of AAdvantage Miles, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Chicago Business Journal</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The system will work on tablets that the flight attendants can carry around while on service. Through a program called iSolve, flight attendants will be able to offer concrete customer service fixes while the aircraft is flying.</p><p>The technology is already in use by American Airlines’ customer service managers, reservations agents and social media support.</p><p>In order to receive compensation in the skies, passengers must already be enrolled in the AAdvantage program. Flight attendants will only be able to credit accounts with miles and cannot offer solutions, like cash or vouchers, to those who are not members of the airline’s loyalty program.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Chicago Business Journal</em></a>, flight attendants will be able to start using the program at the end of the month.</p><p>As flight attendants receive this new technology, they are also undergoing a mandatory 12.5-hour course in “de-escalation.” <a href="" target="_blank">The new course</a> is meant to teach flight attendants how to manage crises onboard aircraft, particularly how to stop customer service confrontations <a href="" target="_blank">from being recorded and going viral online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Car Struck by Engine Part That Fell From Plane During Takeoff

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 06:40
<p>A driver in Newport Beach was shocked when a piece of a part from a plane taking off from John Wayne International Airport landed on their car.</p><p>The incident on December 29 was confirmed on Wednesday and there were no injuries, according to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>. The part was a fuel vent, “about the size of a dinner plate,” that fell on the car's hood and left a gash.</p><p>The fuel vent cover reportedly came off a United Airlines Airbus A320. The plane itself would have been about 1,000 feet in the air at the time the cover came off, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, as reported by the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. As concerning as the issue is, there is also a failsafe in case the cover comes off. In this instance, there is a valve that keeps fuel from leaking out of the plane.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why You Can’t Get Up to Go to the Bathroom Before Takeoff</a></p><p>“At United, safety is our top priority,” airline spokesman Charles Hobart said in a statement. “We are reviewing this incident internally and working with the authorities and manufacturers.”</p><p>Members of the Newport Beach community have been campaigning to <a href="" target="_blank">move airport departures</a> closer to the bay. The FAA just recently reached a tentative settlement with Newport Beach and Orange County to adjust airplane routes to reduce noise and pollution over neighborhoods, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>OC Register</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The FAA is working with United to investigate what happened.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where Every Travel Expert and Outlet Says You Should Travel in 2018

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:35
<p>With the start of a new year, many travelers have already begun making lists of their travel plans for 2018, plotting out everything from three-day weekends to off-the-grid getaways.</p><p>Travel publications and industry experts have also done the same, offering their recommendations for the best places to go this year. <em>Travel + Leisure</em> has <a href="" target="_blank">its own stellar list</a>, and along with our own recommendations, we've compiled a list of all of the top places recommended by publications and experts from <em>National Geographic</em> to <a href=";smtyp=cur" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a> to the U.S. Tour Operators Association.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure's 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018</a></p><p>To qualify for this super-list, these destinations had to be recommended at least four times. We've broken down the exact cities, national parks, and even waterfalls that will make 2018 the best year of travel yet.</p><h2>Japan</h2><p>T+L recommends the Iya Valley, which offers its turquoise Class Four rapids for adventure travelers. <em>Fodor's</em> and <em>AFAR</em> both recommend <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>, where visitors can admire the futuristic cityscape, sample sushi, and shop at some of the most unique stores around. Travelers looking for something off the beaten path should check out the Kii Peninsula, recommended by <em>Lonely Planet</em>.</p><h2>Ireland</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Dublin</a> is a great destination for book lovers, whiskey aficionados, or anyone looking for a city vacation, and <em>Fodor's</em> and <em>National Geographic</em> agree. Travelers seeking steep cliff views and charming villages should head to County Clare, <em>Frommer's</em> suggests.</p><h2>France</h2><p>France has long been one of the top destinations for tourists around the world, and 2018 is no exception. <em>Fodor's</em>, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, <em>AFAR</em>, the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Luxury Travel Agents, and DK Eyewitness Travel all agree. <em>The New York Times</em> suggests the lesser-known village of Megève in the French Alps.</p><h2>Mexico</h2><p>Despite a <a href="" target="_blank">devastating earthquake</a> in Mexico City in 2017, this country's tourism rebounded quickly, continuing to draw visitors looking to appreciate the vibrant art city in the capital or explore stunning beaches. Nine different outlets put Mexican destinations on their lists, making it tied with Australia as the top recommended place.</p><h2>Canada</h2><p>T+L's <a href="" target="_blank">Destination of the Year</a> saw love from multiple publications, particularly for its spectacular natural beauty. <em>National Geographic</em> suggested a visit to Labrador, and <em>Fodor's</em> listed Prince Edward Island as a top pick.</p><img alt="New Zealand "src=""><h2>New Zealand</h2><p>Up to 24 hours of travel time from the U.S. is not enough to deter travelers from its vast beaches, welcoming people, and abundance of wildlife. <em>Fodor's</em>, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, Luxury Travel Agents, and ABTA all agree. Adventurers can check out the mud baths in Rotorua, New Zealand, according to <em>The Times</em>.</p><h2>Argentina</h2><p>Hike in the Jujuy Province, selected by <em>National Geographic</em>, or explore the European-inspired city of Buenos Aires, as recommended by T+L, <em>Fodor's</em>, and Robb Report.</p><h2>Italy</h2><p>Italy offers something new for visitors, whether it's the first, second, or twentieth time to the country. Try Ischia (<em>Fodor's</em>), Matera (<em>Lonely Planet)</em>, or the Aeolian Islands (<em>Lonely Planet</em>),</p><h2>South Korea</h2><p>Set as the home to the <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Winter Olympics</a>, there's no better time to visit Pyeongchang. T+L, Robb Report, and <em>AFAR</em> all recommend it.</p><h2>South Africa</h2><p>Five outlets suggested South Africa for 2018 travel. <a href="" target="_blank">The country offers diverse destinations</a>, from wildlife reserves to vineyards to scenic roadtrip routes.</p><img alt="Marrakech "src=""><h2>Morocco</h2><p>T+L, Robb Report, and Fodor's all recommend <a href="" target="_blank">Marrakesh</a>, a city known for its sprawling souks, or markets. <em>Lonely Planet</em> recommended the lesser known port city of Essaouira.</p><h2>Australia</h2><p>Tied with Mexico for the top recommended place to visit, suggested activities ranged from people watching at Bondi Beach to scuba diving near the Great Barrier Reef.</p><h2>Malta</h2><p>Malta's famous <a href="" target="_blank">azure window</a> may have collapsed last year, but the island nation still has plenty to offer, and it was rated as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe.</p><h2>India</h2><p>Check out the Lahaul and Spiti districts for breathtaking mountain views, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Lonely Planet</em></a>, or head to the ancient city of Madurai, according to <em>Frommer's</em>.</p><h2>Mauritius</h2><p>The East African island of Mauritius might not yet be on your 2018 travel list, but with its waterfalls, national parks, and exotic plant gardens, it should be.</p><img alt="Mauritius "src=""><h2>Spain</h2><p>Returning visitors to Spain can explore beyond the mainstays of Madrid and Barcelona to check out Bilbao (<em>Fodor's</em>), Seville (<em>Lonely Planet</em>), or Lanzarote in the Canary Islands (<em>Lonely Planet</em>). <em>The New York Times</em> suggested Spain's wine region of Ribera del Duero, only an hour away from Madrid via high-speed train.</p><h2>China</h2><p>Visit the Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu or explore the bustling city of Shanghai. With more than 3.7 million square miles in China, you will never run out of new places to see.</p><h2>Germany</h2><p>Robb Report, <em>Lonely Planet</em>, and Frommers all suggested Hamburg, the second-largest German city. For a slower pace, travel to Bayreuth in Bavaria.</p><h2>Jordan</h2><p>Jordan remains a safe and welcoming country to visit — the perfect destination for history buffs to explore <a href="" target="_blank">Petra</a> or the lesser-known <a href="" target="_blank">Jerash</a>.</p><h2>Chile</h2><p>AFAR recommends Torres Del Paine National Park and <em>National Geographic</em> suggested the Chilean capital of Santiago.</p><img alt="Colombia "src=""><h2>U.K.</h2><p>London is an amazing destination for culture, food, and shopping, but the U.K. is much more than just London. Explore favorite filming spots from “Game of Thrones” in Belfast, or check out <a href="" target="_blank">England's Lake District</a>, per <em>Frommer's'</em> recommendation.</p><h2>Colombia</h2><p>T+L recommends the Pacific Coast for fishing villages and eco-lodges, and Bookingdotcom suggests Bogota. You can't go wrong.</p><h2>California</h2><p>The Golden State saw some of the <a href="" target="_blank">worst wildfires</a> in its history this year, with separate fires damaging the Los Angeles region as well as Northern wine country. Almost all attractions in the state have already reopened to visitors, with <a href="" target="_blank"><em>AFAR</em> suggesting a trip to Northern California's</a> wine country and T+L suggesting Big Sur among its top places to visit.</p><h2>Texas</h2><p>Head to the Lone Star State and visit Austin for BBQ and live music, or <a href="" target="_blank">San Antonio</a> for their scenic Riverwalk.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southern California Mudslides Kill 15, Trap Hundreds in Their Neighborhoods

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:12
<p>At least 15 people are dead and 160 injured after flooding rain caused powerful mudslides in Santa Barbara County.</p><p>The damage was felt most in Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara, where at least five of the deaths were reported. Homes came loose from their foundations and were “wiped away by mudflow and debris,” <a href="" target="_blank">an official told CNN</a>.</p><p>The mudslides come just a few weeks <a href="" target="_blank">after a wildfire in Santa Barbara</a> scorched <a href="" target="_blank">more than 280,000 acres of land</a> in California’s largest wildfire on record. Burn scars from the fire left parts of Santa Barbara’s hilly terrain particularly vulnerable to erosion.</p><p>The rain began shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning and fell as heavy as one inch per hour. By late afternoon, a total of five inches of rainfall was recorded in Ventura County. It was the first major rainfall in southern California’s rainy season.</p><img alt="Hydrant in California mudslide "src=""><p>However the mixture of rainwater and loosened debris quickly became a cement-like consistency, which easily slid down Santa Barbara’s hilly topography.</p><p>“You bring that down at 20 miles per hour and it can do a lot of damage,” Dr. Godt of the United States Geological Survey, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The New York Times</em></a>.</p><img alt="Evacuated Burbank, California neighborhood due to mudslide "src=""><p>"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere, with huge boulders, rocks, (downed) trees, power lines, wrecked cars,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County <a href="" target="_blank">told local KTLA news</a>. “Lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes.”</p><img alt="Interior of car destroyed by mudslide "src=""><p>On Sunday evening, Santa Barbara Country issued a mandatory evacuation order for roughly 7,000 residents in anticipation of the rain, although many chose to remain in their homes, Brown said. More than 30,000 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara were without power on Tuesday morning. At least 300 people are trapped in Montecito’s Romero Canyon neighborhood as debris blocks their way out.</p><img alt="US 101 freeway in California "src=""><p>Transportation officials expect a 30-mile portion of Highway 101 between Montecito and Santa Barbara to remain closed at least through Thursday. Weather forecasts predict clear skies through the end of the week.</p><p>Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s five-year drought in April 2017. At the end of December, meteorologists <a href="" target="_blank">spoke to the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a> about the possibility of a drier-than-normal winter season after rain failed to arrive from October through the end of the year.</p>
Categories: Travel

What to Know About the 7.6-magnitude Earthquake in the Caribbean

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:53
<p>An earthquake that registered at 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the <a href="" target="_blank">Caribbean</a> Tuesday night off the coast of Honduras.</p><p>The earthquake was one of the strongest in recent history in the region, the <a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=AP" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a>. Despite the strength of th earthquake, only minor damage has been reported so far, particularly in Honduras.</p><p>Tsunami warnings were issued for parts of the coast of Central America, as well as <a href="" target="_blank">Puerto Rico</a>, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, and other Caribbean islands, but no tsunami occurred.</p><p>In addition to Honduras, residents of Belize City and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo felt tremors, <a href="" target="_blank">NBC reported</a>.</p><p>The Caribbean is an active seismic zone, and the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in 2010 registered at a 7.0 on the Richter scale. More than a dozen earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher took place in the region in the past 500 years, according to <a href=";tid=3622&amp;cid=2430&amp;c=2" target="_blank">Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution</a>. One quake in 1946 that registered at a whopping 8.1 resulted in the deaths of 1,600 people, according to Woods Hole.</p><p>The earthquake struck as the Caribbean region continues to rebuild following a powerful hurricane season. The situation in Puerto Rico has remained dire where many people are still lacking basic supplies and medicines they need to survive following a September 2017 hurricane.</p><p>Other islands in the Caribbean saw far less damage than Puerto Rico or survived the season relatively unscathed and are urging tourists to return to the region. Places like <a href="" target="_blank">Turks and Caicos</a> and the Bahamas were welcoming visitors back to their islands just weeks after the hurricane, and islands have urged travelers to check on the specifics of their destination before canceling a trip.</p>
Categories: Travel

It Was Cold Enough in Maine to Go Ice Skating on the Beach

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:46
<p>Icy temperatures on the East Coast aren’t always bad. They can also lead to some fun winter activities in some of the most unlikely places.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Boston Globe</em></a>, a man found the perfect place to go ice skating on Sunday: Long Sands Beach, in York, Maine.</p><p>Peter and Sandra Lekousi recorded the man as the surf came to a frozen halt as it met the sandy beach. But along the shoreline was a perfectly smooth surface that made for a nice skate. Plus, there’s no worry of thin ice.</p><p>The recorded <a href="" target="_blank">lowest temperature</a> for York, Maine, was -9 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, which only goes to show that this man must have been some sort of superhuman who is impervious to cold. Sandra Lekousi noted to the <em>Globe</em> that it was “too cold for [them] to be on the beach” that day.</p><p>She also told the <em>Globe</em> that the freezing temperatures made the ocean water into “slush.” Peter jokingly said on <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, “I keep trying to tell you all, every day is a beach day in Maine.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin America Will Officially Be No More After Thursday (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 16:36
<p>It’s the end of an era in the aviation industry.</p><p>On Thursday, January 11, Virgin America pilots will call out the company’s call sign, “Redwood,” for the very last time, Alaska Airlines confirmed to <em>Travel+Leisure</em>.</p><p>The rumor of Virgin’s final flight date was first reported by <em>Airlinegeeks</em>, which noted that after Thursday both Virgin America and Alaska Airlines will fly under one call signal. To the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this makes the two airlines one.</p><p>There are still a few more steps before this airline acquisition is complete: For customers, the final day of Virgin America will come <a href="" target="_blank">April 24</a>, after which it is no longer possible to book a flight on the airline. (<a href="" target="_blank"></a> directs travelers to April 25 and after.)</p><p>There will be further changes coming to Virgin America’s fleet of planes. That, <a href="" target="_blank">AirlineGeeks</a> theorized, will include the planes being fitted with the Alaska livery and the carrier’s next three Airbus A321neo deliveries will feature special paint schemes. However, as the Alaska Airlines spokesperson told <em>Travel+Leisure</em>, it will take “some time for the fleet to all get updated paint.”</p><p>But one plane, N925VA, has already left the factory in Hamburg with the airline’s new colors. It arrived in Miami on December, 2, where it was fitted with new decals that read “Most West Coast.” That line is apparently a tribute to the Alaska’s growing West Coast presence.</p><p>The exterior of the planes won’t be the only thing changing. In March, 2017 Alaska <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that it will be keeping a few of Virgin’s creature comforts, including its in-flight entertainment. Alaska plans to expand meal pre-ordering to the Airbus fleet and to economy class as well. But Alaska also plans to shorten the seat pitch in first class to add in more seats. Now, ex-Virgin planes will have 12 rather than 8 first class seats, which will no longer be deep-reclining.</p><p>As for <a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson’s take on his brand’s demise</a>, he seemed <a href="" target="_blank">none too pleased</a> in October when he appeared on <a href="" target="_blank">CNBC</a>'s “Squawk Box” and said: “I think Alaska is very foolish to just absorb it.”</p><p>Though, he did also cryptically add, “Watch this space...I don't normally take these things lying down.” So maybe Virgin America, or at least the idea behind it, isn’t gone forever.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines' Controversial Uniforms Are Finally Getting a Makeover

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:06
<p>Five months after American Airlines employees filed a lawsuit over their uniforms, the airline announced that Lands’ End will design a new version.</p><p>After American Airlines introduced its new uniforms in September 2016 (<a href="" target="_blank">the first update in almost 30 years</a>), more than 5,000 flight attendants filed complaints that the clothing was making them sick. Complaints ranged from <a href="" target="_blank">rashes to severe headaches to difficulty breathing</a>.</p><p>American Airlines announced in June that it would not renew its contract with Twin Hill, the company that produced the clothing, and offered flight attendants the option to wear an alternative uniform. In August, two flight attendants filed a federal lawsuit against Twin Hill, asking the company to recall the uniforms.</p><p>After months of back and forth with union leaders, the airline announced Tuesday that it has chosen <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Lands’ End</a> to produce the new uniforms.</p><p>"Now that the supplier is chosen, core members of the uniform committee and union leaders will shift their focus to fabric and color choices," the airline said in a letter to employees, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>CNN Money</em></a>.</p><p>Lands’ End, which already provides the uniforms for Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines, will soon begin designing the new American Airlines garments. <a href="" target="_blank">About 1,000 employees</a> in different roles and locations will begin testing the new uniforms in October. If the tests are successful, the new uniforms will roll out to 51,000 American Airlines employees in 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

Milan Is Opening a Boutique That Makes Custom Couture for Dogs

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Milan</a> is one of the fashion capitals of the world. And it’s no longer just for humans.</p><p>A new boutique will open later this month in the Italian city where fashion-conscious dog owners can purchase custom couture outfits for their well-heeled, four-legged companions.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Hotel Offers Puppy Cuddles on Demand</a></p><img alt="Italian designer Giovanna Temellini designed a line of clothing "Dog-à-Porter" dedicated to dogs. "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Temellini Dog a Porter</a> is the creation of Giovanna Temellini, a fashion designer and supporter of animal welfare groups. Over her 25-year career, Temellini has worked for fashion houses like Bottega Veneta and Armani, but last year, she turned her attention to canine customers.</p><p>After Temellini’s daughter complained that her dog’s ears got wet every time it rained, the designer set out to create a canine clothing line that could be tailored to fit each individual dog client. The Dog a Porter collection sprung from this first hooded coat.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">These Customized Swimsuits Are Perfect for When You Miss Your Pet on Vacation</a></p><p>For each piece, dogs come in for a measurement to ensure the clothing will fit properly.</p><p>The canine clothing currently for sale online ranges from $169 for <a href="" target="_blank">a cashmere t-shirt</a> to $334 for a <a href="" target="_blank">striped cashmere blanket</a>. Owners can match their dogs with human coats and shirts as well.</p><p>At the atelier, Dog a Porter creations are tested by Temellini’s three dogs: two Afghan hounds named Ulisse and Anubi, and a mixed dog named Willy.</p><img alt="Italian designer Giovanna Temellini designed a line of clothing "Dog-à-Porter" dedicated to dogs. "src=""><p>"I am very respectful and attentive to all the requirements of dogs which are to be able to move, run, get dirty and socialize,” Temellini <a href="" target="_blank">told Agence France Presse</a>. "I refuse to do something that would restrict or ridicule a dog, because they'll be aware of it."</p><p>Temellini Dog a Porter will open in Milan on Jan. 15.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Gorgeous, Giant Lily Pads Are Back 10 Years After Everyone Thought They Went Extinct

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:39
<p>Gigantic lily pads have reappeared in a Paraguayan lagoon after disappearing for more than 10 years.</p><p>The impressive lily pads, which can reach a diameter of more than five feet, <a href="" target="_blank">have not been seen since 2006</a> when they were listed as endangered. But they reappeared this year in the Salado River, a tributary of the Paraguay River, in a small town called Piquete Cue.</p><img alt="Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018. "src=""><p>The town has started offering boat rides to tourists up the river to get up close to the enormous lily pads. The lily pads have a pink and white flower in the center that <a href="" target="_blank">blooms only for 48 hours at a time</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The World’s Biggest Flower Garden Sits in the Middle of a Desert</a></p><p>Known as <i>victoria cruziana</i>, the lily pads were believed to have disappeared due in part to dredging and tourists fishing them out of the water.</p><img alt="Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018. "src=""><p>"I have lived in the area since I was a child. The neighbours and I thought the plant had already become extinct, but it has returned," a local named <a href="" target="_blank">Antonio Benítez told the Associated Press</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Village Has Been Covered in Flower Paintings Since the 19th Century</a></p><p>Locals refer to the plants as “alligator liles” because their enormous size is large enough to hide an alligator underneath. In the past, they have used it as <a href="" target="_blank">a cure for asthma or breathing problems</a>. But because of the plants’ endangered status, anybody caught trying to harvest the plant will be fined.</p><p><i>Take </i>Travel + Leisure<i>'s <a href="" target="_blank">World's Best Awards survey</a> for the chance to win a $10,000 dream trip.</i></p>
Categories: Travel

Why Passengers Prefer the Right Side of the Plane

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:30
<p>Forget the debate between aisle and window seat. The newest question concerning <a href="" target="_blank">seat selection</a> is over passengers' preference of a side of the plane.</p><p>Air travelers tend to prefer the right side of a plane, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a small study</a> led by a psychology lecturer at Queen Margaret University and carried out at the University of Edinburgh.</p><p>Dr. Stephen Darling led a group that surveyed some 32 people as to their seating preferences. All of the participants were right-handed, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a> (a detail that is not surprising given the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">70-95 percent of the population</a> is right-handed).</p><p>The researchers changed the orientation of the seating diagram to rule out a preference for a side of the screen and found that participants overwhelmingly still chose the right side of the plane.</p><p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, <a href="" target="_blank">people also favored seats</a> toward the front of the aircraft and those that were not in the <a href="" target="_blank">middle of an aisle</a>.</p><p>"The result clearly showed that the orientation of the plane made no difference to the preference, with most participants still making an active choice to choose seating on the right of the plane," Sergio Della Sala, a member of the research team, told BBC.</p><p>“The research shows that people’s preference as to which side they sit on in an airplane is dictated by our mind’s rightward bias in representing the real world,” Darling added.</p><p>A rightward bias has been demonstrated in other studies stretching back decades. <a href=";pg=PA306&amp;lpg=PA306&amp;dq=mind%27s+rightward+bias&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=4NBzgJrPnI&amp;sig=3IFTOA7P1f5wJFBko5kKlevvRNk&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwip5Pe72cvYAhUJ6GMKHeohA2cQ6AEISTAH#v=onepage&amp;q=mind's%20rightward%20bias&amp;f=false" target="_blank">A study in 1978</a> for instance asked passersby to choose between four pairs of identical nylons or four identical nightgowns. They overwhelmingly chose the objects that were on the right side of a department store window, justifying their choice by saying that it was of higher quality, not knowing that the objects were in fact the same.</p>
Categories: Travel

How I Plan to Keep Traveling After Losing My Job

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:16
<p>In 2017, we bodysurfed in <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>, ogled the crown jewels in London, crooned under the <a href="" target="_blank">Eiffel Tower</a>, and stuffed our faces in New York.</p><p>At the end of the year, I got laid off from my job.</p><p>Money was my first concern. My husband had only recently landed a new job, and we’d already significantly dented our savings that year. We have a mortgage, a car payment, and health insurance. There was never much room for luxury purchases, and what we did consider spare cash always went toward our travel budget.</p><p>I’m the kind of person who gets antsy without vacation plans — even if they exist in the distant future, and even if they’re only a short road trip away. The best advice I’ve ever received is to book my next trip <a href="" target="_blank">immediately after returning from my most recent</a>, during that brief period of sublime exhaustion and wonder at what I’ve just experienced. A month ago, when I got the news about my layoff as staff writer at a <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco</a> media startup, I felt literally trapped in place.</p><p>But after a week of panicking and processing, I remained determined. No stranger to budget travel, I am a firm believer that modest travel plans are never a bad investment. There’s too much to learn and too many new people to meet to ever regret it.</p><p>Here’s how I plan to pull it off, while staying ahead of my finances and my sanity, in 2018.</p><h2>Plan necessary travel first.</h2><p>I try not to discriminate when it comes to fun trips, but the fact is, some are mandatory. My best friend’s wedding? A given. My overdue promise to visit my aunt? Very important.</p><p>The first thing I did when assessing my budget is to map out all the travel I’d committed to the following year and calculate how much I’d already paid toward it. Thankfully, I’d already booked an Airbnb and made plans to carpool. I realized I had more outings to look forward to than I initially thought, at a time when I seemed doomed to my house forever — or at least, until I found a job.</p><h2>Check airline miles and use them (smartly).</h2><p>The month before I got laid off, I got a warning from <a href="" target="_blank">United</a> that my <a href="" target="_blank">airline miles would expire</a> the following April. I had a built-in excuse to travel, or otherwise lose those rewards. After a quick search, I discovered that by keeping my dates flexible and flying during off-peak hours, I could use those points to book a round-trip flight, from <a href="" target="_blank">Sacramento</a> to Seattle, for free. And once I get to the rainy city, I have the option of crashing on at least two couches.</p><p>With my leftover miles, or those I managed to rack up on my credit card, I should have enough for one more domestic flight. I’m thinking <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville</a>.</p><h2>Crash with friends and work from everywhere.</h2><p>Couch-surfing isn’t just a ploy for saving money. Almost immediately after I was disconnected from my coworkers, staff meetings, and everyday office chatter one takes for granted, I felt really lonely. The isolation of unemployment is real.</p><p>This year, I plan to take advantage of offers to crash with friends and family, because staying social is key to lifting my spirits and getting me out of my bubble. In that way, travel is truly therapeutic and further proves my investment theory.</p><p>Secondly, I made a goal to get creative with my work environments. Although I’m not on anyone’s payroll just yet, applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. And did I mention I <a href="" target="_blank">started a business, too</a>? For the latter, it’s crucial that I get to know my community, which means being proactive about coffee meetings, striking up conversations with fellow entrepreneurs, attending free seminars, and — gasp — networking. I would never have lumped networking and travel together, until I suddenly felt cooped up and broke. Now it’s more than tolerable; it’s actually enjoyable.</p><h2>Rediscover local offerings — and blog about it.</h2><p>Consider it a new spin on the staycation. I recently moved back to my hometown of <a href="" target="_blank">Sacramento</a>, California, and it’s alarming how much has changed. Either that, or I have. Ever since the Bay Area got too expensive, people have discovered all that Sacramento has to offer: an inspiring arts scene, farm-to-fork menus, heaps of outdoor activities, and much more.</p><p>I scour local magazines for free or low-cost activities, then I bring my camera and start talking to people. Being able to say you’re a writer helps, but pro tip: Many people will talk to you or pose for a photo these days if you have an Instagram presence. Just be transparent about your intentions. Consider Instagram your new “blog.” Along with photos and video, followers respond to longer, insightful, and authentic captions. Bonus if they help people learn insider tips, such as an off-menu item at a local restaurant.</p><h2>Take work trips and get the tax deduction.</h2><p>One of the amazing things about being self-employed is the freedom of schedule. Yes, freelance writing is a hustle but I can do it from virtually anywhere. While I can’t necessarily write that travel off on my taxes, I am discovering the perks of traveling for a small business. Recently, a friend asked to book my services (a video interview of her 96-year-old grandma) in Minneapolis. My travel there for business would be <a href="" target="_blank">tax deductible</a>. Additional sightseeing is not covered, but hey, it’s a trip!</p><h2>Don’t be afraid to go off the grid.</h2><p>Last week, I made a to-do list for myself. My tasks quickly overwhelmed me. By the time my husband got home from work, I had plans to answer emails until I fell asleep on the keyboard. He calmly suggested I head to a yoga class instead, to set aside time for myself so I didn’t burn out. (This is why I married him.)</p><p>Go to yoga I did, whereupon I felt immediately calmer. I intend to apply this philosophy to regular travel intervals in the new year. Luckily, unplugging, while a luxury few can spare, can and should be inexpensive. For me, it means camping in one of California’s stunning state parks, hiking around Lake Tahoe, dipping into natural hot springs, or joining small, bohemian travel groups — anything from music festivals to women’s biker retreats. I know, I know. It’s all <em>very</em> California.</p><p>I might not be stamping my passport soon, but travel is in my near future. Incidentally, I’m falling back in love with my local community in 2018.</p><p>And with any luck, I’ll be back in <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a> before the tourists discover that quaint café tucked into a dusky alleyway. Until then, I’ll never tell.</p>
Categories: Travel