The 'Bomb Cyclone' Looks Absolutely Massive From Space

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 17:15
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Winter Storm Grayson</a>, also known as the “bomb cyclone,” made its way up the East Coast on Thursday, leaving a trail of snow, whiteout conditions, and thousands of homes without power.</p><p>The extent of the snow storm’s widespread impact is clear with a visualization from space. Images of <a href="" target="_blank">Winter Storm Grayson’s path</a> taken Thursday morning showing just how massive the so-called "bomb cyclone" really is.</p><p>Winter Storm Grayson brought snow as far south as Florida, where Tallahassee saw its first snow in 28 years and some Orlando theme parks like Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld <a href="" target="_blank">closed parts of their attractions</a> because of the lower temperatures the storm brought. </p><img alt=" "src=""><p>As Winter Storm Grayson headed up the coastal South and into the Mid-Atlantic and New England on Thursday morning, tens of thousands of residents in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia lost electricity as a result of the storm, <a href="" target="_blank">according to CNN.</a> In New England, Grayson is expected to turn into an all-out blizzard that could dump a foot of snow along with 40 to 60 mile per hour wind gusts. <a href="" target="_blank">Thousands of flights have been canceled</a> across the country because of the storm, with most cancellations coming from East Coast airports in New Jersey, Boston, and New York City.</p><p>At least 16 people have died in weather-related accidents as a result of the storm, CNN reported, while several governors declared a state of emergency in affected counties in response to Winter Storm Grayson.</p><p>New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who issued the warnings in New York City, Westchester and Long Island, said in a tweet Thursday: “This is not a normal storm. If you do not have to be on the roads, don't be. Use caution and stay safe.”</p><p>The storm is particularly strong because of a weather phenomenon known as "bombogenesis," a system that undergoes rapid strengthening within 24 hours.</p><p>Grayson is expected continue to hammer the Northeast throughout Thursday until it dissipates by the following day.</p>
Categories: Travel

How Cold It Would Have to Be to Keep Your Plane From Flying

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 16:14
<p>With much of the country in the midst of a deep freeze, travelers may be wondering how cold it has to be for <a href="" target="_blank">the severe weather</a> to foil upcoming travel plans. But it isn't the cold that's a problem for most aircraft.</p><p>After all, commercial airplanes can cruise at an altitude of nearly 40,000 feet, where temperatures hover around -70 degrees Fahrenheit.</p><p>Jet fuel freezes at around -40 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will work just fine as long as it’s kept above that temperature on the ground. Once the plane is moving, the fuel is heated as it passes through the engine — and crew members carefully monitor fuel temperatures during flight.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">What Should I Do if My Flight is Canceled Due to Weather?</a></p><p>In fact, airplanes are more efficient in low temperatures, as cold air is denser than warm air. That typically means shorter, faster takeoffs and better performance. There is one major challenge with cold weather, however, and that's the accompanying ice and snow.</p><p>“If ice or snow builds [on] critical surfaces, it will change the pattern of airflow over those surfaces,” Seth Laskin, a former aircraft deicer at Philadelphia International Airport, told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“Wings, for instance,” Laskin said, “are very specific shapes — and even a little bit of frost can decrease the efficiency of the wing, leading to longer takeoff rolls and a higher stall speed.”</p><p>That’s why airplanes must be carefully cleaned and protected during inclement winter weather. In the event of a snowstorm, for example, deicers can treat an airplane’s wings with a special, heated anti-freeze mixture.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How Airplanes Stay in the Air</a></p><p>After a wing is clear of accumulation, it can be sprayed with another anti-freeze product designed to sheer off at take-off — and in the skies, jet wings are heated with bleed air from the engines.</p><p>At that point, Laskin noted, snow won’t accumulate because of the speed.</p><p>While small planes, like private jets, may not be equipped to deal with extreme icing conditions, commercial jets can typically fly fast enough to avoid build-up during flight. Certain aircraft may also be outfitted with anti-icing features like heated leading edges on the wings and pores that secrete glycol.</p><p>Of course, cold and wet winter weather can still lead to flight delays and cancellations.</p><p>Even though airplanes can fly just fine when they're properly deiced, that process can take some time (sometimes an hour or more, depending on the size of the aircraft and rate of accumulation). And severe weather can also impact a number of other critical factors at the airport, like tarmac conditions and air traffic control visibility.</p><p>As Winter Storm Grayson brings blizzard conditions across the Northeast, <a href="" target="_blank">more than 3,000 flights have already been cancelled</a>. As <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> reported,</a> severe weather can keep ground crew, like baggage handlers and ramp workers, from spending more than 15 minutes at a time outside, and the equipment used to pump jet fuel can freeze, leading to delays in refueling aircraft.</p>
Categories: Travel

More Than 3,000 Flights Cancelled As Winter Storm Grayson Descends on the East Coast

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 15:33
<p>Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights as an <a href="" target="_blank">intense winter storm</a> swept along the East Coast Thursday.</p><p>Forecasters have called Winter Storm “Grayson” a “bomb cyclone,” as its steep drop in pressure helped create winds gusting at as high as 50 miles per hour.</p><p>More than 3,000 flights have been cancelled within the U.S., as of Thursday morning, according to flight tracking website <a href="" target="_blank">FlightAware</a>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Airports in New Jersey, Boston, and New York City saw the highest number <a href="" target="_blank">cancelled flights</a> — those areas are seeing snowfalls of 1-3 inches per hour, <a href="" target="_blank">ABC News reported</a>. Boston weather was anticipated to be particularly severe, with up to 18 inches of snow predicted, according to the National Weather Service. Despite their high rates of cancellations, major airports in the Northeast remained open Thursday.</p><p>Several airlines began cancelling flights Wednesday in preparation for the storm. By Wednesday night, 90 percent of flights out of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, 70 percent of flights out of Newark Liberty Airport, and 20 percent of flights out of JFK had already been cancelled, according to a tweet from LaGuardia airport.</p><p>Southern cities were not immune from the winter storm. Charleston, South Carolina, saw the hightest accumulation of snow since 1989, and power outages were experienced statewide, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Post and Courier</em> reported</a>. Savannah Hilton Head airport in Georgia closed Wednesday and remained closed Thursday, according to local news outlets.</p><p>Passengers should check directly with their carrier before heading to the airport, as most major domestic carriers began issuing travel waivers earlier this week in anticipation of the storm. Travelers can see a <a href="" target="_blank">full list of the waiver details</a> before planning their itinerary.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Most Wallet-friendly Destinations in 2018, According to KAYAK

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 14:01
<p>Whether your New Year's <a href="" target="_blank">resolutions</a> include travel or not, January is a great — <a href="" target="_blank">if not the greatest</a> — time to plan and book a trip (or twelve).</p><p>Travel search engine KAYAK launched its 2018 Travel Hacker Guide on Thursday, highlighting the top destinations this year as well as offering tips for getting the best deals. Among the tips: January has the cheapest days to fly, based on <a href="" target="_blank">2017 data</a>, both domestically ($143) and internationally ($543).</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Here Are 365 Beaches — One for Every Day in 2018</a></p><p>And when it comes to booking, consider doing so a month before domestic flights (including the Caribbean), three months before travel to Asia, and six months before travel to Europe, <a href="" target="_blank">according to KAYAK</a>. (But <a href="" target="_blank">read this first</a> if you're planning a trip.)</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>As for where to go in 2018, there are <a href="" target="_blank">so many great destinations</a>. But when it comes to wallet-friendly places to get away, KAYAK has a few insights that could inspire your next trip. Because traveling doesn't have to mean <a href="" target="_blank">blowing your budget</a>. Here are 10 options that won't destroy your new year's resolution to be financially responsible. </p><h2>10. Baltimore, Maryland</h2><p>For just a few reasons to visit Baltimore, read about <a href="" target="_blank">how Charm City quietly became the coolest city on the East Coast</a>.</p><h2>9. Minneapolis, Minnesota</h2><p>While travel to this half of the Twin Cities will likely not be wallet-friendly at the beginning of February, when the Super Bowl pays a visit, the rest of the year is a great time to enjoy Minneapolis on a budget.</p><h2>8. Salt Lake City, Utah</h2><img alt="Wallet-friendly destinations in 2018. "src=""><p>Salt Lake City is a gateway to amazing skiing in the winter, and to some of the nation's most awe-inspiring natural wonders all year round.</p><h2>7. Tampa, Florida</h2><p>Tampa is the first of three cities in Florida to make KAYAK's list. While Tampa may currently be looking at a potential freeze as <a href="" target="_blank">a cold snap hits the country</a>, it's typically a mild climate for a great southern escape.</p><h2>6. Fort Myers, Florida</h2><p>Enjoy some warm weather and <a href="" target="_blank">eat some great food</a> in this Florida destination.</p><h2>5. Denver, Colorado</h2><p>The former railroad town is now <a href="" target="_blank">much, much more</a>. Enjoy a craft beer from one of the local breweries or a concert under the stars at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.</p><h2>4. Raleigh, North Carolina</h2><p>North Carolina's capital has art, delicious food, and a great music scene.</p><h2>3. Orlando, Florida</h2><p>The family entertainment capital isn't just for theme park lovers. KAYAK recommends the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, which features “dynamic art exhibitions that focus on honoring African-American artists.”</p><h2>2. Calgary, Canada</h2><p>The cheapest times to book a flight to Canada last year were about three months out, and the cheapest average hotel rates are from <a href="" target="_blank">November through May</a>.</p><h2>1. Guadalajara, Mexico</h2><img alt="Wallet-friendly destinations in 2018. "src=""><p>KAYAK suggests looking at flights to this amazing destination six months ahead of time to save money (based on last year's data). Hotel rates are cheapest from December through May, with the cheapest averages in January.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Are the Airlines to Fly If You Want to Arrive on Time

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:25
<p>Unsurprisingly, if you want an on-time flight, you should probably <a href="" target="_blank">go to Japan</a>.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">a new report from the Official Airline Guide</a> (OAG), this year’s best mega airlines for on-time international travel are Japan Airlines, with an on-time performance of 85.27 percent, and All Nippon Airways, with an on-time performance of 83.81 percent.</p><p>Japan also has the world’s most punctual mega airport. Flights that leave out of Tokyo Haneda airport leave on time 86.75 percent of the time. The country also took top honors for most punctual “large” airport, with Osaka's on-time performance at 88.45 percent.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">New Service in Japan Will Deliver Your Luggage Wherever You Need on the Cheap</a></p><p>Around the entire world, U.S. airlines performed relatively well. Of the top 20 most punctual mega airlines in the world, six were from the United States. <a href="" target="_blank">Delta Air Lines</a> ranked the highest of American airlines, with an on-time performance of 82.76 percent.</p><p>However, once all airlines are taken into consideration (no matter their size), only Delta remains in the top 20, as the 16th most punctual airline in the world. airBaltic, the Latvian airline, takes top honors with an on-time performance of 90.01 percent. Hawaiian Airlines climbed into third place, with 87.24 percent of flights leaving on time.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">How to Know If Your Flight Will Be Delayed Before It's Even Announced</a></p><p>In terms of airports, runners up for largest and most punctual were Madrid (on-time performance of 83.63 percent) and Atlanta (with flights on time 82.38 percent of the time). Minneapolis-St. Paul is the world’s most punctual major airport, with 85.72 percent of flights arriving and leaving on time.</p>
Categories: Travel

Man Accused of Groping Flight Attendant Claims Reverse Discrimination: 'What About Us Guys?'

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:55
<p>A male passenger who was accused of touching a female flight attendant’s buttocks was escorted off the flight and consequently banned from flying Alaska Airlines.</p><p>But he is claiming the incident is evidence of “reverse discrimination against men.”</p><p>After the incident on Dec. 26, San Diego resident Mike Timon said: “For me to be accused of this, and for me to be escorted off the plane by police? This is it. I’m blowing up... It’s unnecessary. It’s discrimination toward me.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Your Flight Attendant Probably Likes You Better Than the First Class Passengers</a></p><p>According to a male flight attendant, Timon had been cut off from being served alcohol on the flight. Timon, however, claims he was “100 percent sober.”</p><p>As for the female flight attendant he allegedly groped, Timon claims he only “politely patted her on the back” in order to order a drink. Apparently, he was not served.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Union-Tribune</a></em>, no charges have been filed against Timon. In the meantime, Alaska Airlines said it will be updating its policies on training personnel on handling incidents of sexual harassment and assault on flights.</p><p>“Alaska Airlines will not tolerate any type of sexual misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and crew members, and we are fully committed to do our part to address this serious issue,” Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson told the <em>Union-Tribune</em>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Sexual harassment against flight attendants is rampant in the airline industry, according to Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, who <a href="" target="_blank">called the situation an “epidemic.”</a></p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why Can’t Flight Attendants Accept Tips?</a></p><p>Currently, many airlines lack clear-cut policies and training to prevent and handle situations of harassment and assault on flights, especially for flight attendants who don’t want to put their jobs in jeopardy. According to one flight attendant who spoke to <em><a href="" target="_blank">HuffPost</a></em>, “They’re not going to stop the plane. And then everyone’s going to be mad at you; you’re not a team player, you’re difficult.”</p><p>At the moment, Timon is contemplating filing a lawsuit against the airline. “What about us guys? I can’t tap a flight attendant on her back to politely ask for something, yet I get accused of something? It’s out of control and I am pissed,” he said.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 30% on a Three-night Winter Getaway in Mexico

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:34
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Mexico: 30 percent off <a href="" target="_blank">the Ventus at Marina El Cid</a>, a recently opened oceanfront resort between Playa del Carmen and Cancun where suites can be up to 2,854 square feet. The amenities include two infinity pools and a spacious spa.</p><p>The Winter Getaway in Mexico includes:</p><p>*Three nights in a Junior suite</p><p>*Meals and beverages</p><p>*Platinum Club privileges, which includes VIP check-in; a welcome fruit basket and wine bottle, pillow menu, butler service, and chocolate-covered strawberries</p><p>*A private romantic dinner on the beach</p><p>*A hydrotherapy session for two</p><p>Original Price: From $688 per night per couple, all-inclusive</p><p><strong>T + L Price:</strong> From $482 per night per couple, all-inclusive; book by February 28, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: <a href="" target="_blank">Book online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Your Disney MagicBand Might Soon Make Your Hotel Stay a Lot Cooler

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:32
<p>When Disney’s latest rumored enhancement is ready, it won’t be arriving at <a href="" target="_blank">Cinderella Castle</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Fantasyland</a>, or Epcot. Instead, it’ll come right to your vacation’s front door. According to <a href="" target="_blank">Viral Disney</a>, the Florida theme park resort will begin using bluetooth technology with MagicBands at two of its hotels to allow hotel room doors to open automatically.</p><p>Previously, the powerful digital wristband, which also works as a key card, would be held against a digitized doorknob to open each hotel room door. Now, doors will sense the MagicBand nearby and instantly unlock — a seamless enhancement that, if rumors are true, will be rolled out across both Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort &amp; Spa this month.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>But the seconds-saving enhancement outside hotel rooms isn’t what has us most excited about this change — it’s what else this potential shift could mean. The powerful digital wristband, which can additionally replace credit cards and physical park tickets, is popular for its ease among <a href="" target="_blank">Walt Disney World</a> guests.</p><p>MagicBands have always been Bluetooth-enabled, as they’re powered by an RFID chip that sends short-range and long-range communication throughout the parks, but Disney potentially changing how MagicBands are used at a main point of contact five years after their inception is likely a larger sign of updates to come. One can only assume that if Disney parks are indeed starting small with these enhancements, other Bluetooth-powered changes may be in store for experiences throughout Florida’s four theme parks and Disney’s many resort hotels.</p><p>Pricing for MagicBands <a href="" target="_blank">starts at $12.99</a>, but they are complimentary for guests with a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation. When used in conjunction with <a href="" target="_blank">My Disney Experience</a>, Disney’s digital vacation planning tool, the wristbands may also be used to access FastPass+ reservations, link photos taken by <a href="" target="_blank">Disney Photopass</a> photographers to one’s online account, and trigger small surprises throughout the park.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Demand to Clear Streets of Beggars Before the Royal Wedding Is Causing a Big Uproar

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:24
<p>With the <a href="" target="_blank">royal wedding months away</a>, politicians in the United Kingdom are disputing whether to clear homeless people and beggars from the streets of Windsor before thousands of people descend on the town for <a href="" target="_blank">the ceremony</a>.</p><p>The controversial debate began when Simon Dudley, the council leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, called on police to crackdown on the homeless population before <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at Windsor Castle on May 19</a>.</p><p>In December, Dudley said on Twitter that “there is an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy” in Windsor.</p><p>His statements have received mixed responses from other United Kingdom officials, namely Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the U.K.’s conservative party.</p><p>May said she disagreed with Dudley’s comments, adding that the council should work to provide accommodations for those who are homeless, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a>. “Where there are issues of people who are aggressively begging on the streets then it’s important that council work with the police to deal with that aggressive begging,” she added. May is Maidenhead’s Member of Parliament.</p><p>In <a href="" target="_blank">a letter</a> to the police and crime commissioner of the Thames Valley Police, Dudley pointed to “aggressive begging and intimidation in Windsor” and noted initiatives in the Royal Borough of providing for the homeless people in their town with housing. Dudley claimed the beggars were either not homeless or were those who may be homeless and are rejecting accommodations provided to them.</p><p>“Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the Royal Wedding in 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety,” he wrote. “The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavorable light.”</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Thames valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, whom Dudley sent the letter to, told the BBC that homeless individuals are “very vulnerable” and battle mental health issues. “It’s not as easy as putting them in a police van and dumping them in Southall or somewhere,” he said, according to the BBC. “it’s much more complicated than that.”</p><p>Other critics of Dudley’s argument did not agree with the reasoning for his concern.</p><p>“If somebody is sleeping out on the street they are not there by choice; they are there because something has gone wrong,” Murphy James, manager of the <a href="" target="_blank">Windsor Homeless Project</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a><a href="" target="_blank"> BBC</a>. He also told the BBC raising the issue because of the upcoming Royal Wedding was “sickening.”</p>
Categories: Travel

These Dogs in Boots Hate Winter Way More Than You Do

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:18
<p>This week’s snow may be rough — but at least you’re not a dog.</p><p>Not only must our four-legged companions deal with cold temperatures, they have the added challenge of trying to navigate the snowy terrain in new footwear.</p><p>And humans don’t always understand that dogs need the proper-sized footwear before they go on their walks.</p><iframe frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="480"></iframe><p>Some dogs begin to prance like reindeer once they don their booties.</p><p>Although the boots may protect dogs from snow and ice, some still choose to howl about it.</p><p>Some dogs can get the walk half-right.</p><p>And some just downright refuse the whole charade.</p><p>Although there are some dogs that don’t seem to mind their funny new snow shoes.</p><p>The funny walk is most likely because <a href="" target="_blank">dogs use the pads of their feet for balance</a>. The fabric of a bootie is a foreign sensation for dogs, but one to which they generally quickly adjust.</p><p>“Dog whisperer” <a href="" target="_blank">Cesar Milano recommends slowly acclimating</a> dogs to the booties (preferably with video evidence for the rest of the internet) before taking them on their first walk outdoors.</p>
Categories: Travel

J.K. Rowling Officially Has Her Own Pub in Scotland

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:14
<p>A 150-year-old <a href="" target="_blank">Scottish</a> pub named for the famed author and <i>Sherlock Holmes</i> creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle just got a surprising facelift to honor another U.K.-born author.</p><p>The Conan Doyle, located in Edinburgh, rebranded this week, now titling itself The <a href="" target="_blank">J.K. Rowling</a>. The gold lettering on the front of the pub has changed to reflect the renaming, and a hanging wooden sign above the door now sports a painting of Rowling eating pub food, rather than its previous portrait of Doyle. </p><p>Fans of the timeless mystery author need not get up in arms over the change, though. The move is only a temporary one, <a href="" target="_blank">honoring Rowling</a> as a part of Edinburgh's 2018 Hogmanay celebration, which honors the new year. The area’s history is being commemorated through short story installations and projections on some of the city’s most iconic buildings, allowing literature fans to walk the streets listening to tales from writers of Scotland’s past and present. The Conan Doyle’s facelift is part of this event and highlights the magical work of Rowling, who wrote much of her best-selling <i>Harry Potter </i>series at the nearby cafe <a href="" target="_blank">The Elephant House</a> in Edinburgh.</p><p>Although the name and signage changes will only remain through Jan. 25, fans of the beloved local pub and Conan Doyle were still confused and annoyed by the sudden alterations. Some have taken to social media to share their questions and frustrations, or at least to wonder how the changes happened “as if by magic.”</p><p>While some may find the quick author switch a bit of a conundrum, countless Potter fans are bound to flock to the location to honor the writer of the wizarding book series during the month of January.</p>
Categories: Travel

Distance From Earth to Moon Revealed in Striking New NASA Picture

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:02
<p>Given the infinite size of the Universe, Earth's natural satellite is its cosmic next-door neighbor, as shown by <a href="" target="_blank">this image</a> from <a href="">NASA’s OSIRIS-REx</a> spacecraft.</p><p>The spacecraft is on its way to an asteroid, Bennu, that could possibly someday collide with Earth — though not “for several centuries,” according to NASA. OSIRIS-Rex will — if all goes to plan — reach the asteroid in December. But in the meantime, it's sending back fascinating photos of our world.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Here Are 365 Beaches — One for Every Day in 2018</a></p><p>Three images taken from a distance of about 3 million miles from Earth were used to create the above composite.</p><h2>How Far Is the Moon From Earth?</h2><p>It all depends on when you ask, because the distance between the Earth and the moon is constantly shifting. On average, the moon is 238,855 miles from Earth, but it changes according to the time of year. The moon orbits Earth in an elliptical orbit, so it has a point each month when it's closest to Earth (called perigee) and a point when it's furthest away (called apogee). Its orbit is not a perfect circle, and the difference between perigee and apogee is about 25,000 miles. That's roughly 10% of the average distance between the Earth and the moon.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Ever heard of a Micromoon? They don't get as much attention as <a href="" target="_blank">Supermoons</a>, but they occur when a Full moon happens close to the moon's farthest apogee of the year. In 2018 that will occur on January 15, when the moon will be 252,565 miles away. Either way, January 2018 is a fine month for moon-gazing.</p><h2>How Long Does It Take to Get to the Moon?</h2><p>It's no day-trip: The Apollo astronauts of the 1960s and 1970s took three days to reach the moon. However, the moon is not always the same distance away from Earth and today it's the closest it ever gets.</p><p>At 221,559 miles from Earth, the moon was, on the <a href="" target="_blank">first day</a> of 2018, at its closest perigee point of the year. When the moon being at perigee coincides with its full phase, it's a very special occasion — a Supermoon. On this night our moon can appear to look larger than usual — though only if you watch it rise above the (eastern) horizon at sunset.</p><h2>Is the Moon Bigger Than Earth?</h2><p>While the diameter of the Earth is 7,917 miles (making the circumference 24,901 miles), the moon is only 2,159 miles wide (for a circumference of 6,786 miles).</p>
Categories: Travel

Samantha Brown Is Still Traveling the World — and She's Finally Doing It Her Way

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:58
<p>As quick to crack a joke at her own expense while navigating a new place as she is to bond with a complete stranger on the other side of the world, <a href="" target="_blank">Samantha Brown</a> has been making travel look like pure fun for more than 15 years. But when the veteran host sat down to talk about her new show at a quaint Parisian cafe near her home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on a chilly December afternoon in the midst of the holiday rush, the word that came up most often was “effort.”</p><p>“I draw upon what I really love about travel, which is simply getting to know the people on a more personal basis,” she says of <a href="" target="_blank">“Samantha Brown's Places to Love,”</a> premiering this Saturday on PBS. “Really understanding their effort that goes into creating the experiences that we as travelers get to be a part of, whether it’s the effort to create a meal that you eat at a restaurant, a piece of music you hear at a concert, a piece of art.”</p><p>The purpose, Brown says, is to “understand that when we’re a part of that cultural movement everyone wants to be a part of when they travel — go where the locals go, do what the locals do — what that really means is we want to be a part of the effort.”</p><p>And it isn't just the locals making an effort in the 13 destinations in the show’s first season. For “Places to Love,” Brown went far beyond the typical duties of a TV host: She’s the writer, the editor, and even the fundraiser.</p><img alt="Samantha Brown Travel Guide Host TV Show "src=""><p>Brown gives credit to her crew, to her husband for encouraging her to take on the challenge of self-funding a series for national public television, to the people behind the millions of dollars it took who saw a need for a female voice, and even to the <a href="" target="_blank">Travel Channel</a> for pushing her to change until she realized she didn’t want to be pushed anymore. But it’s clear that at its core, this new show is hers, and hers alone.</p><p>Brown says she aimed to veer away from an itinerary-based travelogue and create a “more intimate, more personal look at the emotional value of travel.” Maybe that’s because her career has put her through much more than the simple pleasures of eating gelato by the Pantheon or marveling at the Great Wall.</p><p>Since “Great Vacation Homes” premiered in 1999, Brown says being a woman in the travel entertainment industry has only gotten harder. Statistics show <a href="" target="_blank">women travel more than men</a>, yet there are few female faces of travel on TV. As Brown puts it, “it just doesn’t add up.” As we talk, I struggle to think of one female host other than Brown. Darley Newman, Kellee Edwards, and Megan McCormick hardly have the same name recognition as Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, or Rick Steves — even though they also travel the world and share it with the rest of us.</p><p>“Television is very tough and I think the television world just feels like travel is the man’s space, that travel and adventure are for men,” Brown said, adding that at least today there are more potential opportunities for women online, where the audience decides who to watch. “And so they put men at the helm of those shows. [TV executives] don’t see a woman as that ... and that’s really surprising to me.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why Women Are Booking More Adventure Travel Than Ever</a></p><p>About 10 years ago, Brown says, “I was even told, ‘Listen, we don’t want women anymore.’ Because at night, if there’s a couple — a man and a woman couple — the husband has control of the controller, and he doesn’t want to watch a woman travel. That was their thing; that’s what was passed down to me.”</p><p>In spite of this, Brown managed to maintain her optimistic on-screen persona. (Off-screen, she’s just as warm — our photographer had to request she try some photos <em>without</em> smiling.) But in talks with other networks, Brown said she was repeatedly asked one question: Would she “go negative?”</p><p>“Anthony Bourdain was everything. Everyone wanted the next Bourdain, and they wanted me to be the next, kind of, off the cuff, too cool for school [host],” she said. “I love Anthony Bourdain, but we’re very different. And the reason why Anthony Bourdain is amazing is because he is who he is. He’s very authentic. And so everyone asked me, can you be more like him? I just said I can’t, so I’m not going to do this show.”</p><p>Ironically, Bourdain himself, at a party “many, many years ago,” gave Brown advice that helped her come back stronger after parting ways with the channel that launched her career.</p><p>“I was kind of commenting on the fact that he got to do all these great things and I’m like, ‘They’d never let me do that, they always make me do this,’ and he said, ‘You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do.’ And I was like, ‘Well, that’s you’ ... and now that’s me, and he’s right. You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do. That’s always stayed with me because he had such confidence, and it took me another 10 years to get there.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">10 Female-focused Travel Companies to Know</a></p><p>Though she admits she once doubted if she’d ever be a TV host again, at 47, Brown is finally doing what she wants to do: using the power of travel to tell stories that resonate across borders.</p><p>“Places to Love” starts out in Houston, Texas, before moving on to Huntsville, Alabama; Gowanus, Brooklyn; Xi’an, China; and Donegal, Ireland, among other cities big and small, domestic and international. “We wanted to really show these up-and-coming places that don’t get any credit for being travel-worthy,” she said.</p><p>Reconnecting with the people they had filmed in Houston after Hurricane Harvey was an especially meaningful experience, and one Brown deliberately chose to open the series with. “We had to go back to everyone we were with and say, ‘Are you OK? Because we’re about to show this show and we want to make sure that when people see how wonderful you are, you’re still up and running.’”</p><p>“What we found was just ... this phoenix rising,” she said. “We’re really proud of that episode. The stories there are unbelievable.”</p><p>In this way, the premiere episode is sort of a microcosm of the series’ main message: that travel is a fresh beginning, a way to see the good in the world in spite of what you’ve been through or what you see in the news.</p><p>“We’re all on this journey to understand ourselves, and to be better than we thought, and nothing gives us that opportunity like travel,” Brown said. “You’re not in your controlled space, you’re not in the known world where you think you can predict what happens next, you know you’re out in the open and it allows you to think very differently, it allows us to be a different person, and that acceptance of meeting other people, and allowing them to affect you ... I feel like is what this world needs a heck of a lot more of.”</p>
Categories: Travel

18 Things to Do in Wilmington, North Carolina

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:46
<p>North Carolina may be best known by travelers for the capital city, Raleigh, and the beautiful barrier islands of the <a href="" target="_blank">Outer Banks</a>. But there are at least 18 reasons why Wilmington may be the most perfect vacation destination in the state.</p><p>Wilmington is an impossibly charming city, with downtown architecture that can transport you back to another century and an idyllic position alongside the Cape Fear River. Travelers from across the country flock here for its attractive barrier island beaches and famous southern hospitality.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">34 Things to Do in Baltimore, Maryland</a> </p><p>Of course, there are plenty of fun things to do in Wilmington, too. Visitors can discover historic battleships and restored plantations; participate in a week-long celebration of beer; and spend an afternoon strolling along the Carolina Beach boardwalk. From where to shop and to what to do, consider this your definitive guide to planning a perfect trip to Wilmington, <a href="" target="_blank">North Carolina</a>.</p><h2>Where is Wilmington?</h2><p>Not to be confused with Wilmington, Delware — Wilmington, North Carolina is a riverfront city that’s considered the most accessible coastal area in the entire state. It's one of North Carolina’s largest cities, too, and is easily reached by car from Raleigh (two hours), and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (an hour and 20 minutes).</p><p>The closest airport, Wilmington International Airport, is just north of the city, in nearby Wrightsboro. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines operate regular flights to and from Wilmington, with United launching regular daily service in April 2018. </p><img alt="Battleship North Carolina Wilmington "src=""><h2>Wilmington’s Top Attractions</h2><p>Historical sites are popular <a href="" target="_blank">points of interest</a> for Wilmington's visitors — as are the city's stunning beaches. Whether you want a crash course in southern history or would rather spend your afternoons sunning and splashing in the warm surf, these are a few of examples of the great activities in Wilmington, North Carolina. </p><p>Across the river from downtown Wilmington sits the <strong>Battleship North Carolina</strong>: a highly decorated battleship that faced combat during World War II. Now restored and considered a National Historic Landmark, visitors can tour the vessel and imagine what life was like aboard this ship (it was one of the first 10 battleships to join the American Fleet).</p><p>For those who want to take in the natural beauty of Wilmington, a visit to <strong>Airlie Gardens</strong> is an absolute must. What was once a piece of 640-acre property gifted from King George II to the Ogden brothers in the 1700s is now 67-acres of public land. Take a self-guided walking tour to see a freshwater lake (complete with swans), lush gardens colored by seasonal blooms, and the historic Airlie Oak, which dates back over 400 years. A popular time to visit is in the fall, when the annual <a href="" target="_blank">Airlie Oyster Roast</a> takes place.</p><img alt="Poplar Grove Plantation Wilmington North Carolina "src=""><p>A former sweet potato and peanut plantation, <strong>Poplar Grove</strong> is now one of the last remaining plantations of its kind in the United States. The manor house was restored in 1980 and opened to the public, and is a unique activity to consider when visiting Wilmington. You can enjoy a self-guided tour to view the grounds, or participate in blacksmith and basket-weaving workshops. For something a bit more offbeat, consider taking the plantation's <a href="" target="_blank">paranormal tour</a>, Moonlight in the Manor. You'll tour the property (which includes a cemetery) and learn of all the people who have passed away on the premises. This tour only runs between April and October, so be sure to plan accordingly.</p><p>Art-hounds should head straight to the <strong>Cameron Art Museum</strong>, or CAM. Book a guided tour or admire the mix of contemporary and historic artworks at your own speed. There are more than 700 pieces in the collection, which features Mary Cassatt and, in the outdoor sculpture garden, Dixon Setler and Tom Spleth.</p><img alt="Opener Wilmington North Carolina "src=""><h3>Best Beaches in Wilmington</h3><p>With a picturesque seaside boardwalk and a trail that leads to an overlook of the Cape Fear River, <strong>Carolina Beach</strong> is much more than just sand and surf. Visitors can fill a day on an offshore fishing charter, sipping cocktails at an oceanfront tiki bar, and snacking on the area's famous <a href="" target="_blank">hot donuts</a>. But if sand and surf is what you’re looking for, you will absolutely find that here, too.</p><p>Just south of Carolina Beach, <strong>Kure Beach</strong> is at the southernmost tip of Pleasure Island, and has a lovely, small town vibe. Head to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, where you can hike along the six-mile span of undeveloped beach. The soft, powdery sand and a mellow surf make Kure Beach a great spot for sunbathers and families, while those who prefer water activities can head straight to the oldest fishing pier on the entire Atlantic coast.</p><img alt="Fireworks over Carolina Beach North Carolina Wilmington "src=""><h2>Major Events and Festivals in Wilmington</h2><p>Downtown Wilmington hosts an exciting mix of annual festivals and events all year, so no matter when you choose to visit, you're likely to encounter everything from family-friendly street fairs to fireworks displays or popular beer tastings. </p><p>Each year, on the first full weekend of October, Downtown Wilmington celebrates <strong>Riverfest</strong> — a two-day event that draws hundreds of thousands of people. It's a family-friendly affair that focuses on live entertainment, craft vendors, and festival food. Just be sure to arrive by Saturday night, when the fireworks display begins.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Since its inception in 2012, <strong>Wilmington Beer Week </strong>has been an extremely popular fall event. Expect some 60 craft breweries to participate in the mix of showcases and activities taking place at venues all over Wilmington. </p><h3>Fireworks in Wilmington</h3><p>You don’t have to wait until the Fourth of July to watch fireworks in Wilmington. Every Thursday night during the summer, Carolina Beach puts on a firework show as part of the city’s <strong>Fireworks by the Sea </strong>programming. There’s no admission fee, meaning you can have a fantastic night without even having to take out your wallet.</p><p>There are also, of course, fireworks during the Fourth of July and during downtown Wilmington's Riverfest. </p><img alt="River District North Carolina Wilmington "src=""><h2>Shopping in Wilmington</h2><p>Perhaps the best place to shop in Wilmington is the <strong>River District</strong>, where historic buildings are filled with charming, independent boutiques. Take a stroll down Front Street and Market Street to see Wilmington's finest locally-owned stores, which sell everything from modern handmade jewelry to eclectic antiques.</p><h2>Best Restaurants in Wilmington</h2><p>Wilmington is a food-centric city, and the list of popular places to eat is extensive. Restaurants here cook up everything from traditional southern fare to far-flung flavors and quirky, fusion plates.</p><h3>Most Romantic Restaurant: Manna</h3><p>With a constantly-evolving menu, <strong>Manna</strong> is an American-style restaurant that features locally sourced ingredients and has a serious affinity for cocktails. White table linens, exposed brick, and a fully stocked bar make Manna a perfect, intimate spot for date nights in Wilmington. </p><h3>Cheap Eats</h3><p>Serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, <strong>Blue Surf Cafe</strong> is a casual restaurant where table service is reserved only for dinner (counter-service is offered for breakfast and lunch). Set in a shabby-chic atmosphere (think: reclaimed wood pallets displaying art and a large chalkboard for the menu), Blue Surf really captures Wilmington's laidback beach vibe.</p><p>If you’re craving Thai and Vietnamese food, <strong>Indochine</strong> is a great place to dine. The atmosphere is exotic — with large half-moon windows looking out to a lush garden and gazebo — and the wait staff is very attentive.</p><h3>Best Seafood: Doc Street Oyster Bar</h3><p>You’ll fall in love with the vibrant and funky <strong>Doc Street Oyster Bar</strong>, which has been hailed as the best oyster bar in Wilmington for nearly two decades. This Caribbean-inspired joint is touted for their steamed and grilled seafood (do not expect plates of fried calamari or deep-fried fish).</p><img alt="Arlie Garden North Carolina "src=""><h2>Best Bars in Wilmington</h2><p>Earning endless cool points for atmosphere is <strong>The Brewer’s Kettle</strong>. Set in a converted 1950s Esso service station, this casual bar and beverage store boasts hundreds of beers (available for purchase to-go or to drink on premises) and a parking lot that's been transformed into an outdoor lounge. Most nights, you’ll find a food truck or two parked on site.</p><p>For a more upscale experience,<strong> The Fortunate Glass</strong> is a wine bar that features libations from regions all over the world. With over 300 wines available by the bottle (and 50 served by the glass), the chances are good that you'll discover your next favorite wine here.</p><img alt="The Wilmingtonian Wilmington North Carolina "src=""><h2>Where to Stay in Wilmington</h2><p>Travelers searching for places to stay in Wilmington will note a wide variety of accommodations. You can splurge for a luxury, waterfront resort, or save on a cozy vacation rental. </p><h3>Boutique Hotels</h3><p>Most visitors prefer to be in the heart of the city, meaning booking a room right in historic downtown Wilmington. Surrounded by gorgeous 19th-century homes and just minutes away from the Riverwalk on Cape Fear is The Wilmingtonian: a charming all-suite property that has beautiful on-site gardens and is within walking distance to a number of Wilmington's top attractions.</p><h3>Luxury Hotels</h3><p>Hilton Wilmi is a riverside luxury hotel overlooking the Cape Fear coast, and is located at the epicenter Wilmington. It's walking distance to the city's most popular museums, and Wilmington’s beaches are just a short car ride away. From the hotel’s elevated patio, guests get a great view of the Battleship North Carolina.</p><h2>Vacation Rentals in Wilmington</h2><p>For those who would prefer a more homey — and often more affordable — place to stay, it's easy to book a an apartment or an entire home on Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. This can also be a great way to feel like (and meet) a local. Look out for <a href="" target="_blank">cozy bungalows</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">this 1930s cottage near Antique Row</a>. </p>
Categories: Travel

Two Pilots Abandoned the Cockpit Mid-flight Because of an Argument

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:32
<p>Two pilots for an Indian airline have been suspended after starting a fight and abandoning the cockpit in the middle of a flight. The Jet Airways flight from London to Mumbai was left unmanned on New Year’s Day when the pilots erupted in an argument.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why Pilots and Co-pilots Can’t Eat the Same Thing on a Flight</a></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to local reports</a>, the captain slapped the co-pilot during the argument and she ran out of the cockpit in tears. While she was crying in the galley, <a href="" target="_blank">the captain buzzed over the intercom</a>, telling crew to convince the co-pilot to come back to her post. When they couldn’t, he reportedly left the cockpit himself to convince her to come back inside. The flight had 324 passengers and 14 crew members on board.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">These Are the Worst Airports, According to Pilots</a></p><p>The co-pilot ran out of the cockpit a second time before being convinced to go back inside by cabin crew.</p><p>The airline said in a statement that the “misunderstanding” was “quickly resolved amicably” and the flight landed safely in Mumbai.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Directorate General of Civil Aviation ordered an investigation</a> of the case. Jet Airways announced that both pilots have been temporarily suspended pending the investigation.</p><p>“At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew and assets is of paramount importance and the airline has zero tolerance for any action of its employees that compromises safety,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Aruba Is the Caribbean Island You Have to Visit in 2018

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:31
<p>The thought of Aruba conjures up images of fofoti trees leaning lazily over <a href="" target="_blank">white sand beaches</a>; of tangled mangroves shading still, turquoise waters. But those who venture beyond the idyllic west coast will find it’s an island of topographical contradictions: Just minutes from those familiar tropical scenes, cacti rise from arid earth while volcanic cliffs are beaten down by powerful surf to the east.</p><p>Together, these dramatic landscapes form one breathtaking isle, but they make sustainability a complicated matter. In recent years, Aruba's government has ramped up efforts to boost local farming, chefs have begun to focus on locally grown ingredients, and more hotels have turned their attention toward eco-friendly operations.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Where to Find Aruba's Most Beautiful, Peaceful, and Hidden Beaches</a></p><p>But it isn’t just Arubans who feel the need to preserve their precious, limited natural resources — tourists are known to pitch in at beach and reef cleanups and embrace green initiatives like the region’s first bikeshare program as though the island were their own. <a href="" target="_blank">Aruba attracts more repeat visitors</a> than any other Caribbean destination, after all, and they have to make sure there will always be something to come back to.</p><img alt="Pool at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba "src=""><h2>Hotel on a Mission</h2><p>Remnants of an orange sunset fade over Eagle Beach as Tisa LaSorte, director of sales and marketing at <a href="" target="_blank">Bucuti &amp; Tara</a>, reflects on how the 30-year-old boutique resort came to be while perusing the veggie-focused dinner menu on an iPad handed over by a waiter.</p><p>“He was struck by the beauty of the beaches,” she says of Ewald Biemans, the resort’s owner, who came to Aruba from Austria in 1971, “and immediately he felt a need to protect them.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">There’s a Secret Volcanic Rock Pool Hiding in Aruba</a></p><p>The hotel’s mission to integrate guests into the surrounding community is evident in the details: solar panels, reusable water canteens, grounds lined with indigenous plants, monthly beach cleanup collaborations between staff and guests, music-free nights to draw attention to the sounds of the ocean.</p><p>“He wanted to be sustainable before it became popular,” LaSorte said, “and the hotel evolved in sustainability as his knowledge of it grew.”</p><p>The fruits of Biemans’ labor are palpable: the oceanfront Tara Wing was completely renovated in 2017, but the star of every suite is still its unobstructed view of pristine coastline.</p><img alt="White Modern, Aruba "src=""><h2>Taste of the Island</h2><p>As a chef who was born, raised, and trained on-island, Urvin Croes has a special stake in the locally sourced ingredients on the menus at his two buzzed-about restaurants, <a href="" target="_blank">White Modern</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">The Kitchen Table</a>.</p><p>His desire to create contemporary Aruban dishes that “weren’t touristy” led him to develop relationships with area farmers and the local culinary school. “We take enormous pride in what we do,” he said, “not for the restaurants or [their] patrons, but for Aruba.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">What It's Like to Swim With Flamingos in Aruba</a></p><p>Croes admits consistency in production can be a challenge on the island, but it’s one he overcomes by sourcing from a variety of farmers and rotating his menus.</p><p>The intimate, 18-seat Kitchen Table serves an eight-course tasting menu that changes monthly but always features dishes that “tell a story [about] the history and culture of the Caribbean,” like dabaru bean tartar with local octopus. At White Modern, Asian and Caribbean flavors shine through in fresh dishes like the rotating, 30-ingredient summer salad, which Croes says includes a taste of all the produce Aruba can offer, from mini cucumbers and microgreens to edible flowers.</p><p>He works with local forager Frank Kelly, who finds the edible flowers, plus seaweed, octopus, and sea urchins and supplies them to restaurants. “I sit with the chefs and talk about the dishes,” Kelly said. “This gives me a better perspective of what to offer them.”</p><p>Kelly has been foraging Aruba since he was a child. ”My grandfather [and I] used to go to the shores of the southside to pick coconuts for my grandmother,” he said. “She made coconut oil and sweets from the bounty.”</p><p>He says 30 different types of flowers can be found blooming around the island at various times of year. Business has been busy lately, as festivals and parties look to incorporate his finds into the dishes they’re serving. But for Kelly, it’s about much more than turning a profit.</p><p>“The real taste of Aruba lies in every corner of this magical island,” he said. “I do what I do because I love to do it. I love my island to the bones.”</p><img alt="Aruba Aloe "src=""><h2>Fighting for Farming</h2><p>Many know of Aruba’s innovative aloe farm, reaping the medicinal and cosmetic benefits of the plant since the late 19th century, and it’s also used locally in smoothies and salads. But produce such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, bell peppers, squash, beans, melons, and dragonfruit are also grown on small farms scattered throughout the island — with the goal of self-sufficiency, not exporting.</p><p>“The government has always been involved in encouraging people to plant,” Jonathan Boekhoudt of Aruba Tourism Authority explains, “but in the last eight years [they] have been more aggressive in their approach.”</p><p>Start-up farms are offered special discounts on clearing and plowing the land, and given access to wells and dams where they can collect irrigation water. The Department of Agriculture even provides free lectures on the latest techniques for efficient planting, he says.</p><img alt="Beach Cleanup Aruba "src=""><h2>Keeping Beaches Clean</h2><p>Every year, eco-conscious residents and travelers team up to protect the island’s precious coastlines at the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association's beach cleanup. The initiative, which touches everything from Arashi Beach on the northwestern tip to Baby Beach down south, saw more tourists than ever take part in November 2017.</p><p>Pamphlets are handed out at hotels, and presentations are made at local schools explaining the importance of taking action, Boekhoudt says, resulting in about 3,000 primary and secondary school participants. “Though the number of affected sites has not increased, what has changed is the number of participants at each site,” he said.</p><p>The date of the 2018 beach cleanup has not yet been announced, but on September 25, the Aruba Reef Care Project, sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority, invites visitors to get in the water with a dive instructor and clean up about two-dozen scuba sites as well.</p><img alt=" "src=""><h2>Biking for the Future</h2><p>For advanced mountain bikers, the rugged, dusty terrain around Aruba’s rocky Arikok National Park has become a destination in its own right, with three new trails opening in 2017. The sport offers a low-impact way to tour the remote area — arguably the most scenic section of the island — which is otherwise accessed by clunky 4x4 vehicles.</p><p>Meanwhile, over on the west coast in smoother territory, Emily Cartaya launched the Caribbean’s first bikeshare program, <a href="" target="_blank">Green Bike Aruba</a>, in June of 2017. The family-run company, sponsored by the local businesses it promotes, now has 100 bikes and eight stations that make it easy for tourists to get between the cruise ship terminal, main plazas, and resorts. For residents looking for regular exercise and a sustainable commute, unlimited monthly and annual rental plans are also available.</p><p>The most popular station is at Palm Beach — the busy strip lined with high-rise hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott — but Cartaya, who is originally from Venezuela, says she hopes the Aruban government will make cycling a priority and build more <a href="" target="_blank">bike paths</a> so it can continue to grow to less-visited parts of the island.</p><p>“Bike shares bring so many benefits to a city ... it reduces congestion, accidents, and carbon, and improves air quality,” Cartaya said. “It brings health benefits to the users, it develops tourism, and improves access to places.”</p><p>Over 3,000 rides have been taken since June, and as the holidays approach, Cartaya expects more people than ever will be hitting the trails. “It has been received amazing,” she said. “I cannot wait to see how this system will behave in this coming high season.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This Picturesque Japanese Village Is One of the Snowiest Places on the Planet (Photos)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:05
<p>As the <a href="" target="_blank">“bomb cyclone”</a> advances through the Northeast, schools and businesses have shut down. People are staying inside to avoid winter conditions and stockpiling necessities. But this storm pales in comparison to what happens every year in Shirakawa-go, Japan.</p><p>While some in the United States may be familiar with “lake effect” snow, the phenomenon is amplified in Japan, where there’s <a href="" target="_blank">“ocean effect” snow</a>.</p><img alt="Shirakawa-Go Village Snow Winter Snowfall Record Japan "src=""><p>Weather patterns blow from Siberia across the (relatively warm) Sea of Japan, creating clouds with lots of moisture. When these clouds enter the higher altitudes of the Japanese Alps, they dump out all the precipitation they’ve built up in the form of snow.</p><img alt="Shirakawa-Go Village Snow Winter Snowfall Record Japan "src=""><p>The picturesque mountain village of Shirakawa-go — which literally translates as “White River Village” — has recorded an average of 415 inches (that's about 35 feet) of snowfall every year, <a href=";block_no=1306&amp;year=&amp;month=&amp;day=&amp;view=" target="_blank">according to the Japan Meteorological Agency</a>. The town has become famous for its <a href="" target="_blank">winter nighttime illuminations</a> of its historic houses covered in snow.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The UNESCO World Heritage village</a> developed in relative isolation, as it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides.</p><img alt="Shirakawa-Go Village Snow Winter Snowfall Record Japan "src=""><p>Because of its solitary location, inhabitants developed a unique style of architecture that still exists in 114 huts.</p><img alt="Shirakawa-Go Village Snow Winter Snowfall Record Japan "src=""><p>The thatched-roof huts were specifically designed to withstand heavy amounts of snowfall and some date back more than 250 years. These huts have since been repurposed as museums, restaurants and guest houses for tourists.</p><img alt="Shirakawa-Go Village Snow Winter Snowfall Record Japan "src="">
Categories: Travel

Save 30% off Three-night Stays in a Rainforest Retreat in Costa Rica

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 08:56
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Costa Rica: 30 percent off the <a href="" target="_blank">Vista Celestial</a>, a rainforest retreat with Pacific-facing haciendas, a swim-up bar, an organic restaurant and on-site farm. Nearby activities include rafting, ATV tours and ziplining.</p><p>A Taste of Costa Rica includes:</p><p>*Three nights in a Villa</p><p>*One morning coffee roasting class and property tour</p><p>*One cooking class with Vista Celestial’s in-house Chef for lunch</p><p>*Private dinner for two overlooking the Pacific Ocean</p><p>Original Price: $2,162 (or $720 per night)</p><p><strong>T + L Price:</strong> $1,512 (or $504 per night); valid through March 31, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: To book, email <a href=""></a> and mention T + L.</p>
Categories: Travel

Chicago’s Shiny New Apple Store Is Definitely Not Designed for Winter

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 08:47
<p>The Chicago Apple Store looks like it might need some extra-extra-<em>extra</em>-large screen protectors — like, building-sized. </p><p>While frosty winters may not be the norm in Cupertino, California, Apple's home base, that’s definitely not the case for the company’s latest store at 401 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, which seems to be having issues standing up to the windy, snowy, and bitterly cold Illinois weather.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Verge</a></em>, snow and ice chunks that are falling off the sleek and smooth rooftop are posing a threat to pedestrians who walk near the building. The issue itself was pointed out by blogger Matt Maldre, who <a href="">wrote</a>: “Maybe next time Apple will consider the actual community where their stores are built. Y’know, basic things like in Chicago, the weather gets cold. It snows. The snow falls off the roof. Don’t design a [sloping] roof where the snow can’t be caught or guttered off somewhere.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Apple’s New Indoor Maps Will Help You Navigate Airports Like a Pro</a></p><img alt="Apple Store Chicago Illinois "src=""><p>Employees have already roped off many areas and put up signs to caution potential shoppers.</p><p>To make matters worse, the icy conditions have caused a few cracks to form on one of the building’s glass panels, as seen in photos on the forum <a href=";postcount=39729" target="_blank">Skyscraperpage</a>. And winter is far from over.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Apple Is Launching Walking Tours From Their Stores Around the World</a></p><img alt=" "src=""><p>According to<em> <a href="" target="_blank">Curbed</a></em>, the glass walls have proven to be more trouble than they’re worth. Apparently the building is also a magnet for bird collisions as well as a popular hangout spot for the avian species.</p><p>Perhaps it couldn’t be a bad idea to invest in some weather-proof protection. Maybe in a frosted texture to keep the birds away.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Woman Got an Entire Flight to Herself Thanks to a Very Fortunate Booking Error

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 08:37
<p>Every traveler’s dream is buckling in for pre-flight announcement and discovering <a href="" target="_blank">the seat next to them is empty</a>. But this woman’s latest travel experience just blew all our wildest dreams away.</p><p>On a flight from Rochester, New York to Washington, D.C., Redditor <a href="" target="_blank">shadybaby22</a> magically found herself on a completely empty plane thanks to a clerical error. Turns out, her flight was specifically meant only for airline staff rather than the general public.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">What to Do in January to Save on Airfare All Year</a></p><p>Under the r/mildlyinteresting subreddit, she submitted a <a href="" target="_blank">photo of herself</a> on the gloriously empty flight.</p><p>She explained that she felt something was wrong when she discovered she was the only one in the waiting area 45 minutes before takeoff. Apparently, a ticket agent came up to her and said, “I knew this would happen.”</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The error occured due to the Redditor’s original <a href="" target="_blank">flight being cancelled</a> eight hours earlier. She and other passengers were given seats on the flight in the picture, but another agent then gave passengers yet another, earlier flight.</p><p>Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately), the Redditor has gone to stay with her parents and missed the second flight change — and thus, got a whole plane to herself.</p><p>Sometimes it’s worth it to <em>not</em> be at the right place at the right time.</p>
Categories: Travel