Travel

A Passenger Tried to Smuggle 70 Live Finches in Hair Rollers at JFK — and It's Not the First Time

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 17:54
<p>Dozens of tiny songbirds have been flocking to the U.S., but not in the way you think.</p><p>At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped a man traveling from Georgetown, Guyana and conducted a search of his luggage, <a href="https://abc11.com/pets-animals/jfk-passenger-tries-to-smuggle-live-birds-in-hair-rollers-onto-flight/4885272/" target="_blank">ABC News reported</a>.</p><p>What they found was a bit unexpected. Inside the man’s black duffle bag were 70 live finches delicately placed inside hair rollers.</p><img alt="Finches found by CBP at JFK Airport "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544720315/JFK-Finches-cbp-BIRDSFOUND1218.jpg?itok=8g2J0mqL"><p>The passenger was subsequently arrested for attempting to smuggle the birds. The birds themselves were taken to the United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services, under quarantine, according to ABC News.</p><p>“CBP Agriculture Specialists are the first line of defense to prevent the introduction of animal diseases that have the potential to cause significant damage to the nation's agricultural economy," Troy Miller, director of field operations, New York Field Office, told ABC News.</p><p>Birds flown into the U.S. may be carriers of several diseases that can threaten agriculture in the U.S., including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (also known as Avian Flu or Bird Flu).</p><p>But according to <em><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/nyregion/finches-smuggled-airport.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></em>, this isn’t the first incident of finches being smuggled into the country using some unorthodox packing methods. In addition to hair rollers, cardboard toilet paper rolls are also used to transport the birds. Customs officials have said that about 200 of the tiny birds have been intercepted coming from South America, namely Guyana, according to <em>The New York Times</em>.</p><img alt="Finches found by CBP at JFK Airport "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544720315/JFK-Finches-cbp-hair-rollers-BIRDSFOUND1218.jpg?itok=BbIlKYgL"><p>What possessed these smugglers to bring in so many birds? Singing contests.</p><p><em>The New York Times</em> reported that the birds are entered into “underground singing contests,” in which gamblers place bets on the most musical bird. Finches are particularly popular due to the amount of chirps they make per minute.</p><p>A sought-out male finch with a history of wins could sell for up to $10,000 said one investigation, aptly nicknamed “Operation G-Bird,” conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, <em>The New York Times</em> reported.</p><img alt="Finches found by CBP at JFK Airport "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544720315/JFK-Finches-cbp-guyana-BIRDSFOUND1218.jpg?itok=cvD6m_qP"><p>“The most common animal we see trying to be smuggled through the passenger environment are these birds, the finches,” said Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection to <em>The New York Times</em>. “It goes in cycles, like everything else. It’s not an everyday occurrence or an every month occurrence, but it does happen,” Bucci added.</p><p>Usually, the smugglers are sent back to Guyana, but some are still admitted to the U.S. and fined. Apparently, bird smuggling can be a big business.</p>
Categories: Travel

What It's Like to Stay at the Most Exclusive Inn and Club in Florida

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 17:15
<p>December 20 is the opening night of the social season at the <a href="https://the-gasparilla-inn.com/" target="_blank">Gasparilla Inn &amp; Club</a> <em>(doubles from $275)</em>. In the days leading up to it there’s a sense of anticipation in the air, as Mercedes station wagons and Range Rovers pull around the circular driveway to unload garment bags and golf clubs, and the hotel comes to life with families — grandparents, the kids, and grandkids in tow. Many of the entourages have had this evening on their calendars every year for the past 10, 20, 30 years.</p><p>The big night unfolds like so: men in Brooks Brothers clothes and women in Gretchen Scott (glass of champagne in one hand, the collar of a navy-blazered child in the other) stroll through the butter-yellow halls to the dining room, where big round tables of eight and 10 are set with white linens and emerald-green goblets. Parents leap from tables as they rediscover one another — “Hey, buddy!” — and children recognize the friends they dug sandcastles with a year earlier. The delicious local grouper everybody has been looking forward to is still on the menu, though this year it sits on a fashionable bed of kale and quinoa.</p><p>The season is off and running. The next morning it continues over a big breakfast (creamed chipped beef, anyone?) and a round of golf on the Pete Dye course. Then it’s off to the Beach Club for a salad followed by an hour staring at the Gulf from a chaise lounge, drink in hand, before it’s time to dress for dinner. Well, maybe one quick game of Ping-Pong.</p><p>And the next day it begins all over again.</p><p>There are so many <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/secret-florida-beaches" target="_blank">Floridas</a> I have lost count. But the scene at the Gasparilla Inn &amp; Club was a new one to me — quite unlike the setting of the Breakers resort, the center of the Palm Beach social set, and at least several million light-years from the Faena Hotel in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/miami" target="_blank">Miami Beach</a>, with its art and fashion crowd. “The Inn,” as it is called by regulars, is a grand, columned wooden manor house in the Old Florida style, built in 1913 on Boca Grande, a narrow island 53 miles south of Sarasota. There are some romantic old houses and two blocks of mostly mom-and-pop shops on Boca Grande, population 1,230, where the citizens, hair always in place and linen shirts never wrinkled — glide around on golf carts.</p><img alt="Scenes from Gasparilla Inn, in Florida "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544025491/beach-and-key-gasparilla-inn-florida-GASPARILLAINN1218.jpg?itok=dV5slDl2"><p>The Inn is very much the center of this cozy world, and for most of its history, a newcomer could book a room only with a personal reference from a regular guest. Fifteen years ago, however, the doors were thrown open to the public. (Phone bookings are still preferred.) Today, vacancies are rare — don’t plan on coming here for Thanksgiving next year.</p><p>It’s impressive, since hotels like this face the delicate task of staying fresh while appearing not to change. The Gasparilla is among the last of the classic country club resorts, along with the Greenbrier, in West Virginia, and the Cloister and Lodge at Sea Island, Georgia, where good manners are everything. The cocky squillionaire who relies on “Do you know who I am?” to get his way will have a rough time of it here. The guests, who share an enthusiasm for pink, come largely from the Midwest and the more Cheeverish suburbs of the Northeast. One of the interior decorators, Mimi McMakin, a Palm Beach native, calls it “the place for well-heeled bare feet.”</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/resort-hotels-in-florida" target="_blank">The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Florida (Outside of Miami Beach)</a></p><p>Old Florida style means a lobby that feels like a living room, with old-school Lawson sofas alongside Bar Harbor wicker, and sprinkler pipes wrapped with raffia. The 164 rooms, suites, and two-bedroom cottages are a beachier version of everybody’s houses back in Winnetka and Darien, with white-painted furniture, cheerful colors, and tiled rather than marble bathrooms. You’ll find shells everywhere: on the lamps, the candlesticks, the cocktail tables. Throw in a stuffed tarpon and a tole pineapple lamp, and there you have it — a look you think you’ve seen before, but authentically done here, and pretty magical.</p><img alt="Terrace and Interior at the Gasparilla Inn, in Florida "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544025491/terrace-and-interior-gasparilla-inn-florida-GASPARILLAINN1218.jpg?itok=zUfvPzsl"><p>The Old Florida atmosphere is especially thick in the restaurant, with its slowly rotating ceiling fans, starched white linens, and silver-domed butter servers; in BZ’s, a clubby bar paneled with pecky cypress; and in the Pelican Club Room, the rare, masculine corner of this hotel, where for a moment every man can feel he played lacrosse at Dartmouth. Wherever you go you will find good old-fashioned obsequious hotel service. No waiter here ever begins a meal by asking, “So, how are we doing tonight?”</p><p>It’s all insistently civilized. Here are some of the more astonishing things I experienced during my three days: No loud voices, beyond the occasional hearty country club laugh. Every 10-year-old knows to shake your hand firmly upon meeting you. Not once did I see someone texting while walking, or children with phones at a meal — they talked to their parents. And all of this happens without formal rules beyond a rudimentary dress code. You just wouldn’t dare.</p><p>Perhaps the biggest unwritten rule of all is discretion, and the sense of insiderness it lends the hotel. The pro shop sells baseball caps with the Gasparilla Inn’s pirate logo, but not its name. If you take one home and wear it in the right zip code, you can count on strangers pulling you aside and saying, “Don’t you just love that place? We’ve been going for years.” Look them in the eye and say, “Oh, we just love it.” It will never occur to them that you’ve only been once.</p>
Categories: Travel

Alaska Airlines Will Let You Board Early If You Wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 16:52
<p>You can wear your ugly Christmas sweater with pride this year. Especially if you’re flying on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines</a>.</p><p>National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day (one of the more fun invented holidays) is Dec. 21, and Alaska is celebrating once again by offering a perk to customers flying in them.</p><p>If you happen to be flying on any Alaska Airlines flight on the third Friday in December, remember to wear your ugly holiday sweater and the airline will offer you early boarding. Assuming everyone else on your flight doesn't have the same idea, you can avoid some of the frustration of boarding and get your carry-on in the overhead compartment.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The airline is also playing holiday music during boarding and offering a free selection of holiday movies to get passengers in a festive mood all month long.</p><p>"This time of year, we consider ourselves the 'merrier carrier,' so we love going above and beyond to help our guests embrace the fun, festive side of flying during the holidays," Natalie Bowman, managing director of marketing and advertising at Alaska Airlines, said in a statement.</p><p>The airline is (of course) encouraging passengers to take photos and share them on social media with the hashtags <a href="https://twitter.com/AlaskaAir" target="_blank">#UglySweaterDay and #iFlyAlaska</a>. If you need a sweater, Amazon has <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=ugly+sweater" target="_blank">some horrifically ugly options</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Perfumer Jo Malone Shares Her Family-friendly Venice Itinerary — and Her Best Tips for Finding Cheap Eats

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 13:00
<h2>A Room with a View</h2><p>My husband, Gary, and I have been to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/venice" target="_blank">Venice</a> many times and have stayed in properties all over the city, from cheap B&amp;Bs to high-end properties like <a href="https://www.belmond.com/hotels/europe/italy/venice/belmond-hotel-cipriani/" target="_blank">Belmond Hotel Cipriani</a> <em>(doubles from $786)</em>. This time around, I’m tempted to spend a few days at <a href="https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/vcelc-hotel-danieli-a-luxury-collection-hotel-venice/" target="_blank">Hotel Danieli</a> <em>(doubles from $503)</em>, which is steeped in old-world elegance and makes you feel like you’re in an Agatha Christie novel. The rooms have these stunning balconies that overlook the lagoon.</p><img alt="Hotel Danieli in Venice "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544135546/hotel-danieli-venice-JOMALONE1118.jpg?itok=WslExDFn"><h2>Study Abroad</h2><p>One of my new goals in life is to take four educational vacations a year. As a fragrance maker, I like adventures that activate my senses and spark my creativity. But the trip to Venice is actually my teenage son’s idea. He loves art and wants to explore museums like the <a href="http://guggenheim-venice.it" target="_blank">Peggy Guggenheim Collection</a> and the <a href="http://palazzoducale.visitmuve.it" target="_blank">Doge’s Palace</a>.</p><h2>Through the Looking Glass</h2><p>I’m fascinated by other people and what they put in bottles, whether it’s perfume, olive oil, or wine. That’s why our holiday will include not one, but two glass-centered side adventures. First, we’ll drive to Bibano, a small village an hour north of Venice, to visit the <a href="http://bottegaspa.com" target="_blank">Bottega Spa</a> winery and learn how they make their world-famous Prosecco. Our second excursion will be to the island of Murano, where we’ll watch the glassblowers and dine at the hole-in-the-wall trattorias.</p><img alt="Scenes from Venice, Italy "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544135546/murano-glass-belmond-snacks-JOMALONE1118.jpg?itok=wJ3eJqZW"><h2>Local Flavor</h2><p>I’m not interested in checking out the newest restaurants. I like to find out <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/skye-mcalpine-non-tourist-secret-venice-guide" target="_blank">where the Venetians eat and drink</a>. One of my best tips for dining out in Venice is to order an aperitivo at the bar rather than at a table. It’ll be a third of the price. That said, I’m definitely splurging on a meal at Belmond Hotel Cipriani’s <a href="https://www.belmond.com/hotels/europe/italy/venice/belmond-hotel-cipriani/dining" target="_blank">Giudecca 10</a> <em>(entrées $32–$44)</em>. They have the best pizzas and Bellinis.</p><p><em>Inspired by Malone’s travels to Italy and Portugal, <a href="http://joloves.com" target="_blank">Jo by Jo Loves</a> ($105) combines citrusy notes of grapefruit and bitter orange.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Trade Your Hilton Loyalty Points for Tickets to the GRAMMYs

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 11:01
<p>Your hotel loyalty points can get you much, much more than a free night every once in a while. Like, perhaps, a night with Steven Tyler watching the GRAMMYs together.</p><p><a href="https://auction.hiltonhonors.com/" target="_blank">Hilton Honors</a> is auctioning away a few fantastic experiences around the 61st annual GRAMMYs, including opportunities to hang with famous musicians, access into official after-parties or the chance to watch the awards show live from at the Staples Center.</p><p>It’s necessary to place your bid for the more exclusive packages, but others are a guarantee. For 300,000 points, you can nab <a href="https://auction.hiltonhonors.com/iSynApp/auctionDisplay.action?auctionId=2532727&amp;pgmode1=$pgmode1&amp;pgcust1=spotlight-grammys&amp;pgmode3=livebid&amp;" target="_blank">two tickets to MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute Concert</a> honoring Dolly Parton (and it includes dinner). The <a href="https://auction.hiltonhonors.com/iSynApp/auctionDisplay.action?auctionId=2532729&amp;pgmode1=$pgmode1&amp;pgcust1=spotlight-grammys&amp;pgmode3=livebid&amp;" target="_blank">VIP GRAMMY Experience</a> is available for 450,000 points. It includes not only tickets to the show but tickets to the official pre-show brunch and after party. Plus, you get a deluxe room at the Beverly Hilton for your time in L.A.</p><p>If you’re feeling lucky, you can place a bid on a few more exclusive experiences. Steven Tyler is hosting a viewing party to raise money for <a href="https://www.youthvillages.org/" target="_blank">Youth Villages</a>, a nonprofit that supports survivors of abuse. If you win, you and a guest will get to walk the red carpet at the viewing party gala and then watch Steven Tyler and others perform. (An elaborate dinner is included, too.) <a href="https://auction.hiltonhonors.com/iSynApp/showPage.action?sid=1101241&amp;pageName=spotlight&amp;pgcust1=spotlight-grammys" target="_blank">Another deluxe opportunity</a> up for grabs includes tickets to the Dolly Parton MusiCares event, pre-GRAMMY brunch, after-party and the awards show itself.</p><p>The GRAMMYs award show will take place on Sunday, Feb. 10, so mark your calendar and start counting your points.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where to Find the World’s Best Hot Chocolate

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:45
<p>Crisp air, falling snow, and cozy sweaters are all winter staples. But what’s winter without a mug of comforting hot chocolate? The powdered, <em>just add water</em> kind is fine for those times you’re surrounded by friends and family in the comfort of your home. But every now and then you have to splurge on an <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/luxury-travel/inexpensive-ways-to-upgrade-your-vacation" target="_blank">upgraded</a> cup made with fresh and decedent homemade chocolate.</p><p>From New England to New Mexico and France to Colombia, we’ve searched far and wide to find the best hot chocolates around the world to make <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/winter-vacations/affordable-winter-vacations" target="_blank">your colder months</a> a little more delicious.</p><img alt="Best Hot Chocolate - Old Chocolate House, Belgium "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544042819/old-chocolate-house-belgium-HOTCOCO1218.jpg?itok=vh4d5QW-"><h2>The Old Chocolate House: Bruges, Belgium</h2><p>A family-run business, <a href="http://www.oldchocolatehouse.be/?lang=en/" target="_blank">The Old Chocolate House</a> boasts an extensive range of chocolates and hot chocolates, and a tea room for enjoying other sweets and their famous waffles. Hot chocolate varieties come in milk, dark, white, and single-origin selections. Try their forbidden hot chocolates, made with spirits like Grand Marnier, rum, amaretto, and Bailey’s. Don’t forget to top your hot chocolate with to-die-for garnishes like a marshmallow, Rice Krispies treats, whipped cream, or gingerbread crunch.</p><h2>Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail: Vail, Colorado</h2><p>Known as “Haute Chocolate,” this mug of decadent, creamy hot chocolate is made with <a href="https://www.valrhona-chocolate.com/" target="_blank">Valrhona chocolate</a> and steamed milk, and arrives in a traditional French hot chocolate pot at <a href="https://www.fourseasons.com/vail/" target="_blank">one of Vail’s best hotels</a>. After it’s churned tableside, the hot chocolate is poured into a mug topped with a dark chocolate lattice and a homemade marshmallow nestled inside. As the hot chocolate is poured, the chocolate lattice melts into the cup and the marshmallow makes the already dreamy drink a creamy masterpiece.</p><h2>Angelina: Paris, France</h2><p>Founded in 1903, <a href="http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/" target="_blank">Angelina</a> has been an icon in Paris for over a century and a high-society establishment known for its sophistication and elegance. Their famous African hot chocolate comes from a secret recipe made of African cocoa from Niger, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast, specially created for Angelina. The combination of these chocolates from different countries gives the hot chocolate a thick, rich taste, and the fresh whipped cream served with it lends for a luscious experience.</p><h2>Caffé Rivoire: Florence, Italy</h2><p>A legend in Florence, <a href="http://www.rivoire.it/en/catalogo.aspx" target="_blank">Caffé Rivoire</a> began in 1872 when Enrico Rivoire, chocolatier of the Savoy royal family, opened up shop. Try their hot chocolate <em>denso</em>, an Italian version of hot chocolate almost as rich as chocolate pudding, topped with homemade whipped cream.</p><img alt="Best Hot Chocolate - Mindy's HotChocolate Chicago "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544042819/mindys-hot-chocolate-chicago-HOTCOCO1218.jpg?itok=OWdZpSfN"><h2>Mindy’s Hot Chocolate: Chicago, Illinois</h2><p>James Beard Award-winning chef Mindy Segal <a href="http://www.hotchocolatechicago.com/" target="_blank">opened her eatery</a> in 2005 after working in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, and fans rave about her hot chocolate served with a chunky house-made marshmallow. Varieties include the “Chocolate Mint” with fresh mint, French white chocolate, French milk chocolate, Belgian white chocolate, and “The Boozy,” where a shot of cognac, brandy, whiskey, or rum is added to your choice of hot chocolate.</p><h2>City Bakery: New York City, New York</h2><p>What started as a small operation on a side street in Union Square in 1990 has turned into <a href="http://thecitybakery.com/" target="_blank">a hot chocolate empire</a>. Owner Maury Rubin has used the same hot chocolate recipe from the start to create a deep, dark hot chocolate perfect for a chilly NYC day. Order the original version for a rich treat and don’t forget to add a homemade marshmallow cube.</p><h2>Chocolate Mayordomo: Oaxaca, Mexico<b> </b></h2><p>This family-run business has been creating hot chocolate and chocolate products since 1956. <a href="https://chocolatemayordomo.com.mx/" target="_blank">Mayordomo</a> uses natural ingredients like cocoa, cinnamon, almonds, and sugar to create a rich hot chocolate unique to Oaxaca. There are numerous branches of Chocolate Mayordomo in Oaxaca, where guests can see how the company processes its chocolate.</p><h2>E. Wedel Hot Chocolate: Poland</h2><p>As the oldest Polish brand of chocolate, dating back to 1851, <a href="http://www.wedel.com/" target="_blank">E. Wedel</a> has created a refined brand of drinking chocolates served in “Chocolate lounges” across Poland. Their hot chocolates come in selections like bitter, slightly bitter, milk, double milk, white, and more. You can also get your hot chocolate with flavors like “raspberries in wine,” and “caramel with sea salt.”</p><img alt="Best Hot Chocolate - Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544042819/kakawa-chocolate-house-santa-fe-HOTCOCO1218.jpg?itok=H8KVbl9T"><h2>Kakawa Chocolate House: Santa Fe, New Mexico</h2><p>Founded in 2005, <a href="https://kakawachocolates.com/" target="_blank">Kakawa</a> — an Olmec word meaning chocolate or cacao — specializes in drinking chocolate elixirs based on recipes recreated from historical sources. These hot chocolates range from pre-Colombian to colonial American to contemporary creations, and are served in small hand-painted mugs from Oaxaca, Mexico. Try the Chili Elixir, made with spicy chilies, or the Jefferson Elixir, inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s own recipe.</p><h2>L.A. Burdick: New England</h2><p>Established in New York City in 1987, <a href="https://www.burdickchocolate.com/" target="_blank">L.A. Burdick Chocolate</a> now has multiple locations across New England, producing some of the best chocolates and hot chocolates in the world. L.A. Burdick cafes sell dark, milk, and white hot chocolates, as well as single-source varieties from places like Ecuador, Madagascar, Bolivia, and Peru.</p><h2>La Puerta Falsa: Bogota, Colombia</h2><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/bogota-great-day-trips" target="_blank">In Bogota</a>, head to <a href="http://www.restaurantelapuertafalsa.inf.travel/cms/templates/preview/411/25/index" target="_blank">La Puerta Falsa</a> to experience <em>chocolate completo</em>—hot chocolate served with a small piece of cheese and buttered bread. Don’t be afraid, the sweet hot chocolate combined with salty bread and cheese will leave you never wanting to go back to traditional hot chocolate. Drop small pieces of the cheese into the hot chocolate and let it melt, then use the bread for dipping. No need to thank us.</p><h2>Café Schober: Zurich, Switzerland</h2><p>The secret to <a href="http://www.conditorei-cafe-schober.ch/" target="_blank">this Old Town Zurich café’s</a> rich, creamy hot chocolate? Melting chocolate into whole milk for an impossibly decadent winter treat. Order yours with a dollop of fresh cream whipped into peaks resembling the surrounding alpines, or add in a shot of espresso for an afternoon pick-me-up.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Top-rated Travel Pillow Is 30% Off Right Now — Shop Before It Sells Out

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:19
<p>Get your credit cards ready, because <a href="https://www.amazon.com//ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;linkCode=ll2&amp;tag=tlamazonprimebcozzypillow-20&amp;linkId=acde036739f92c97f770bccadf7f5a97" target="_blank">Amazon</a> just launched a lightning deal for their top-rated travel pillow as part of their 12 Days of Deals promotion — and we’re almost certain it’ll sell out.</p><p>With over 3,200 rave reviews and a certified “Amazon’s Choice” banner that dubs it a travel accessory must-have by the online retail giant itself, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DODMU9I//ref=as_li_ss_tl?th=1&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlamazonprimebcozzypillow-20&amp;linkId=28789cbfd725a4eb5d0b100194c4ff0f" target="_blank">the Bcozzy Chin Supporting Travel Pillow</a> should be added to all <a href="https://www.amazon.com/amazonprime/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;ref_=nav_logo_prime_join&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlamazonprimebcozzypillow-20&amp;linkId=374c0df648b466fe92c136527018cb77" target="_blank">Amazon Prime members</a>’ carts — especially at 30% off.</p><p> </p><p>The Bcozzy pillow goes a step further than regular neck pillows. Just wrap it around your neck, rest your chin on the cushy pillow, and get ready for zero head bobbing as you fall asleep.</p><p>But if you want one of these top-rated, chin-supporting travel pillows for $20 (originally $30), then you’ll have to act fast. As one of Amazon’s Lightning Deals, this sale ends around 1:30 p.m. EST — that is, unless it sells out before the timer ends.</p><img alt="BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1531769010/bcozzy-travel-pillow-amazon-prime-BCOZZY0718.jpg?itok=Kp_HtrQ7"><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DODMU9I//ref=as_li_ss_tl?th=1&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlamazonprimebcozzypillow-20&amp;linkId=28789cbfd725a4eb5d0b100194c4ff0f" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $20 (originally $30)</p>
Categories: Travel

This Gorgeous Island Inhabited by 5 Species of Penguins Is for Sale — and You Name the Price

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 09:35
<p>You might want to pack your bags, because we just found your new dream home.</p><p>And the best part is that it’s a whole island... inhabited by <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/penguins-selfies-antarctica" target="_blank">penguins</a>. According to the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-46540282" target="_blank">BBC</a>, Pebble Island, located in the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/island-vacations/vacationing-falkland-islands" target="_blank">Falkland Islands</a>, is officially going up for sale now that the current owners want to move on.</p><p>The 20-mile-long and 4-mile-wide island is currently owned by Sam Harris, great-great grandson of the original buyer, John Markham Dean, who bought the island back in 1869 for only £400 (about $505 USD).</p><p>In addition to five different species of penguins, the island is also home to sea lions, 42 species of birds, 6,000 sheep, and 125 cattle, according to the BBC. The variety of wildlife aside, the island is made up of mountains, lakes, a pebble beach, a few lodges built for tourists, and a former army base. The island has been named an International Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), the BBC reported.</p><p>“It was a difficult decision, but it comes down to the fact that my mum and dad aren't in a position to continue managing it. It's going to be difficult to say goodbye to it,” Harris told the BBC.</p><p>At the moment, Harris is not sure what price he will accept for the island, but he wishes for it to go to someone interested in farming. According to Harris, the island has lots of tourism potential and can manufacture tons of wool that can be sold in the U.K., but that also comes with the responsibility of taking care of the land and the animals who inhabit it.</p><p>“We went to an estate agency to get it valued, but they couldn't value it because we've owned it for so long. There are no recent values on it they can go on. So we're open to offers,” Harris told the BBC.</p><p>We’re guessing they want to sell it for more than $500. According to a <a href="https://www.officialdata.org/1869-dollars-in-2018?amount=505" target="_blank">CPI inflation calculator</a>, the original $505 Dean paid for the island would be the equivalent of $9,358.76 USD today. So, hopefully they get more than that at least.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Actor Is Suing American Airlines After His Finger Got Stuck in an Armrest

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:44
<p>Here’s your casual reminder to watch your fingers when you’re flying.</p><p>Actor Stephen Keys, known for his roles in "Soul Plane<i>," </i><em>Big Time Rush</em> and "Fifty Pills" is currently suing <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/american-airlines" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> and SkyWest over an injured pinky finger, according to <em><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/12/12/stephen-keys-lawsuit-pinky-finger-armrest-american-airlines-skywest/2287412002/" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>.</p><p>According to Key’s lawsuit, he injured his pinky finger after attempting to raise an armrest to reach his seatbelt on a flight back in September. His finger was stuck in the armrest for almost an hour, according to <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/travel/actor-suing-airlines-after-getting-pinky-finger-caught-in-armrest" target="_blank">Fox News</a>.</p><p>“The spring mechanism embedded inside of this hole in the armrest applied intense pressure to plaintiff's finger, immediately inflicting injury, swelling and pain,” it says in the suit.</p><p>His suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 5, claims that Keys suffered subsequent “severe emotional distress and weeks of pain,” <a href="https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Man-Suing-Airlines-Finger-Caught-in-Armrest-502523751.html" target="_blank">NBC Los Angeles reported</a>. Keys says he is unable to drive his car or even play with his children due to the pain of his injury.</p><p>In addition to the pain and anxiety of having his finger caught, Keys also claims he was humiliated when other passengers became aware of his predicament, causing a “spectacle.” Flight attendants and firefighters attempted to help Keys to no avail. An airline mechanic was able to free Keys by disassembling the arm rest, according to <a href="https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/california/Man-Suing-Airlines-Finger-Caught-in-Armrest-502523751.html" target="_blank">NBC San Diego</a>.</p><p>“By the end of it all, he remained entrapped in this nightmarish condition,” it says in the suit.</p><p>“The comfort and safety of our passengers is our first priority. We worked with our partner American to reach out to Mr. Keys regarding his bruised finger and look forward to swiftly resolving this matter. Due to the ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further,” said SkyWest in a <a href="https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/california/Man-Suing-Airlines-Finger-Caught-in-Armrest-502523751.html" target="_blank">statement</a>.</p><p>At the moment, it is unclear what amount of compensation for damages Keys is asking for in the suit.</p>
Categories: Travel

Air France Hires First Female CEO of a Major Airline

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:31
<p>Air France’s new CEO not only has an impressive resume, she’s also great at breaking glass ceilings.</p><p>The European airline’s board of directors named their new CEO on Wednesday after a slew of resignations and employee strikes, and their decision marks a huge historical moment. Anne Rigail, the incoming CEO, is actually the first woman to <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-04/boys-club-on-parade-as-women-struggle-for-top-airline-positions" target="_blank">lead a major airline</a>, <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/in-airline-business-rarity-air-france-picks-a-woman-ceo/2018/12/12/e73b0622-fe76-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.15b3a8cc55b4" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a> </em>reported.</p><p>Rigail, who was previously the company’s executive vice president, customer division, will officially start her term as CEO on Monday, Dec. 17. Benjamin Smith, acting CEO of Air France, personally recommended her for the job, saying <a href="http://corporate.airfrance.com/en/press-release/anne-rigail-appointed-ceo-air-france" target="_blank">in a statement</a>: “Anne is a strong professional in the airline industry. Throughout her career, she has always paid particular attention to employees while implementing the many projects and transformations she has led, and placed the customer at the heart of everything she does.” </p><p>While budget carrier EasyJet was run by CEO Carolyn McCall for seven years and regional airline Air Wisconsin is led by CEO Christine Dreister, no major U.S. carrier has put a woman in its top spot. JetBlue does have a female president and COO (Joanna Geraghty), the second highest position at the company, <em>The Washington Post </em>pointed out. </p><p>The airline industry has not been an easy place to climb the company ladder for women in particular. According to the <a href="https://www.iata.org/publications/economics/Reports/chart-of-the-week/chart-of-the-week-09-mar-2018.pdf" target="_blank">International Air Transport Association</a>, only 3 percent of airline CEOs worldwide were women, compared to 12 percent of women CEOs in other industries. Truly, there is still a long way to go to achieve equality across the board, but Rigail’s new position is a step in the right direction.</p><p>The former AirFrance CEO, Jean-Marc Janaillac, stepped down from his position in May after numerous strikes that cost the company millions of dollars. Soon after Rigail takes her new position, employees will see a 4-percent pay increase that was <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-air-france-klm-unions/air-france-inks-pay-deal-in-milestone-for-new-ceo-idUSKCN1MT2BQ" target="_blank">agreed upon in October</a>.</p><p>However, Rigail will still face pay negotiations with cabin crew and pilots, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-12/air-france-is-said-to-name-its-first-female-chief-executive" target="_blank"><em>Bloomberg</em> reported</a>.</p><p>“I would like to thank Benjamin Smith for the outstanding work he has accomplished during his time as acting CEO Air France...our airline has rapidly taken decisive steps, renewing constructive social dialogue, and proposing a new executive governance structure...I wish Anne every success in her new position, for the benefit of both Air France and the Air France-KLM Group. I am very pleased that she has accepted this very exciting new challenge,” Anne-Marie Couderc, chairwoman of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors, said in a company statement.</p>
Categories: Travel

Carnival’s Newest Ship Will Have the First Roller Coaster at Sea

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:07
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/us-canada/things-to-do/carnival-cruise-lines" target="_blank">Carnival Cruise Line</a> is known for being the most extra fleet in the sea, but its latest announcement may take the cake.</p><p>Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president, shared with <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2018/12/13/carnival-cruise-line-plans-roller-coaster-new-ship-mardi-gras/2298401002/"><em>USA Today</em><i>,</i></a> that the company will soon add the 5,200-passenger ship known as Carnival Mardi Gras to its fleet. It will be the first in a series of new vessels set to arrive by 2020. On board, passengers will be able to experience a number of exciting things, including the first roller coaster ever on a cruise ship.</p><p>"It will be a thrill ride," Duffy said, noting she rode the prototype of the attraction, which was assembled by its manufacturer, Munich-based Maurer Rides, herself. "We think it's a really cool innovation for Mardi Gras, which will have a lot of new guest features and experiences that we have not done before."</p><p>The coaster will go by the name BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster. It will consist of an 800-foot-long track and come with enough twists, turns and drops to satisfy all theme park lovers. At its top speeds, it will reach almost 40 miles per hour. Best of all, as an all-electric roller coasters it will be eco-friendly.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/best-theme-park-style-family-hotels" target="_blank">These Hotels With Roller Coasters and Water Slides Are Like Sleeping at a Theme Park</a><br /><br />At its highest point, the coaster will hit 187 feet above sea level. This is a gift to the passengers, as Duffy noted, "We wanted to be able to give guests (the chance to have) that visual from the top of the ship."</p><p>"People always want more, whether it is (for their) vacations or anything else," Duffy added. "They're looking for something new, different and exciting." </p><p>Of course, the coaster won’t be the only reason to ride this ship. As <em>USA Today</em> noted, the vessel will be the sixth <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/symphony-of-the-seas-worlds-largest-cruise-ship" target="_blank">largest ship in the world</a> at the time it debuts and by far the biggest in Carnival’s fleet. Stay tuned for <a href="https://www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/mardi-gras.aspx" target="_blank">more information and surprises from the ship</a> to come.</p>
Categories: Travel

Vitaminwater Will Pay You $100,000 to Give Up Your Smartphone for a Year (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 07:29
<p><a href="https://www.vitaminwater.com/" target="_blank">Vitaminwater</a> wants you to put down your smartphone. And they’re willing to pay you $100,000 to do it.</p><p>As part of a new contest, Vitaminwater will select one lucky winner to receive a $100,000 cash prize. But, in return, that person must be willing to forgo having a smartphone for an entire year.</p><p>“Did you know 1 out of 2 people say they couldn’t live without their smartphone? yikes. Break the cycle with scroll-free life solution by vitaminwater,” reps for the company wrote.</p><p>To enter, all you need to do is share a message with Vitaminwater on Twitter or Instagram. There, you just need to tell the water company what you’d do instead of scrolling through your phone for a year using the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest.</p><p>While it may seem fun, it does seem a bit difficult, especially when you read the fine print.<br /><br />“You may not use any smartphone for 365 days,” the first rule reads. “If texting is a pleasant experience or you can get on the internet, it’s probably a smartphone.<br /><br />This, Vitaminwater noted, “means you may not physically operate, caress, hug or otherwise be physically affectionate with anyone’s smartphone. If you’re lying in bed and miss your phone, do not attempt to sneak a midnight scroll…just close your eyes and dream about vitaminwater. That’s what we do. Every night. And sometimes at the office.”</p><p>It did, however, add to the page that none of this is “legally binding. At all.”</p><p>So, how will someone be able to survive the year? The company will provide them with a “1996-era cellular telephone that may be used for communication during the contract time period, including a monthly phone plan accompanying the phone,” according to the contest’s <a href="https://www.vitaminwater.com/legal/scrollfree_rules/" target="_blank">official rules</a>. To ensure the person was honest during the year they will be subjected to a “lie-detector test at the end of the contract period.”</p><p>Of course, if you don’t win, you could just take a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/how-to-unplug-on-vacation" target="_blank">digital detox vacation</a> instead. That way, everybody wins.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Probably Won't Spend Christmas Morning Together

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:52
<p>The royal family’s Christmas celebrations are all about tradition. Each year, the entire family heads out to the countryside to take part in a number of activities. Those activities include <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/british-royal-family-christmas" target="_blank">exchanging gag gifts</a>, eating a few roasted birds, and heading out to church together. But there’s one thing Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton will likely have to do alone: eat breakfast.</p><p>According to former royal chef (and current professional royal snitch) Darren McGrady, the Windsor family tends to split off during the early morning hours on Christmas day. That’s because, according to McGrady’s story in the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5186803/What-Royals-REALLY-Sandringham-Christmas.html" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>, “On Christmas Day, the ladies generally opt for a light breakfast of sliced fruit, half a grapefruit, toast and coffee delivered to their rooms – the Queen’s tray is delivered at exactly 9am.”</p><p>However, the males in the family typically head downstairs to the dining room where they partake in a “hearty breakfast.” Their meal, McGrady wrote, comes with “eggs, bacon and mushrooms, kippers and grilled kidneys, to set them up for the 11am church service at St Mary Magdalene.”</p><p>Though, it should be noted, if Meghan or Kate decided they’d rather have a decadent breakfast meal they surely wouldn’t be shunned from the boys' table.</p><p>When the family returns from church, McGrady added, it’s straight to pre-lunch cocktails. At that time, the Queen reportedly requests a gin and Dubonnet and Prince Philip has beer. The rest of the royal crowd will likely sip a glass of Veuve Clicquot.</p><p>Christmas lunch is then served at 1 p.m. sharp, according to McGrady. At that time, “The table features elaborately folded starched white napkins, a silver candelabra with lit candles, wine decanters and red and gold crackers at each setting – a wonderful sight, although there is no shortage of Christmas ‘tat’ elsewhere at Sandringham.”</p><p>Ahh, to be a fly on that wall…</p>
Categories: Travel

A Human Heart Was Accidentally Left on a Southwest Flight

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:20
<p>Earlier this week, passengers on board a Southwest flight were a bit shocked to find out their plane had to turn back. It wasn’t due to weather or mechanical issues. Instead, the plane was forced to turn around because a <i>human heart </i>was left on the plane.</p><p>The flight’s captain, <em><a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/dallas-bound-flight-returns-to-seattle-after-human-heart-was-left-onboard/" target="_blank">The Seattle Times</a></em> reported, came over the intercom to explain that the heart was meant to be left in Seattle. However, the delivery was accidently left on the plane during the previous flight from Sacramento.</p><p>According to Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson, heading back to the Seattle airport was “absolutely necessary” to get the cargo back “as quickly as possible.” He added, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and the safe delivery of the precious cargo we transport every day.”</p><p>Dr. Andrew Gottschalk, one of the passengers on the flight, said he and his fellow passengers were more than happy to turn the plane around to deliver the heart and hopefully save a life. However, he questions how this ever happened in the first place. He told <em>The Seattle Times </em>the incident was a “horrific story of gross negligence,” adding, “The heart in question traveled from California to Washington, to the other side of Idaho, and back to Washington.”</p><p>And, the mystery gets even thicker. According to <em>The Seattle Times</em>, no Seattle-area hospitals said they were involved, and spokespeople for regional organ-procurement organizations said they never use commercial flights for heart transplants.</p><p>“We only use private flights,” Katherine Pliska, spokeswoman for LifeCenter Northwest, the organization that facilitates the transfer of organs for transplant in the Pacific Northwest, told <em>The Seattle Times</em>. “There’s a time limit to get where it needs to go.”</p><p>No word on if the heart made it to its intended destination on time. However, passengers certainly didn’t make it to theirs. Once they landed back in Seattle, the passengers were asked to deplane due to an unrelated mechanical issue. After a five-hour delay, they finally got on their way. This time with no extra hearts on the plane.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight — and It'll Be the Best One of 2018

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:19
<p>Have you ever seen a sky full of shooting stars? Despite the hype about meteor showers, there are, in truth, very few that live up to their billing. However, one of the "big three" of the year, the Geminids, peaks tonight. Expect fireballs!</p><h2> What is the Geminids meteor shower?</h2><p>It's an <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/december-stargazing-geminid-meteor-shower" target="_blank">annual meteor shower</a> that runs from around Dec. 7-16 each year, but it's the peak night of activity that's the one to go shooting star-gazing on. Even better, its shooting stars are distinctly yellow with long tails, truly a sight to behold in a clear sky.</p><h2>Why is it called the Geminids meteor shower?</h2><p>The shooting stars produced by the Geminids meteor shower appear to come from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. It's not all that important for shooting star-gazers, because they can actually appear anywhere in the sky, but any shooting stars you do see will appear to shoot from the general direction of Gemini. Gemini's main bright stars are Castor and Pollux, named after the half-twin brothers in Greek and Roman mythology. The second-brightest star is Castor, about 50 light years from us, while brighter Pollux is 34 light years away.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/adventure-travel/stargazing-adventures" target="_blank">10 Incredible Nighttime Adventures That Take Stargazing to New Heights</a></p><h2>When and where to see shooting stars</h2><p>The midnight hour until about 2 a.m. is when to look for shooting stars. That's not because there are more at that time, but because by midnight you will be firmly on the night-side of Earth. So the sky is darker, and the shooting stars will be higher in the sky, and thus brighter. If you can stand the cold and the sky is clear, shooting stars from the Geminids meteor shower should be observable through until a few hours before dawn. The darker your sky, the better, though you don't have to leave the city to see the brighter ones. If light pollution is a problem where you observe from, at least make sure that no lights are in your field of view. Go stand in the shadows, perhaps behind a wall, building or shed, and you'll see more. Geminids are often very bright.</p><h2>What causes shooting stars?</h2><p>Dust. All that happens is that Earth is moving through a stream of dust and particles left over from the passing of a comet through the solar system. When the atmosphere hits them, the dust particles briefly energize and switch from what astronomers call meteoroids into meteors. However, the Geminids meteor shower is a little different from most because it's caused not by comet debris, but by a near-Earth object. 3200 Phaethon is a 5-kilometer-wide asteroid that's often in the solar system and came within 6.4 million miles of Earth in December 2017. It's an object that has long fascinated astronomers, and the Japanese Space Agency has plans to visit it in a mission called Destiny+, which will launch in 2022.</p><h2>What is the Zenithal Hourly Rate?</h2><p>The Geminids meteor shower has a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of 120. ZHR is astro-talk for "the maximum you would see if you had perfect conditions ... and wide-angle eyes." Since you can't look at the whole sky, you'll miss some of those 120 per hour, but for comparison, most meteor showers have a ZHR of about 10. For the Geminids, you can expect to see around 40 to 50 per hour under a clear, dark sky.</p><h2>When is the next meteor shower?</h2><p>It may be the best meteor shower of 2018, but the Geminids is not the last. That title goes to the Ursids, which peak on Dec. 22. However, it’s one to ignore. As well as offering only about five or 10 shooting stars per hour, the Ursids occur this year during strong moonlight, which will dull them even more. However, coming up on Jan. 3 is the Quadrantids, which has a ZHY of 110. It all depends where you watch it from, but it promises to be a decent show in 2019 thanks to a lack of moonlight.</p><p>Go outside at night at midnight on Dec. 13-14 and look up, and keep looking, and if there's a clear, dark sky, you will be rewarded with some awesome festive fireballs.</p>
Categories: Travel

How European Christmas Markets Are Working to Keep Visitors Safe

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 17:17
<p>On Wednesday, a gunman killed at least two people and wounded 14 more in Strasbourg, home to France’s largest Christmas market. The event, <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/french-police-sought-to-arrest-suspect-ahead-of-strasbourg-christmas-market-attack/2018/12/12/5f47366e-fd95-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html?utm_term=.ebd29d3eaffb" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a></em> reported, was declared an act of terrorism by the Paris prosecutor. A manhunt is still underway to catch the shooter, who fled after allegedly getting injured himself.</p><p>“Once again, terrorism has struck our territory, in Strasbourg,” Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz said in a statement. According to Laurent Nunez, a top Interior Ministry official, the suspect is known to authorities and has a lengthy criminal record. The suspect, <i>The Washington Post </i>added, became radicalized during one of his previous prison stays.</p><p>This, sadly, is not the first time a Christmas market in Europe to be targeted by terror attacks. In 2016, a <a href="http://time.com/4607437/berlin-christmas-market-crash-what-to-know/" target="_blank">Berlin Christmas market</a> was the subject of a truck attack that left 12 people dead.</p><p>However, authorities are diligently working to ensure the safety of the markets and those who come to visit them.</p><p>“There is a general threat from terrorism. There may be increased security in place over the Christmas and New Year period, including at Christmas markets and other major events that might attract large crowds,” the Foreign Office <a href="https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france" target="_blank">advised on its site</a> even prior to this week’s attack. “You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.”</p><p>Beyond remaining vigilant, authorities and experts say there are a few things you can do to help with your personal safety.</p><p>“As holidaymakers, it is important to familiarize yourself with a country’s particular security protocols. In the case of France, holidaymakers should at the very least equip themselves with the <a href="https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/everything-you-should-know-about-the-saip-public-alert-mobile-app" target="_blank">SAIP app</a>, which provides valuable real-time security information on your location coupled with any FCO travel advice,” travel consumer campaigner Frank Brehany told <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/christmas-markets-safety-strasbourg-attack-europe-visit-berlin-terrorism-france-germany-switzerland-a8679166.html" target="_blank"><i>The Independent</i></a>.</p><p>Authorities are also stepping up their efforts to keep the Christmas market areas safe.</p><p>"As in previous years many security measures are visible, you will see physical barriers and uniformed officers along with our own security personnel, surveillance cameras, and equipment, with other security measures active in the background,” Craig Jenkins, executive chairman at Visit Bath, told <a href="https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/in-your-area/bath-christmas-market-security-measures-2228429" target="_blank"><i>Somerset Live</i></a>.</p><p>Guests of the market, Jenkins added, are now subject to random stops and bag checks before going into the markets. This, he noted, is in a bid to prevent attackers from concealing weapons or explosives. And, in case of an attack incident, response units are already stationed close to the festivities. </p><p>In what it calls “unprecedented protection,” Berlin authorities have added massive barricades to ensure attendees' safety this year. The barricades come with sand- and stone-filled bags, which are also bolted down. Private guards will also be on hand alongside uniformed and plainclothes police officers.<br /><br />"This year is quite different from the years before," Uwe Timm, CEO of German working group AG City, shared in a <a href="https://securitytoday.com/articles/2018/11/28/new-security-measures-for-berlin-christmas-market-following-attack-in-2016.aspx" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This time it was mainly about the question of how to combine the comfort of a visit with security. Despite increased security measures, the accessibility for visitors is guaranteed.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This Glamping Retreat Is the Best Way to Stay at Mount Rushmore — Here's How to Book

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:15
<p>Summer calls for a road trip, and I was excited for a long weekend exploring the great outdoors of South Dakota’s Black Hills, a small mountain range in the state’s scenic western corner — and the home of the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/landmarks-monuments/mount-rushmore-unique-facts-history" target="_blank">Mount Rushmore</a> National Memorial.</p><p><a href="https://www.nps.gov/moru/learn/management/statistics.htm" target="_blank">Some 2.5 million visitors</a> come to Mount Rushmore every year, and many of them stay in the bustling town of Keystone. It offers plenty of hotels and motels (with giant buses parked right out front) and tourist shops hawking Mount Rushmore T-shirts and hand-carved totem poles. I, however, was looking for a property that would provide an experience more in keeping with the area’s wild open spaces.</p><p>I’ve never been one for roughing it, so I was excited to learn that Under Canvas — a company that operates high-end “glamping” tents at popular National Parks including Moab, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains — had just opened its <a href="https://www.undercanvas.com/camps/mount-rushmore/" target="_blank">Mount Rushmore location</a>. I could enjoy starry nights, pine-scented air and around the campfire, but still have the luxury of a plush bed, high thread-count sheets, and a hot shower.</p><img alt="Living Space, Under Canvas Mount Rushmore "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1535730275/living-space-under-canvas-mount-rushmore-UNDERCANVAAS0818.jpg?itok=BLC0i4Pa"><p>Inspired by luxurious African safari camps, the Under Canvas founders, Sarah and Jacob Dusek, believe that experiencing the outdoors <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/under-canvas-glamping-mount-rushmore-south-dakota" target="_blank">doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the creature comforts</a>. At Under Canvas Mount Rushmore, all of the solar-powered tents come with Wi-Fi in addition to wood-burning stoves, daily housekeeping, and en-suite bathrooms. The décor is Scandinavian-inspired, with high backed wood chairs on the private deck overlooking the dark, dense national forest, and natural leather butterfly chairs to enjoy the wood-burning stove on chillier nights inside.</p><img alt="Bedroom, Under Canvas, Mount Rushmore "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1535730275/bedroom-under-canvas-mount-rushmore-UNDERCANVAS0818.jpg?itok=RuFZRJfm"><p>In the main tent, which houses the restaurant, Embers, the staff offered everything from hot cocoa to a full breakfast menu, picnic lunches as well as smoked, grilled and roasted entrees for dinner. Guests could participate in sunset yoga, if they wished, on the adjoining deck. One night, while enjoying Mount Rushmore’s evening lighting ceremony from the property’s main tent, we sampled the house-smoked chicken and grilled vegetables, followed by s’mores on the open fire. We took in the massive sculpture of the four presidents from the Under Canvas grounds and closer up, after a short 10-minute drive along the twisty and scenic Iron Mountain Road.</p><img alt="Tent, Exterior, Mount Rushmore, Under Canvas "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1535730275/tent-exterior-mount-rushmore-under-canvas-UNDERCANVAS0818.jpg?itok=RhLLyYzU"><p>Under Canvas is also environmentally conscious. All of their camps use low-flow toilets, faucets that automatically turn off and, showers that run only when guests pull a chain. (This keeps the water flowing but the shower itself quick.) Solar power is used as much as possible in the 80-tent property. And, to minimize waste, Under Canvas uses no plastics and recycles and repurposes wherever possible. Their plan: by 2020, to produce zero waste.</p><img alt="Under Canvas Mount Rushmore "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1535730275/mount-rushmore-under-canvas-UNDERCANVAS0818.jpg?itok=6Vs7UMlS"><p>The Under Canvas staff is enthusiastic, and wonderful brand ambassadors. After I had asked Alex, the assistant manager and a nature-loving Chicago native, a couple of questions, he invited me to hop into a golf cart to give me a tour, including his favorite tents and vistas along with plans for development next year. This is his fifth Under Canvas; he helped open this property at the start of the summer, after working at those in Moab, Zion, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks.</p><p>The final verdict? For those looking for a unique way to see one of America’s most famous attractions, Under Canvas Mount Rushmore is a game-changer. It has a remarkable, ends-of-the-earth setting in the lush Black Hills, and all the conveniences you could imagine.</p><p>Rates start at $199. <a href="https://www.undercanvas.com/camps/mount-rushmore/" target="_blank">Under Canvas Mount Rushmore</a> will open in 2019 from May 9 to September 29.</p>
Categories: Travel

A 'Christmas Comet' Will Light Up the Sky This Weekend — and It Won't Shine This Bright Again for 20 Years (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:46
<p>A "Christmas Comet" is coming. The night sky might seem like a static, never-changing place, but on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 a 1.2-kilometer-wide <a href="https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/comet-46p-wirtanen-approaches-earth" target="_blank">comet will pass just 12 million kilometers from Earth</a>. That's about 30 times the distance between Earth and the moon, and about as close as comets ever get, but nowhere close enough to be dangerous. However, it is in the sweet spot to make it appear to be brighter than most comets.</p><p>Recently <a href="https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181115.html" target="_blank">featured on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day</a>, Comet 46P/Wirtanen is already the brightest comet in the night sky and is predicted to be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye during the holiday season. Comets rarely get bright enough to see without telescopes, so this is a rare chance to cross comets off your celestial bucket list.</p><h2>What is the Christmas Comet?</h2><p>Known to astronomers as 46P/Wirtanen, it's what's called a short-period comet because it enters the solar system to orbit the sun every five and a half years. Compare that to Halley's Comet, which only appears in the solar system every 88 years. First discovered in 1948 by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen at the <a href="https://www.ucolick.org/main/visit/info.html">Lick Observatory</a> on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, 46P/Wirtanen is about to make its brightest, closest approach for the next 20 years.</p><h2>When to see the Christmas Comet</h2><p>Although it's been visible to those with telescopes and powerful binoculars for a few weeks, 46P/Wirtanen will be both at its brightest, and most easily found, on and around Dec. 16, 2018. That's because on that date 46P/Wirtanen reaches what astronomers call perihelion, when it’s nearest to the sun, so it has the maximum amount of sunlight reflecting from it. It may reach a visual magnitude +4 or maybe even +3, which means that it will be easily visible to the naked eye.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet in the night sky</h2><p>Although it won't be made any easier by the strong moonlight in mid-December, it should not be too hard to find 46P/Wirtanen if you know where to look, and when. It will change position in the sky significantly each night because it’s so close to Earth. The easiest way is to use planetarium apps like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sky-guide/id576588894?mt=8" target="_blank">Sky Guide</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-walk-2-night-sky-map/id892279069?mt=8" target="_blank">Star Walk 2</a>, which contain the exact position of comets, including 46P/Wirtanen. However, it will also help if you know roughly where to look in the night sky.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet with the naked eye</h2><p>The key to finding 46P/Wirtanen on the night of Dec. 16 from the northern hemisphere is to locate the constellation of Orion in the southeastern sky. Find the three famous stars of Orion's Belt, and follow a line from the lowest to the highest star, and on to an unmistakably bright red star, Aldebaran in Taurus. Go the same distance again and you'll see the Pleiades star cluster (also called the Seven Sisters), which is so bright you will probably have already noticed it as a bright smudge in the corner of your eye. 46P/Wirtanen will be just below the Pleiades, slightly to the left.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet on Christmas Night</h2><p>If you want to find 46P/Wirtanen on Christmas Night, perhaps with a new telescope, it will be higher in the sky very close to the bright star Capella in Auriga. The easiest way is to look on Dec. 23, when 46P/Wirtanen will be just below Capella. A couple of days later, it will have moved slightly to the northeast, but if you've already observed it, it should be much easier for you to find it again.</p><h2>How best to observe the Christmas Comet</h2><p>46P/Wirtanen won't be the brightest-ever comet, but with luck, it will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Of course, there's no guarantee. You can maximize its brightness by observing from a dark sky site where there's no light pollution. However, the easiest way of making sure you see it is to use any pair of binoculars. Your peripheral vision is more sensitive to brightness, so when you do find 46P/Wirtanen, try looking just to the side of it. If you want to make sure you get the best possible view of 46P/Wirtanen, find your local astronomy club using <a href="https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-clubs-organizations/" target="_blank">Sky &amp; Telescope's Astronomy Clubs Near Me tool</a>. Amateur astronomers are sure to be out with their telescopes looking for this special Christmas Comet.</p><h2>How to live-stream the Christmas Comet</h2><p>The Virtual Telescope Project, a group of remotely accessible robotic telescopes, is hosting a live online observation called <a href="https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2018/11/07/wirtanen-the-christmas-2018-comet-live-online-observation-12-and-17-dec-2018" target="_blank">"Wirtanen, the Christmas 2018 comet"</a> on Dec. 12 and 16.</p>
Categories: Travel

Tourists Are Flocking to This 'Magical' Holiday Wonderland — Even Though It's Just a Plastic Tunnel Outside a Supermarket

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:14
<p>There’s a particular spot in England that you might not think of as a tourist attraction — until you see it during Christmas.</p><p>A plastic tunnel, called the Bude Tunnel, connects a parking lot to an adjacent supermarket in Bude, Cornwall, England. At any other time of year, it’s a fairly innocuous area. However, it’s actually listed as a tourist attraction on <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g190804-d12865329-Reviews-Bude_Tunnel-Bude_Bude_Stratton_Cornwall_England.html" target="_blank">TripAdvisor</a>.</p><p>In fact, back in September, the tunnel was actually ranked one of the best attractions in the area on the site, with more than 160 comments on it, many of which rated it as “excellent,” according to the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-45401354?ns_source=twitter&amp;ns_mchannel=social&amp;ocid=socialflow_twitter&amp;ns_campaign=bbcnews" target="_blank">BBC</a>. It’s since been nicknamed “Britain’s unlikeliest tourist attraction.”</p><p>According to the tunnel’s profile on <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g190804-d12865329-Reviews-Bude_Tunnel-Bude_Bude_Stratton_Cornwall_England.html" target="_blank">TripAdvisor</a>, it consists of 36 metal arches and is over 70 meters (nearly 230 feet) long. “Nowhere else in Bude can you walk this far undercover in a continuous straight line,” it says on the profile.</p><p>Sounds...<em>great?</em></p><p>Even though it’s a popular spot during most of the year, it’s especially “magical,” according to reviews on TripAdvisor, in December. And looking at the photos, it’s easy to see why.</p><p>People have been flocking to the tunnel to ring in the holiday season. The tunnel itself is outfitted with thousands of multicolored Christmas lights, making it a truly Instagram-worthy destination.</p><p>Still, there are a few doubters who are puzzled by the tunnel’s popularity, according to <a href="https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/plastic-tunnel-becoming-thing-cornish-1950869" target="_blank">Cornwall Live</a>. Many other reviewers don’t seem to understand the tunnel’s hilarious and ironic draw. One reviewer said, “Folks I'm not even sure why this has been created as a place! It's a Perspex tunnel at the side of a supermarket - we did use it as the Sainsbury's car park is free for 90 mins so it came in handy but I wouldn't go out of your way to visit and I certainly don't think it's of any architectural importance,” according to Cornwall Live.</p><p>The official lighting of the tunnel took place on Dec. 7, and the lights will continue to be up through Dec. 13, according to the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-cornwall-46466456/christmas-lights-magical-at-bude-supermarket-tunnel?ns_mchannel=social&amp;ns_source=twitter&amp;ns_campaign=bbc_spotlight&amp;ns_linkname=english_regions&amp;ns_fee=0&amp;pinned_post_locator=urn%3Aasset%3A0542d054-edfc-ef4e-93dc-f7476a28eca1&amp;pinned_post_asset_id=46466456&amp;pinned_post_type=share" target="_blank">BBC</a>. Hopefully the massive influx of visitors will convince the tunnel owners to keep the lights up for a few more weeks. Maybe even a gift shop is in order.</p>
Categories: Travel

All WOW Air Flights Are 50% Off Right Now — So You Can Fly to Europe for $150 Round-Trip (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:00
<p>Already known for its low flight prices, budget carrier <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/wow-air-reviews" target="_blank">WOW Air</a> is now offering travelers half off round-trip airfare on all its routes.</p><p>The airline is offering 50 percent off round-trip tickets <a href="https://wowair.us" target="_blank">booked</a> between Dec. 12 and 16 for travel between Dec. 12 and March 31, 2019, giving travelers the chance to explore popular European destinations like Alicante, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Gran Canaria, London, Lyon, Paris, Reykjavik, Tenerife, and Warsaw.</p><p>To receive the discount, travelers simply need to use the promo code <strong>WOWXMAS</strong> when making a booking. Tax and service fees (which start at around $80) and the fuel surcharge (which starts at around $20) are not included in the discount and are added to the final price of flights. </p><p>While WOW Air is known to offer a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/airlines-with-free-stopovers" target="_blank">free stopover program</a> that gives passengers the ability to stop and explore Iceland for an extended layover on return flights between North America and Europe, passengers who want to take advantage of the promotion code will need to forego this perk when booking their flight.</p><p>Prices are subject to change, but some of WOW Air's lowest rates currently include $150 round-trip flights from the U.S. to Europe. Passengers will want to note that WOW Air is a budget carrier and does charge additional fees for amenities such as checked baggage and seat selection, which will add to the overall price of a flight. </p><p>“We are thankful for our WOW passengers and are happy to offer the gift of travel this holiday season for a low price,” WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen said in a statement. "At WOW Air, we are committed to making travel more affordable and accessible to all, knowing that the memories made are gifts that keep giving throughout the year.”</p>
Categories: Travel

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