Travel

How a Con Man Used Richard Branson to Steal $2 Million

Travel and Leisure - 5 hours 31 min ago
<p>Almost everything about Sir Richard Branson’s life feels like a movie. However, the Virgin founder recently shared a tale that is more akin to a bad episode of “Black Mirror” than a blockbuster hit.</p><p>According to Branson, a con man attempted to swindle him out of $5 million by impersonating British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/richard-branson-survives-hurricane-irma" target="_blank">Richard Branson Details 'Traumatic' Experience Riding Out Hurricane Irma</a></p><p>“Six months ago my assistant received a written note on what appeared to be official government notepaper from Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon, requesting an urgent call with me,” Branson <a href="https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/two-million-dollar-heist" target="_blank">explained in a blog post</a>. “I called Sir Michael on the number given. He told me it was an incredibly sensitive matter and that he wanted to be sure there was nobody else in the room whilst I talked to him.”</p><p>Branson went on to explain that the person on the other line claimed a British diplomat had been kidnapped and was being held by terrorists. The person claiming to be Fallon then asked Branson to help pay off the diplomat’s ransom, as the British government could not officially do so.</p><p>“I said to Sir Michael that I was sympathetic to his request, but that in the last week I had come across a couple of incidents where people had been scammed,” Brason wrote. “He said he fully understood and that I should send one of my senior team over to his department at Whitehall to have a quiet word with his secretary. He said that she was the only other person who knew about it and that if we said the code word ‘Davenport’, she would affirm it was for real.”</p><p>However, Branson said, his feeling of unease persisted, so he called Fallon’s office and upon speaking to his secretary learned that it was clearly a scam.</p><p>“I told them what had happened and we passed the matter over to the police,” he wrote.</p><p>Unfortunately, the scams didn’t stop there.</p><p>While he was offline <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/richard-branson-caribbean-hurricane-relief-reconstruction" target="_blank">assisting in the emergency aid effort across the Caribbean</a>, a con man pretending to be Branson swindled a friend out of $2 million.</p><p>“They told me that they had received an email from somebody claiming they were my assistant, to arrange a call with me. When the call happened the con man did an extremely accurate impression of me and spun a big lie about urgently needing a loan while I was trying to mobilise aid in the BVI,” Branson wrote. “The business person, incredibly graciously, gave $2 million, which promptly disappeared.”</p><p>Branson said he believes both scams were by the same person.</p><p>The moral of the story, Branson wrote, was for everyone to simply be cautious about where they give their cash.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/richard-branson-obama-vacation-details" target="_blank">Richard Branson Reveals What It's Really Like to Vacation With the Obamas</a></p><p>“There has been a big rise in fake ad scams online recently, and I’d urge everyone to look out for them and report any you see,” he wrote. “It’s not just online it can happen — it could be on the phone or even in person.”</p><p>He's asking for anyone with any information on the perpetuator of the con on his friend to contact his team and police immediately.</p>
Categories: Travel

5 Easy Ways Ariana Grande Stays Fit While Traveling

Travel and Leisure - 12 hours 35 min ago
<p>Getting fit and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/hilton-new-hotel-room-with-gym" target="_blank">staying in shape while traveling</a> isn’t as difficult as it may seem: you don't need a fancy gym or a ton of free time. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak's goal is to make working out really simple for his busy A-list clients, so his routine is ideal for anyone on the go.</p><p>We went all the way to Hong Kong to work out with Pasternak, who showed us a day in the life of Ariana Grande, in honor of <a href="http://www.reebok.com/us/ariana_grande" target="_blank">her recent partnership with Reebok</a>, and gave us an inside look at what fitness means for her while on the road.</p><p>Below are the five easy ways Grande and the other stars on Pasternak’s roster maintain their figures and manage to squeeze in daily <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/yoga-wellness/vacation-workout-plans" target="_blank">workouts while traveling</a> the world. </p><h2>Get your steps in.</h2><p>“The World Health Organization says you need at least 10,000 steps a day,” Pasternak told T+L. “I say 12,000 steps and you don’t have to kill yourself doing it. There’s no need to be doing wind sprints and you don’t need to push yourself to the point of nausea.”</p><p>The most important thing is to keep your body moving. “The key to being in great shape is this: take your right foot and put it in front of your left and then repeat,” he said. “There are no moves than can compensate for a lack of steps.”</p><h2>Get some sleep.</h2><p>Jetlag may be a problem when visiting a new country, but you need to stay on top of your sleeping schedule at all times.“It’s supposed to be one third of our lives,” Pasternak said. “I’ve spent the last 25 years teaching people how to move and now I’m spending a lot of time showing them how not to move. Sleep is really, really important.”</p><p>In the same way you watch what you eat, you have to always make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to a study done at <a href="http://news.berkeley.edu/2013/08/06/poor-sleep-junk-food/" target="_blank">U.C. Berkeley</a>, sleep depravation leads to unhealthy cravings and triggers the brain to want more junk food, which is counterproductive to a fit lifestyle.</p><h2>Take a break from technology.</h2><p>Feeling good is a big part of staying healthy, and you can do that by eliminating unnecessary stress from your life — starting with your phone. Allow yourself to step away from work emails and social media. Come on, you’re supposed to be on vacation anyway.</p><p>“You need to unplug from technology for at least an hour a day,” Pasternak advised us. “I hope there’s one hour of the day where you put that phone away and do something that forces you to be present. Removing yourself from technology for even an hour will do wonders for your mental health.”</p><h2>Think about what you're eating.</h2><p>Working out is meaningless if you’re not eating right. “There’s no point in spending all those hours burning calories just to replace them with bad ones,” Pasternak said. “‘I hear people saying, ‘What’s the best pre-workout and post-workout thing to eat?’ Unless you’re training for the Olympics, there’s no point of eating a bunch of calories right before you burn them.”</p><p>This isn’t to say you should be depriving yourself — just remember to try things in moderation. “I think [Grande's] always had a healthy diet, but what I've gotten her to do more now is to create balance and moderation,” he said. “To feel OK with indulging and celebrating sometimes. She has really widened the ingredients she's putting in her diet.”</p><h2>Push yourself, within reason.</h2><p>"Pull or lift something heavy,” he said. “Challenge your muscles ideally for at least five minutes a day." </p><p>Since we were in a spacious park, Pasternak started us off with simple cardio that included a quick jog and three sets of lunges across the field. “That's the key to working with people like Ariana is how you make the most of what we have time, equipment, and space-wise without injuring them,” Pasternak said. “Think about it, if you hurt yourself exercising, not only can you not work out for a while, but you won’t be able to do a lot of things. You have to keep efficiency, balance, focus, and safety all in mind.”</p><h2>Pack comfortable clothes.</h2><p>If you don’t bring sneakers, chances are you’re not going to work out. They'll also come in handy for walking around and exploring a new city, and that counts as a way to get your steps in. Do yourself a favor and make moving effortless by packing the appropriate attire.</p><p>“When you’re wearing something comfortable, you’re more likely to move,” Pasternak said. “If you’re wearing <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-walking-shoes-for-travel" target="_blank">comfortable shoes</a>, your feet are happy and that will get you to maybe take the stairs rather than the elevator, or it may result in you walking those extra blocks rather than taking a cab. Sightseeing is the best workout when traveling.”</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Spot Bed Bugs on Your Airplane Seat

Travel and Leisure - 13 hours 33 min ago
<p>A Canadian mother and her 7-year-old daughter reported being covered in bed bug bites after a British Airways flight from Vancouver to London.</p><p>"I hoped that one was a flax seed or an apple seed. Then it started crawling,” Heather Szilagyi <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/16/mother-and-daughter-7-covered-in-bed-bug-bites-after-british-airways-flight-7001891/" target="_blank">told <em>Metro UK</em></a>. “That was the bug I gave to the flight attendant.”</p><p>Flight attendants told Szilagyi that the flight was completely sold out and that there was nowhere else they could sit. When they arrived at London Heathrow, Szilagyi’s daughter had already broken out with bites.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/american-airlines/scorpion-found-on-another-flight" target="_blank">American Airlines Flight Canceled Because of a Scorpion</a></p><p>They spent the rest of their trip washing and rewashing their clothes. However Szilagyi said that on the return flight home, their seats were upgraded and they received “kind and very empathetic” customer service.</p><p>“British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare,” an airline spokesperson told <i>Travel + Leisure</i> in a statement. “Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft.​ The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world.”</p><p>The airline also said that it was in touch with Szilagyi to apologize and investigate the incident further.</p><p>Although travelers may be alert and check for bed bugs in hotels, incidents onboard airplanes receive less attention.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/bed-bugs-rental-cars" target="_blank">Could There Be Bed Bugs in my Rental Car?</a></p><p>Travelers especially worried about bed bugs aboard airplanes can invest in a plastic cover like the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/BugOff-Bug-Seat-Cover-Protector/dp/B0057B13TO?th=1" target="_blank">Bug Off Seat Cover</a>. It’s also prudent to use your own blanket and pillows on long-haul flights instead of using those provided by the airline.</p><p>Passengers who examine their seats and <a href="http://www.stopzbugs.com/bed-bugs/identifying-bedbugs/" target="_blank">discover either live bugs or dark stains</a> should immediately inform cabin crew.</p><p>When an airline receives complaints about bed bugs, they launch an investigation. And, if necessary, they <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/bed-bug-outbreak-on-british-airways-flight/" target="_blank">temporarily take the plane out of service</a> and use specialist teams for a deep cleaning and extermination.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Irwins Are Officially Returning to Animal Planet 11 Years After Steve’s Death

Travel and Leisure - 13 hours 45 min ago
<p>The family of the late <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/crocodile-hunter-steve-irwin-australian-currency-petition" target="_blank">Steve Irwin</a> announced their return to Animal Planet Wednesday, 11 years after his death.</p><p><a href="https://corporate.discovery.com/discovery-newsroom/the-irwin-family-comes-home-to-animal-planet/" target="_blank">Discovery Communications announced</a> that Terri, Steve’s widow, and their two teenage children, Bindi and Robert, will work with Animal Planet to develop and produce new television projects on the network and across the network’s platforms. They will also serve as global ambassadors for Discovery Communications. </p><p>Terri, Bindi, and Robert have continued their father’s legacy since his sudden deadly encounter with a stingray at the age of 44, and they are maintaining his dedication to conservation and wildlife in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/australia" target="_blank">Australia</a> and beyond. Together, they run the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/zoos-aquariums" target="_blank">Australia Zoo</a> and wildlife conservation facility in Beerwah, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/queensland" target="_blank">Queensland</a> and support wildlife research and the protection of endangered species around the world.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“We’re excited to be returning home to Animal Planet and our Discovery Communications family,” Terri said. “We look forward to the year ahead as we embark on new projects and adventures with Animal Planet.”</p><p>The family has long had ties with the network, as Steve Irwin’s animal docuseries "The Crocodile Hunter" was a staple on Animal Planet for many years, airing from 1996 through 2007. Terri Irwin also co-hosted many episodes as the husband and wife team cared for and encountered crocodiles and other <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/animal-tourism-ethics" target="_blank">wild animals</a> around Australia. </p><p>The couple’s children are also no strangers to the television world. Their daughter Bindi, now 19, hosted her own series on Discovery Kids entitled "Bindi the Jungle Girl," which premiered in 2007, and also won season 21 of "Dancing with the Stars." Their son Robert, who is 14, also co-hosted a show on Discovery Kids called "Wild But True," and has made appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"<i> </i>to show off some of Australia’s animals. Both children possess the same enthusiasm and charisma their father was known for, both on-screen and off.</p><p>“Steve Irwin was a champion for all wildlife and he and Terri’s excitement and enthusiasm brought viewers from around the world in touch with nature,” said Patrice Andrews, general manager of Animal Planet. “Their passion for animals, love for their family, and leadership in conservation awareness left a strong legacy that continues today. We are thrilled to have Terri, Bindi, and Robert back in the Animal Planet family.” </p>
Categories: Travel

When You Can Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower and See Shooting Stars

Travel and Leisure - 14 hours 35 min ago
<p>August is one of the most popular months for getting outdoors and going camping. By coincidence, this is also the very finest month for stargazing.</p><p>Every August, Earth orbits through a massive stream of debris left behind by a comet, creating hundreds of bright shooting stars every hour for days on end. If you've never seen the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/dark-sky-for-watching-meteor-shower" target="_blank">Perseid meteor shower</a> during your lifetime, it's probably just because you weren't somewhere dark.</p><p>Dependably bright, this incredible show of shooting stars isn't just worth seeing — it's actually <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/perseid-meteor-shower-august" target="_top">worth traveling to see</a> on as dark a sky as you can find.</p><h3>What are the Perseids?</h3><p>The Perseid meteor shower is caused when the Earth's orbit of the sun intercepts with a trail of dust and tiny meteors left behind by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the Sun every 133 years and last swept through the solar system in 1992. This is a huge mass of debris so big that the Perseid meteor shower will run from July 17 to August 24 in 2018. That's a whopping five week meteor shower, during which you can can expect to see as many as 60 to 100 fiery, colorful, and exceptionally bright shooting stars every hour.</p><h3>When can I see the Perseids?</h3><p>Although the Perseid meteor shower is technically a long, all-summer event, it's best viewed in 2018 around its peak, on the night of Sunday, August 12 and into the early hour of August 13. As luck would have it, that's only one day after the new moon. (That means the moon will make a brief appearance as a crescent, and set long before the night side of Earth collides with the Perseid stream.)</p><p>The few days prior will be almost as impressive — and in 2018, just as dark — so you're not limited to one night. You should also be able to see a particularly bright planet Venus high above the horizon in the evening sky until the meteor shower begins. The darkest hours are right before the dawn, so the prime time to see the meteor shower is around 4:00 a.m.</p><h3>Where should I look to see the Perseids?</h3><p>The debris stream lies in the region covered by the constellation Perseus, which follows the constellation Cassiopeia across the night sky. It's a northern constellation, so the Perseid meteor shower is most easily viewed from the northern hemisphere (the view from below the equator is poor).</p><p>But don't obsess about finding the constellation of Perseus, because the shooting stars can appear anywhere in the night sky. If you trace them back to their origin, you'll come to Perseus (the so-called 'radiant point'), which will be in the north-eastern sky during August.</p><p>The best technique for seeing Perseid shooting stars is to gaze generally north-east, about mid-way between the horizon and the zenith (the point in the night sky above your head) and don't stop looking. Don't check your phone, either, as you will definitely miss a shooting star, and the bright white light will kill your night vision.</p><p>Because artificial light can ruin even the best meteor shower, stargazers will want to get to rural areas — and perhaps even an <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/worlds-most-beautiful-dark-sky-sites-stargazing-tourism" target="_blank">International Dark Sky Park</a>. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, too. </p><h3>When will the Perseids come back?</h3><p>The Perseid meteor shower will return in 2019 , peaking on the night of Monday, August 12 — but it won't be anywhere near as easy to spot a shooting star. That's because a full moon will occur just three days later, meaning the skies will be washed-out by strong moonlight for all of the 2019 show.</p><p>Whether you book a national park campsite or decide to drive out into the countryside, it's wise to <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/where-to-see-perseid-meteor-shower" target="_blank">make your travel plans</a> early for the Perseid meteor shower in 2018. Because with so many bright fireballs on the horizon, you won't be the only one <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/stargazing-gear-equipment" target="_blank">stargazing</a> that night. </p>
Categories: Travel

This Hotel Chef's Hack Will Get You Tastier Room Service Every Time

Travel and Leisure - 14 hours 35 min ago
<p>Few things are as luxurious as waking up in a hotel room and having a slow breakfast in bed with a plush robe and slippers — except when the lids come off to reveal a plate of congealed eggs, soggy potatoes, and lukewarm coffee.</p><p>Preparing food is both an art and a science. And much like how chefs must <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/airplane-food-tastes-different" target="_blank">change their recipes for airplanes</a>, there are certain dishes that should be altered to make the transition from kitchen to room service.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/paris-hotel-books-room-service" target="_blank">You Can Order a Book From Room Service at This Paris Hotel</a></p><p>The problem lies in the hospitality lid. Although necessary to ensure the cleanliness of a meal, hot foods continue to steam underneath the lids and cook themselves even further after leaving the kitchen.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/luxury-hotel-amenities" target="_blank">12 of the Wildest, Strangest, and Most Over-the-top Hotel Amenities</a></p><p>“Vented lids cause crispy fried items like fries, onion rings, or even fried shrimp to get soggy from the steam,” Skipp Worden, executive chef at the <a href="http://www.westinjekyllisland.com/" target="_blank">Westin Jekyll Island</a> in Georgia, <a href="http://www.southernliving.com/travel/travel-experts-weigh-in-what-not-to-order-hotel-room-service#onion-rings-room-service" target="_blank">told <em>Southern Living</em></a>.</p><p>The lids can also cause cooked vegetables to lose their flavor and texture, pizza to soften its crispy crust, and soup to change textures.</p><p>But for those dead set on a particular menu item, there are a few hacks to ensure your meal is edible once it arrives. Avoid soggy fries by requesting they’re cooked extra crispy — or even burnt, Worden says. However when ordering meat, do the exact opposite. Request steak one degree rarer than normal, as it will continue to cook on the delivery trolley.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Eat a Christmas Feast and Attend the Yule Ball at the Real-life Hogwarts

Travel and Leisure - 16 hours 28 min ago
<p>Harry Potter fans: Prepare your hearts (and your stomachs) for the ultimate Christmas gift.</p><p>This year, Potterheads will officially have the chance to stuff their faces at the Christmas feast in the Great Hall and dance the night away at the Yule Ball, surrounded by a snowy, festive scene at <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/amusement-parks/waizarding-world-of-harry-potter-christmas" target="_blank">Hogwarts</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/disney-world-ultimate-christmas-package" target="_blank">Disney World Just Announced an Ultimate Christmas Package Full of Exclusive Experiences</a></p><p>The magical experience is courtesy of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/harry-potter-work-hogwarts" target="_blank">an exhibit</a> that opened in 2012 to give fans of the J.K. Rowling series a chance to step into the very sets and interact with the props that were used in all of the films. This year, the attraction will experience a festive makeover like never before.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><a href="https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/hogwarts-in-the-snow" target="_blank">Hogwarts in the Snow</a>, the attraction’s new holiday overlay, will allow guests to see their favorite sets dressed up in festive garb from November 18 to January 28.</p><p>The Gryffindor common room will be warmly decorated for Christmas using original props, fireplaces throughout the tour will be lit and crackling, the Burrow will be brimming with holiday cheer, and the iconic, massive Hogwarts castle model will receive a blanket of filming “snow” (a mixture of granulated paper and salt grains).</p><img alt="Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Hogwarts Christmas Holiday "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1508343686/hogwarts-snow-harry-potter-studio-london-POTTERXMAS1017.jpg?itok=eBGqvGcu"><p>The true focal point of the attraction, however, is sure to be the Great Hall, which will be decorated for the Yule Ball for the first time ever. As it was seen in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the hall will be lined with snow-covered Christmas trees, dripping in silver and sparkling icicles, and feature an orchestra of magical musical instruments.</p><img alt="Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Hogwarts Christmas Holiday "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1508343686/christmas-puddings-hogwarts-harry-potter-london-POTTERXMAS1017.jpg?itok=HPUKoc5j"><p>As in years past, the Great Hall will also open its doors to lucky guests for the Christmas Feast, allowing fans to eat <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/harry-potter-world-food-and-drink" target="_blank">the same meal</a> in the same location as some of their favorite story characters.</p><p>This year, the highly popular event has been extended to include three nights of magic from December 11 to 13. Although ticket prices don’t come cheap at £240 (about $316) per person, the evening’s plethora of gifts and extras may be well worth the price. The price includes a seat at a real prop table in the Great Hall, canapes, drinks, a three-course meal, Butterbeer, a wand, and a tour of the studio, as well as dancing and entertainment until midnight.</p><p>Tickets go on sale on <a href="https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/hogwarts-in-the-snow" target="_blank">October 24 at 10 a.m. U.K.</a> local time, so hold on to your Remebrall and set that early alarm for a chance to experience all of the magic.</p>
Categories: Travel

There's a Pringles Advent Calendar, and This Is How You Can Get One

Travel and Leisure - 16 hours 34 min ago
<p>Pringles fans can now celebrate 12 days of crunchy holiday goodness with a new advent calendar.</p><p>Sold by British retailer B&amp;M, the quirky advent calendar comes with alternating flavors of chips for each day, including classic, barbecue, salt and vinegar, and sour cream and onion.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Getting one of the calendars could prove difficult, though — these novelties are selling fast.</p><p>The calendars are officially only for sale in B&amp;M shops in the U.K. for £7.99 (roughly $11), but are also available on <a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pringles-Advent-Calendar-christmas-gift-present-12-days-can-crisps-/253213255682?hash=item3af4afa802:g:aisAAOSw~hBZ45A6" target="_blank">eBay</a> from £17.50 ($23) to <a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pringles-Advent-Calendar-christmas-gift-present-12-days-can-crisps-not-chocolate-/332416013997?hash=item4d6589d6ad:g:WXQAAOSwFfhZ4c0j" target="_blank">£22</a> (roughly $29).</p><p>The Pringles version is one of many unconventional advent calendars available this year, from <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/food/cheese-advent-calendar" target="_blank">cheese</a> to <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/wine/prosecco-advent-calendar" target="_blank">prosecco</a>.</p><p>Last year, B&amp;M caused a stir with its <a href="http://www.bmstores.co.uk/products/reese-s-peanut-butter-cup-advent-calendar-332275" target="_blank">Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup advent calendar</a>, which is available again this year.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Incredible Drone Video of the Swiss Alps Will Take Your Breath Away

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:55
<p>Very few people get to see the gorgeous, snow-capped Swiss Alps from above. But this amazing drone footage offers anyone a thrilling view without leaving your seat.</p><p>The short film, “Elevations,” was shot by Montreal-based Swiss physicist Gabriel Kocher, who also works as a racing drone pilot. The drone races over the rocky landscape, passing sharp peaks and flowing waterfalls, as well as capturing dizzying 360 degree views.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/video/sharks-swimming-drone-footage" target="_blank">Drone Captures Hundreds of Sharks Swimming Beneath Unsuspecting Children</a></p><p>According to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/switzerland/articles/incredibe-drone-video-swiss-alps/" target="_blank"><em>The Telegraph</em></a>, Kocher filmed the video while he was hiking through the Swiss Alps last month. Kocher used a custom-made “first-person” racing drone that he built himself, which simulates the feeling of flying a plane to the viewer.</p><p>“In contrast to regular camera rigs, this kind of machine brings through all the control movements made by the pilot, capturing much more of the sensation of flight,” he told <a href="https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/fpv-drone-swiss-alps/" target="_blank">Digital Trends</a>. “Its very high power-to-weight ratio - around 8:1 - allows it to get very close to obstacles and acrobatic flights.”</p><p>This <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/racer-alps-drone-video" target="_blank">isn't the first time</a> Kocher has captured the Swiss peaks with a drone, but the drone views never fail to impress. You probably couldn’t get closer to flying through the Alps if you sprouted your own wings.</p><p>More of Kocher’s video work can be found on his <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmxYjMCuVNVOoBJX-JnrObA" target="_blank">YouTube channel</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Prince George's Favorite Movie Is Fit for a Future King

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:53
<p>You’ll be happy to know that, at only four years old, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/prince-george-birthday-travels" target="_blank">Prince George</a> already has excellent taste in film.</p><p>During a Sky News interview posted to Twitter by Rhiannon Mills, which was actually conducted by a precocious young boy, Prince William revealed that the royal toddler loves to watch "The Lion King."</p><p>"He quite likes 'The Lion King,'" Prince William says in the clip. "We've watched that a few times."</p><p>What is it about "The Lion King" that Prince George loves? Is it the hilarious antics of Timon and Pumba? Can he just relate to the feeling of “everything the light touches” being his kingdom? Or, perhaps, the little tot just can’t wait to be king.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/next-royal-baby" target="_blank">5 Things We Already Know About the Next Royal Baby</a></p><p>Whatever the reason for loving the movie, kids and adults can agree it’s just an amazing Disney classic that you can watch over and over.</p><p>Prince William also added that Prince George has “watched 'Octonauts,'” and is a fan of "Lego movies.” However, Duchess Kate reportedly <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/yoga-wellness/prince-george-and-princess-charlotte-no-ipads" target="_blank">tries to limit their children's screen time</a> as much as possible.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s How to Get a Great View of Uranus This Month

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:14
<p>The month of October is a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/asteroid-passing-by-earth" target="_blank">stellar one</a> (or “interstellar” one, if you will) for skywatchers around the globe. Not only is the month filled with spectacular nighttime shows by comets whizzing by Earth, but as <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/skywatching-guide-october-uranus-meteors-moon-space-science/" target="_blank"><em>National Geographic</em></a> noted, October will also be the month where one of the galaxy’s most distant planets becomes visible by the naked eye.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/october-stargazing-draconid-meteor-shower-tonight" target="_blank">The Orionid Meteor Shower Is About to Peak — Here's How to Make Sure You See It</a></p><p>The planet Uranus, which is made up of mostly ice, will reach “opposition” on October 19, <em>National Geographic</em> reported. That means it will be positioned directly opposite the sun and will reflect light throughout the night. The month also marks the icy giant’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit.</p><p>But make no mistake, Uranus is still very, very far away from planet Earth — about 1.7 billion miles to be exact. And although it is possible to see it with the naked eye, it’s best to view Uranus through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.</p><p>“It’s visible all night long and its blue-green color is unmistakable,” Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4945198/NASA-reveals-Uranus-visible-sky-month.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>. “It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye – and for sure in binoculars.”</p><p>If you don’t have the right equipment available, you can simply try to find the darkest zone around you, free from any light pollution, and stare up into the dark night sky toward the constellation Pisces. Maybe even try to plan a quick trip to one of the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/worlds-most-beautiful-dark-sky-sites-stargazing-tourism" target="_blank">world’s best skywatching destinations</a>. Because everyone wants a good view of Uranus, right?</p>
Categories: Travel

Many of the Northern California Wineries Are Already Rebuilding Despite Continuous Fire

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:00
<p>More than a dozen <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/restaurants/article/Wineries-reel-in-the-wake-of-North-Bay-fires-12263825.php" target="_blank">wildfires have attacked Northern California</a> over the past week, killing at least 40 and destroying thousands of homes and businesses, including some of the country's most beloved wineries. Napa's <a href="http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/signorello-winery-destroyed-california-fire-378188/" target="_blank">Signorello Estate</a> and <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/wine/article/White-Rock-Vineyards-assesses-fire-damage-looks-12276195.php" target="_blank">White Rock Vineyards</a>, established in 1870, are among a long list of area <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/wine/best-vineyards-yelp" target="_blank">vineyards</a> that have reportedly experienced major damage. </p><img alt="Santa Rosa Wine Region Destroyed "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1508170354/barrels-paradise-Ridge-Vineyards-FIREWINE1017.jpg?itok=2_4yA1dh"><p>While there’s no replacing what was lost, emergency service workers and the devastated community are fighting back. On Sunday, the high winds started to slow down, allowing firefighters to gain ground and <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/16/557986665/firefighters-gain-ground-on-california-wildfires" target="_blank">contain some of the fires</a>. Of the tens of thousands of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/sonoma-valley-fire-update" target="_blank">people who had to evacuate</a>, the Associated Press reports<b> </b>some have begun to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/10/16/us/ap-us-california-wildfires.html" target="_blank">return to their homes</a>, and local business owners and employees say hope is on the horizon. </p><p>“Only the building was lost,” Pierre Birebent, a winemaker from Signorello Estate told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. “We’re thankful that the vineyards are still intact and all of the wine is remained in the tanks, we just have to assess and make sure the quality is still good.”</p><p>Caroline Shaw, president of the Sonoma County Vintners, explained that most of the harvest was done earlier in the year. “On a positive note, many of the grapes had been harvested in Northern California prior to the fire,” she said. “Because of this we believe the 2017 harvest will showcase the exceptional quality and style Sonoma County wines are known for. This is a strong and resilient community. We have a good natured competitiveness out in the marketplace and without question we will work together to help our neighbors rebuild.”</p><p>Meanwhile, Andrew Cates, owner of Segassia Vineyard, expects everything to be destroyed — but according to a spokesperson, the damage isn’t getting them down: "They plan to take the grapes from wineries that can no longer be used and turn them into <a href="https://rayzyn.com/pages/shop" target="_blank">Wine RayZyns</a>, a new superfood fruit snack. Part of product sales for the month of October will go towards the Napa fire relief efforts."</p><p>The owners of Sonoma County’s Ancient Oak Cellars still haven’t been able to return to their vineyard. The family winery's house and barns were destroyed, according to owner Melissa Moholt-Siebert, but all may not be lost. "We believe our vineyards have been spared, but we haven’t been allowed back on the property yet, though we have seen it from a distance and in aerial photography,” she said.</p><p>Though there is no shortage of reasons to stop and mourn, fires have long been a sad reality for the area, and members of the community are ready with plans to rebuild. “We are a 160-year-old, family-owned business. This isn’t the first disaster or obstacle that we’ve faced — we’re able to tap into a history of overcoming challenges that our family laid out before us,” Katie Bundschu, vice president of Gundlach Bundschu Winery, told T+L. “In terms of rebuilding and recovery, we’re lucky to have our team at our side to help us get back to a place where we can host our customers on our property — whether at a tasting or at a concert in our barn — as well as continue to send our wine across the country. Our employees and team are our family, and we all look forward to getting both our property and our community to where it needs to be. We’re persevering, and we are also hopeful.”</p><p>At the same time, the Mayo Family Winery pointed out that business owners could face a challenge in getting people to come back out once the fire subsides. “My concern is October is our best month for visitors, so we need to get a campaign to try to get people here in November, December, and January,” owner Jeffrey Mayo said. “The fires are out and so is the welcome mat, I realize that will be tough though.”</p><p>Given the optimism and willingness of these local businesses to work together, it's clear that however long it takes, Northern California will make a comeback.</p>
Categories: Travel

Prince William and Kate Will Visit Sweden and Norway Right Before Their 3rd Child Arrives

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:12
<p>Shortly before announcing the official <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/william-kate-third-child-due-date" target="_blank">due date of their third child</a>, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will depart on an official trip in early 2018.</p><p>Within the coming months, Will and Kate will visit Sweden and Norway on behalf of the British Foreign Office. Official dates for the trip have not yet been set.</p><p>It’s also unknown whether Prince George and Princess Charlotte will join the tour. As George recently started school, he is unlikely to join unless the dates of his trip align with the school’s vacation calendar.</p><p>The British foreign office likely requested the trip as part of Will and Kate’s <a href="http://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a9639696/kate-middleton-luxembourg-visit/" target="_blank">unofficial duties as Brexit ambassadors</a>, meant to strengthen ties with European countries as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. British ambassadors in Oslo and Stockholm wrote on Twitter that the upcoming trip was “exciting” and that they were looking forward to “showing off the breadth and depth” of the countries’ relationships.</p><p>Prince William will be spending considerable time in Scandinavia over the next few months. At the end of November, Will will visit Finland for two days on behalf of the foreign office.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/william-kate-third-child-due-date" target="_blank">When the Royal Family Is Expecting Baby No. 3</a></p><p>Kate will not join the upcoming trip, due to severe morning sickness (which she also suffered during her previous pregnancies). The condition she has generally improves as women progress through pregnancy.</p>
Categories: Travel

Jessica Alba Can’t Stop Wearing These Slip-on Shoes to the Airport

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 16:06
<p>We'll be the first to admit that traveling is not without its discomforts. Though if you’re expecting, the process of getting from A to B can be especially uncomfortable.</p><p>Things like long airport layovers, multi-hour flights, and TSA security checks that require you to take off your shoes aren't exactly the most pleasant experiences to partake in while pregnant. But that doesn’t mean you have to quit exploring the world. And sometimes, it’s not an option if traveling is in your job description.</p><p>So if want to make your next trip a little more bearable and comfortable, look no further than another expectant jet-setting mom — Jessica Alba. The actress is currently pregnant with her third child, but that hasn’t stopped her from running her A-list-level errands wherever in the world they may take her. And it seems like her secret to a smooth and enjoyable journey is a pair of <a href="http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-warren-slip-on-sneaker-women/4421543" target="_blank">Vince slip-on sneakers</a> that she literally can’t stop wearing.</p><p>These kicks have a sporty silhouette and a one-and-a-half-inch bumper platform, and they're as versatile as they make them. Plus, they are so easy to put on and take off — thanks to their elastic side goring — that you don’t need to bend, which, let’s be honest, can be a bit of a challenge when you have a baby bump.</p><p>Alba has also found different ways to style them, from an all-black ensemble to a cropped jumpsuit— which is a testament to the sneakers’ functional design. She even owns another pair in soft pink.</p><p>Now, the only thing left to do is start <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/how-to-babymoon" target="_blank">planning your babymoon</a>.</p><img alt="Platform Sneaker "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1507928521/white-platform-sneaker-ALBASHOES1017.jpg?itok=vsnM-gDe"><p><strong>Vince Warren Slip-on Sneakers</strong></p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-warren-slip-on-sneaker-women/4421543" target="_blank">nordstrom.com</a>, $225</p>
Categories: Travel

Disney World Just Announced an Ultimate Christmas Package Full of Exclusive Experiences (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 15:54
<p>If all you want for Christmas is the perfect adventure in the Magic Kingdom, Disney is ready to make your dreams come true. Disney World has <a href="https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/ultimate-christmas/" target="_blank">just announced</a> the Ultimate Disney Christmas Package for the 2017 holiday, and the festive perks have us dying to book a trip.</p><p>This Christmas package is designed specifically around <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/disney-christmas-travel-tips" target="_blank">the holiday</a>: Guests who buy the package will arrive on December 21 and leave on December 26, enjoying a full itinerary of exclusive experiences in between. The offer includes a 5-night stay at select moderate and deluxe Disney resorts, 4-day theme park tickets with Park Hopper options, and a ton of exclusive events.</p><p>First, guests will receive tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a festive winter celebration complete with fireworks, live shows and a holiday parade in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/walt-disney-world-orlando-guide" target="_blank">Magic Kingdom</a>, on December 21. Then, package guests will enjoy exclusive nighttime access to the new Pandora - The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom on December 22. The following day will include an exclusive holiday character experience at Hollywood Studios, followed by a special Christmas Eve dinner celebration at Epcot on December 24. On Christmas Day, a holiday gift will even be delivered to guests’ hotel rooms to round out the magical experience.</p><p>With so many exclusive offerings, Disney stresses that the package is very limited, and asks that interested guests <a href="https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/ultimate-christmas/" target="_blank">call to book</a> with a personal vacation advisor or book <a href="http://wdwnt.com/blog/2017/10/disney-announces-new-ultimate-disney-christmas-package-walt-disney-world/" target="_blank">through a travel agent</a>.</p><p>Depending on where a family <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/best-disney-world-hotels" target="_blank">chooses to stay</a>, the package can be purchased for a somewhat reasonable price (by Disney standards).</p><p>With the package starting at $139 per person, per night, a family of four could stay in a standard room at the Coronado Springs Resort, a moderate resort offering, for a total package price of $2,775, the site states. Alternatively, a stay at the more expensive Saratoga Springs Resort or Animal Kingdom Lodge would run a family of four $3,721 or $3,777 in total, respectively. Dining plans can also be purchased separately.</p><p>Bookings for the package are available now through December 10, but again, the experiences are limited. (Kids, that means you have just enough time to convince your parents you’ve been <em>really</em> good this year.)</p>
Categories: Travel

We Finally Know Kate Middleton's Due Date (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 15:38
<p>Ever since Prince William and wife Kate Middleton announced they were <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/next-royal-baby" target="_blank">expecting their third royal child</a>, the world has been abuzz with different theories on whether it will be a boy or a girl, what his or her name will be, and of course when the Duchess will give birth. Now, we know the answer to at least one of those questions.</p><p>On Tuesday, Kensington Palace tweeted that the royal couple would welcome their third child in April of 2018.</p><p>“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in April 2018,” the tweet simply read.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a13034262/kate-middleton-due-date/" target="_blank"><i>Harper’s Bazaar</i></a> noted, this means that baby number three will share a birth month with his or her great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who was born on April 21.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/kate-middleton-new-haircut" target="_blank">Kate Middleton’s New Haircut Will Become an Instant Classic</a></p><p>Since we now know when the baby is expected to arrive, we can focus our royal betting on what the child’s name will be.</p><p>No official name choices have been announced, and it is unlikely that information will be revealed before Middleton gives birth, however, <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/4387256/here-are-the-bookies-baby-name-predictions-for-prince-william-and-kate-middletons-third-baby-and-some-of-the-suggestions-may-surprise-you/" target="_blank">bookies across the world</a> are already busy taking bets on a few names. It appears those taking and placing bets believe that the royal couple will once again choose something traditional, like Alice, Elizabeth, or Victoria for a girl and James, Arthur, or Philip for a boy.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/4387256/here-are-the-bookies-baby-name-predictions-for-prince-william-and-kate-middletons-third-baby-and-some-of-the-suggestions-may-surprise-you/" target="_blank"><i>The Sun</i></a>, there are a few outliers in the betting world who believe if the third child is a girl the Duke and Duchess will name her after William’s late mother, Princess Diana. However, Diana is already Princess Charlotte’s middle name. </p>
Categories: Travel

Google Pixel 2 Review: What Travelers Will Like About the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 14:00
<p>Google announced the next iteration of its signature smartphone <a href="http://time.com/4968875/google-pixel-2-event-specs/" target="_blank">earlier this month</a>. Now we've gotten a hands-on look, and it's safe to say this phone could be a traveler's best friend.</p><p>The Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, available beginning October 19, are sleek and lightweight, with great battery life and the <a href="https://www.dxomark.com/google-pixel-2-reviewed-sets-new-record-smartphone-camera-quality/" target="_blank">highest-rated smartphone camera</a> available. Combine the devices with Google's suite of travel-related apps and services (namely Maps, Trips, Translate, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/google-flights-hotels-update-savings" target="_blank">Flights and Hotels</a>), along with the increasingly intelligent Google Assistant, and even an iPhone loyalist might want to consider a switch.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/new-apple-iphone-x-release-price" target="_blank">The New iPhone X Costs $999 and Features an Edge-to-edge Screen</a></p><p>The Pixel 2 starts at <a href="https://store.google.com/product/pixel_2" target="_blank">$649</a>, and the Pixel 2 XL starts at <a href="https://store.google.com/product/pixel_2" target="_blank">$849</a>. Compare that to starting iPhone prices of <a href="https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-iphone/iphone-8" target="_blank">$699</a> for the iPhone 8, and <a href="https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-iphone/iphone-8" target="_blank">$799</a> for the iPhone 8 Plus.</p><p>Here's our review, highlighting the features that have the most utility on the road.</p><img alt="Google Pixel 2 "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1508191834/google-pixel-2-NEWPHONEG1017.jpg?itok=3FOv8G5b"><h2>The Google Pixel 2 features to know</h2><h3>Camera</h3><p>Smartphone cameras have officially replaced the DSLR. Why drag along a camera bag of equipment when have a quality camera in your pocket?</p><p>The 12.2 MP rear “smart” camera set a “new record for overall smartphone camera quality,” in a test performed by DxOMark Image Labs. Overall, it scored 98 out of 100, with a 99 for photo performance and 96 for video. (For video, that's the top score of any smartphone camera. For photo performance alone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has the only phone camera to beat it, with a perfect 100.)</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/fall-foliage-photos" target="_blank">How to Perfect Your Fall Foliage Photography</a></p><p>DxOMark Image Labs gave Pixel 2's camera especially high marks for exposure and contrast, autofocus, and video stabilization, calling it a “smartphone camera on a new level.”</p><p>In our use of the phone, the accurate autofocus — even with moving subjects — stood out, as did the image stabilization while shooting video. This phone makes videos taken out car windows on road trips (from the passenger's seat, of course) look <em>good</em>.</p><h3>Keyboard translation</h3><p>Texting your Airbnb host who doesn't speak any English? No problem. You can access Google Translate directly from the keyboard. Tap the arrow to the left of the suggested words, then select the translation icon (which is the second one from the left, with the little “G”). Choose the appropriate language and start typing. The translation shows above the text and can be sent directly. Best of all, you can access this feature from the keyboard in any app.</p><p>This will, of course, only be as reliable as Google Translate. And translating received messages is not as seamless: For example, in a text, to access a translation first press and hold the message, then “share” it to the Translation app.</p><p>For even more futuristic translation, there are the Google Pixel Buds, for <a href="https://9to5google.com/2017/10/11/pixel-buds-google-translate-feature-original-pixel/" target="_blank">in-ear, real-time translation</a> — for another <a href="https://store.google.com/product/google_pixel_buds" target="_blank">$159</a>.</p><h3>Google Assistant</h3><p>What Google's virtual personal assistant lacks in a name (Siri and Alexa would probably beat up “Ok Google” on the playground), it makes up in intelligence and integration. With the new Active Edge feature on the Pixel 2, users can give the phone a slight squeeze to activate it instead of having to say “Ok Google.”</p><p>Through voice commands, the Assistant can set alarms and reminders, add events to the calendar, turn on the phone's hotspot or “Do Not Disturb,” take a selfie (of you, not itself), identify a song playing in the background, start playing a song (suggested: “Feels Like Heaven” by Fiction Factory), offer recommendations for a restaurant nearby, book a reservation at that restaurant, and a lot more.</p><p>As the company likes to highlight, the Assistant is connected to the Google's knowledge graph. What this means for users: Anything you can ask Google, you can ask Google Assistant. And not just with words...</p><h3>Google Lens</h3><p>Travelers' new favorite feature could easily become Google Lens, which Pixel users will get access to before it comes to Google Assistant in the “coming weeks,” according to the company.</p><p>Lens provides information about objects — landmarks, buildings, artwork in museums, book and movie covers, and more — based on a photo. Take a photo of something, then ask Google for more information: I tapped Lens on a photo of a palatial hall I took on a recent trip, and in about a second it identified the location — correctly — as Ambras Castle, in Austria.</p><p>But it's easy to find Lens' limitations. I asked it about a series of photos of my dog, Pirate, and it made guesses about her breed that were all incorrect. (She's a Maltese.) But it did always recognize her as a dog, so there's that.</p><img alt="Pirate, the dog, through Google's Lens. "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1508206614/pirate-NEWPHONEG1017.jpg?itok=y40EFhwP"><p>Taking photos and then using Lens is somewhat addictive: It's an in-phone guide on your next trip to a museum, and a digital history book for a tour around a new city.</p><h3>“Now Playing”</h3><p>R.I.P. Shazam. When there's a song playing near you, the phone will feature the name and artist on the lockscreen. Automatically. (As long as it's <a href="http://quinny898.co.uk/resources/pixel-songs/" target="_blank">on the list</a>.)</p><h3>Google Pixel 2 security</h3><p>While not as sexy as the camera, Google is definitely loading the Pixel 2 up with security features. A built-in security chip as well as three years of Android security updates are comforting when traveling to new places (and connecting to new Wi-Fi networks).</p><h2>Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL specs</h2><p>Google is releasing the Pixel 2 in two sizes, and three colors. The phones are water resistant and feature a 12.2MP rear camera, and 8MP front camera.</p><p>The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch AMOLED screen, with a 16:9 ratio, and is 5.7 inches tall, 2.7 inches wide, and .3 inches thick. At 5.01 ounces, it's a hair lighter than the iPhone 8 (5.22 ounches), while still boasting a wider screen (5-inch vs. 4.7-inch).</p><p>The Pixel 2 XL has a 6-inch pOLED screen (18:9), is 6.2 inches tall, 3 inches wide, also .3 inches thick. At 6.2 ounces, it's significantly lighter than the iPhone 8 Plus, at 7.13 ounces. And it also boasts a wider screen, with 6 inches compared to 5.5. (And for comparison's sake, the iPhone X, which will be available to preorder on October 27, has a 5.8-inch all-screen OLED, and weighs 6.14 ounces.)</p><p>The operating system, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/11/16286012/android-8-review-o-oreo-update-treble-notifications" target="_blank">Oreo</a> (Android 8.0.0), is slick. Android operating systems can get a bad rep because of inconsistency across third-party devices, but buying a phone from Google means updates are immediate.</p><h3>About that headphone jack</h3><p>Like the iPhone before it, the Google Pixel 2 has done away with the headphone jack. We're still not entirely sure this is a move toward a better future (and not a ploy to make us use dongles and buy bluetooth headphones), but it is, alas, the future for which we are headed.</p><p>Old-fashioned headphones can be used with the Pixel 2 using the aforementioned dongle, or bluetooth headphones can easily be paired with the device. Google Pixel Buds, <a href="https://store.google.com/product/google_pixel_buds" target="_blank">for $159</a>, are a travel-friendly, wireless option. And Libratone developed some of its noise-canceling headphones, available <a href="https://store.google.com/product/libratone_q_adapt_on_ear" target="_blank">for $249</a>, especially for Google.</p><h2>Conclusion</h2><p>At $649 and $849, the Pixel 2 and XL are not cheap. High-quality smartphones, as Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and Apple's iPhone X further demonstrate, are and will continue to be accompanied by a hefty price tag.</p><p>However, the Pixel 2's impressive camera, travel-friendly features, and virtual assistant integration show that you get what you pay for. We were impressed by the Pixel's capabilities, and recommend a closer look to anyone considering a new phone — especially to anyone who already relies on services like Gmail.</p>
Categories: Travel

What to Do in Tokyo’s Marunouchi and Otemachi Neighborhood

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 13:39
<p>The business district of Marunouchi is home to Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace, and several hotel chains, but the past decade has seen a big change here, as well as the neighboring area of Otemachi. And while business is still at the heart of these neighborhoods, there is now an interesting choice of restaurants, bars, and sites that make it a great place to stay (even if you aren't in town just for work). High-end shoppers, meanwhile, will be delighted to board the glass elevators that whisk them between destinations, from Diesel to Bottega Veneta, from Harrods to YSL. For things to do aside from shopping in luxury fashion boutiques, though, check out these six Marunouchi spots.</p><h2><a href="http://ts-restaurant.jp/about/tantan/" target="_blank">T's Tantan</a></h2><p>Steaming bowls of vegan noodles, piled high with crisp vegetables and savory toppings, are served in this busy ramen joint inside Tokyo Station. Diners with big appetites will need a side.</p><h2><a href="https://www.aman.com/resorts/aman-tokyo" target="_blank">Aman Tokyo</a></h2><p>Modern, minimalist Zen stylings (indoor gardens, sliding shoji doors, handcrafted washi paper ceilings) take over the top floors of the new Otemachi Tower near the Imperial Palace. There's a wellness center featuring Japanese baths, signature sake at the bar, and traditional omotenashi service — anticipatory hospitality.</p><h2><a href="http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/shop/marunouchi-tokyo.html" target="_blank">Ippodo Marunouchi</a></h2><p>Immerse yourself in the world of Japanese tea at the Marunouchi branch of the 300-year-old tea company. Their green tea varieties are grown in Kyoto and include matcha, sencha, hojicha, and others. Stock up on your ultra-specific tea utensils here, too.</p><h2><a href="http://en.palacehoteltokyo.com/restaurant/lounge-bar-prive/" target="_blank">Lounge Bar Privé</a></h2><p>After work, it's great to unwind with a cocktail at the chic Lounge Bar Privé on the Palace Hotel Tokyo's sixth floor, in Marunouchi; order a martini and take in the skyline view.</p><h2><a href="http://www.hokurokusousui.com/en/" target="_blank">Hokuroku Sousui</a></h2><p>The Japanese have always been purists — and they're going green, too. Enter Hokuroku Sousui, which carries plant-based hand soaps, herbal teas, and pillows with decorative paper cases.</p><h2><a href="https://jptower-kitte.jp/en/" target="_blank">Kitte</a></h2><p>An airy, multilevel complex of small-brand retailers on the former Central Post Office site opposite Tokyo Station. (Kitte means postage stamp.) Don't miss: H-Tokyo, a charming handkerchief specialist that will custom-embroider pocket squares on the spot.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Urban Legend About a Haunted Hiking Trail Will Give You Chills

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:51
<p>As much as <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/halloween/best-cities-halloween-ranking" target="_blank">Halloween</a> signals a time for creative costumes and endless candy, it is also, at its core, a time for scares. Stories about monsters under the bed or the things that go bump in the night have always raised the hairs on the back of our necks, but in the end, there may be <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/halloween/most-haunted-places-in-the-world" target="_blank">nothing scarier</a> than an urban legend that could <i>almost </i>be real.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/photo-of-ghosts-at-haunted-stanley-hotel" target="_blank">This Photo of 'Ghosts' at the 'Shining' Hotel Will Give You the Creeps</a></p><p>Thanks to Reddit user <a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/ExplodingTacos14" target="_blank">ExplodingTacos14</a> on this month’s <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Paranormal/comments/73jpam/monthly_discussion_urban_legends_all_hallows_eve/" target="_blank">r/Paranormal thread</a>, we have a new legend to lose a little sleep over. So sit back, try to relax, and enjoy the tale of Phoenix, Arizona’s Superstition Mountains:</p><p>“In the early 1800's, the area was in the middle of Apache land. The Apache believed this area was inhabited by dangerous spirits and didn't live or hunt anywhere near it.</p><p>As these things go, Cooper was discovered nearby, and that area was taken from the Apache. If you know anything about the Apache, this was a bloody process. Despite the famous ferocity and war skill of the Apache, the land was opened for mining. Like most newly mine-able land at the time, prospectors rushed in and laid claims in the valley below the area playfully named ‘the superstition mountains.’</p><p>A bit late to the game, Jacob Waltz (a Dutch immigrant) couldn't find a spot to start mining. One day, despite warnings, he wandered into the mountains and hit a huge vein of copper. Every day, he would sneak into the mountains and return with bags of copper. He quickly became the richest man in the area.</p><p>People would follow him to the mine every day, but he was always able to loose them (the mountains are steep and rocky, so not surprising). Many of those who followed him were never seen again. One day, while trying to evade someone following him, Jacob slipped and fell to his death, and the location of his mine died with him.</p><p>To this day, no one knows the location of the mine, or if it is even real. Hundreds of people <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/mens-hiking-shoes-boots" target="_blank">hike into the mountains</a>, sure they will find millions. To this day, it has never been found. It has been dubbed ‘the lost [dutchman] mine.’</p><p>Some think that the Apache spirits use the mine as a trap for greedy prospectors to punish those who stole their land. Unwise people die all the time on Phoenix trails (yes, you will die if you try to hike with one bottle of water in August - it happens every summer). The mystery with the superstition mountains is the bodies are never found. This area is in town and has cell reception so tourists stay on the main trail, and are easily found by park rangers, but locals who go looking for the lost treasure simply [disappear].</p><p>Some think there was never a mine at all. They say Jacob made a deal with the spirits - They rewarded him with wealth for a blood sacrifice of the prospectors who stole their land.</p><p>I thought this was a fun local story when I moved here, but every few months, there [are] local news reports on missing ‘experienced hikers’ last seen in the area and it makes you wonder.”</p>
Categories: Travel

JetBlue Has $64 Flights to the Caribbean — Here's Why You Should Go

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:37
<p>Instead of leaves, JetBlue wants travelers to “watch fares fall” during their latest <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/deals/falling-fares-sale/?intcmp=?intcmp=H1_NFS_10172017" target="_blank">two-day sale</a>. Short, regional flights (like Long Beach, California to San Francisco and San Jose) are available for as little as $44 one-way.</p><p>But now that the leaves (and temperatures) are dropping, we think the most appealing deals are those to the Caribbean. International flights start at $65 one-way from Florida, and include $74 one-way tickets to the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/bahamas-hurricane-irma-alert" target="_blank">Bahamas</a>, $89 flights to <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/destination-of-the-year/2015-travel-to-cuba" target="_blank">Cuba</a>, $114 flights to Barbados, and $124 one-way trips to Trinidad and Tobago.</p><p>New Yorkers can get a $94 flight to Bermuda, while deals from Boston start at $129.</p><p>If now seems like a funny time to go to the Caribbean — it’s not. In fact, the region needs tourism dollars more than ever.</p><p>And while Hurricanes Irma and Maria inflicted serious damage on certain islands, <i><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/travel/5-caribbean-islands-vacation-hurricanes.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></i><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/travel/5-caribbean-islands-vacation-hurricanes.html" target="_blank"> reported</a> that nearly 70 percent of the Caribbean was entirely unaffected. Areas of the Western and Southern Caribbean, in particular, were not touched by the disastrous storms.</p><p>Many of the islands that were affected — like Turks and Caicos — have rebounded quickly. Only three hours from New York City, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/turks-caicos-hurricane-recovery" target="_blank">this Caribbean destination is open for business</a>, and can be reached for $114 from New York City, $144 from Boston, and a cool $64 from Fort Lauderdale.</p><p>So don’t feel bad about taking a vacation in the Caribbean. “One of the best things you can do is come to this destination,” the director of the Turks and Caicos tourist board, Ramon Andrews, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/turks-caicos-hurricane-recovery" target="_blank">told <i>Travel + Leisure</i></a> earlier this month. “It’s definitely going to help with the rebuilding efforts.”</p><p>Whether you head south or stick to destinations closer to home, JetBlue’s airfare sale is valid on travel between October 25 and December 14, with blackout dates around Thanksgiving. The two-day sale ends Wednesday, October 18 at 11:59 p.m. ET.</p>
Categories: Travel

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