Why Visiting New Zealand Is About to Get More Expensive (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 06:49
<p><a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand’s</a> government has unveiled plans to implement a <a href="" target="_blank">tourist tax</a> it says will help protect its infrastructure and natural environment.</p><p>The tax, which will range from NZ $25 to $35 (about $17-24 USD), is expected to go into effect in the second half of 2019. All international visitors staying 12 months or less will be required to pay the new fee.</p><p>There are some exemptions, including short-haul visitors from Australia and the <a href="" target="_blank">Pacific Island Forum countries</a>, children under the age of two, and those visiting on diplomatic, humanitarian, business, transit, and medical visas. </p><p>Visitors will pay the tax when obtaining their visa or <a href="" target="_blank">Electronic Travel Authority</a>. The tax is expected to reel in anywhere from NZ $57-80 million ($39.7-55.8 million USD) in the first year. The funds received will be split between infrastructure and conservation efforts.</p><p>The country currently receives 3.8 million international visitors each year, and that number is expected to grow to 5.1 million by 2024, according to New Zealand’s Tourism Minister <a href="" target="_blank">Kelvin Davis</a>.</p><p>As tourism continues to grow, the tax will ensure "international visitors contribute to the infrastructure they use and help protect the natural places they come here to enjoy," Davis said.</p><p>International visitors to rural <a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand</a> communities can increase tenfold in the summer months, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand Rural General Practice Network</a> (NZRGPN), often forcing staff to undertake up to six air ambulance call-outs in a day to assist tourists while local communities are often left without support in the case of medical emergencies. </p><p>“Decisions around allocating revenue from a Tourist Tax will need to reflect the real needs of rural communities, not just the highly visible issues like car park congestion,” Dalton Kelly, chief executive of the NZRGPN, said in a statement.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand's</a> government is currently accepting public opinions on the new policy through July 15 and a decision is expected by September.</p>
Categories: Travel

8 Ways to Be a More Responsible Traveler

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 14:00
<p>Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries — making up about 10 percent of global GDP, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the World Travel and Tourism Council</a> — and it shows no signs of slowing down.</p><p>But the economic boon that tourism brings can have detrimental effects on the people that live in popular destinations, and even on the destinations themselves. Around the world, tourists have <a href=";region=1&amp;m_id=Y!Y!vY!_rY!~A&amp;w_id=34708&amp;news_id=2032609" target="_blank">driven up rents</a>, disrespected <a href="" target="_blank">sacred monuments</a>, and even defiled <a href="" target="_blank">monuments when they wanted to leave their mark</a>.</p><p>And this isn’t even to mention the simple wear and tear that comes with more of even the most well-behaved travelers. The industry is growing, but the actual attractions remain the same size. In 1959, tourists gathering to look at Rome’s Trevi Fountain would number about 20 at a time. Today, there are about 1,000 people in front of the fountain at any given time.</p><p>When destinations start becoming victims of their own success, travelers must question their old approaches. These are some simple ways you can become a more responsible person on the road.</p><h2>Learn about the culture before departure.</h2><p>The foremost guideline of the World Tourism Organization (WTO)’s “Global Code of Ethics For Tourism” is to open your mind. “It will transform your experience, you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people,” <a href="" target="_blank">the organization advises tourists</a>. “Be tolerant and respect diversity – observe social and cultural traditions and practices.”</p><p>Learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. Educate yourself on local customs and actions that could be considered offensive (like taking photographs without permission). The first step to being a responsible tourist is being a respectful tourist.</p><h2>Be sensitive to destinations combatting over-tourism.</h2><p>It’s basic manners but it bears repeating: Don’t go where you aren’t wanted. Many destinations that are currently battling over-tourism are currently holding protests and campaigns meant to keep tourists out. A few destinations where you should take extra care in planning a trip include Venice and Barcelona, where locals have protested over-tourism. Cinque Terre, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal have all been dealing with huge numbers of tourists, and would-be travelers should research the restrictions in place at each. (For example, entrance tickets for Machu Picchu have split entrance times.) The Galapagos Islands recently instated strict rules for tourists to follow, including the rules that <a href="" target="_blank">tourists can only travel with authorized guides</a>.</p><h2>Visit destinations with tourism management plans</h2><p>“Greater numbers of visitors provide economic opportunities, but also represent the risk of greater damage to the ecosystem,” <a href="" target="_blank">a 2017 Griffith Institute for Tourism study said.</a> “Counting and understanding trends is therefore essential.”</p><p>About half of UNESCO’s 229 World Heritage Sites <a href="" target="_blank">don’t have tourism management plans</a> — but monitoring how many tourists visit is vital to maintaining the site and preserving it for future visitors.</p><p>In the beginning stages of planning a trip, research if your destination has a plan for dealing with growing tourism. If available, this information can easily be found by Googling “tourism management plan” and the name of your destination. You can also call or contact a visitor center for more information.</p><h2>Purchase locally made goods</h2><p>Purchase products from the people who make them in order to directly support the economy. Opt for locally made handicrafts instead of mass-produced magnets, mugs or keychains. When bartering for goods, consider fair pricing rather than a “good deal.” Compare prices around town before purchasing.</p><h2>Think Green.</h2><p>The same rules for eco-friendly living exist all around the world. Don’t leave lights on in your hotel room, don’t leave water running and take public transport whenever possible. Resist the urge to take seashells or sand from the beach or leaves from the forest.</p><p>Cut back on your consumption of plastic water bottles. In destinations where the tap water is not drinkable, consider buying large jugs of water and splitting with a group or purchasing a water sterilization tool.</p><h2>Leave no trace.</h2><p>Don’t carve your name into anything. Don’t leave love locks. Don’t litter. There should be no physical evidence that you were there.</p><p>When packing your bags, leave unnecessary packaging at home. You may not be able to recycle certain materials in other parts of the world.</p><p>For more information about how to reduce your physical impact, check out <a href="" target="_blank">Leave No Trace</a>, a program committed to sustainable exploration of the outdoors.</p><h2>Think twice about interacting with wildlife.</h2><p>While attractions like elephant rides in India or holding sea turtles in the Cayman Islands may seem like a great way to connect with nature, the animals that work the attractions are often mistreated. About 75 percent of animal attractions around the world actually perpetuate wildlife cruelty, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a study from Oxford</a>.</p><p>If seeing animals is a vital part of your travel, research businesses and ethical tourism companies before booking. Check out the World Animal Protection’s <a href="" target="_blank">guide to an animal-friendly holiday</a> for more information on what to look for in wildlife attractions.</p><h2>Support leadership committed to sustainable tourism.</h2><p>If you live in a tourism destination, make your city a better place to travel by supporting politicians with concrete tourism management plans. Question candidates on how they plan to support the growth of tourism while combating rent increases that displace locals. Around the world, <a href="" target="_blank">politicians have creative solutions to dealing with homeshare regulations</a>. Be sure to ask candidates about their positions before casting your vote.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Secret to Being Happier Is Slowing Down

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:00
<p>The first few times he practiced sitting still and silent, he felt edgy, almost itchy. The peacefulness of his surroundings oppressed his senses. Without tasks, without a phone to reach for, he felt totally out of control.</p><p>“I felt suffocated by the stillness, the silence, the lack of activity,” said <a href="" target="_blank">Benjamin Shalva</a>, author of the book “<a commerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Ambition Addiction: How to Go Slow, Give Thanks, and Discover Joy Within</a>.” He likened this feeling to a “real sense of withdrawal,” only not from alcohol or gambling, but from busyness.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How to Relax Before a Flight in 60 Seconds or Less</a></p><p>For Shalva and for a growing number of people amid an expanding mindfulness movement, confronting that sickening feeling is the whole point in moving past it. Quite simply, they’re tired of being so busy.</p><p>“All ambition addicts, no matter the activity, venue, or great and glorious goal, have at least one behavior in common — we are running for our lives,” Shalva writes. Shooting off emails, constantly refreshing social media, and even rushing bedtime with the kids — all to stay ahead in some invisible race. Slowing down not only seems laughable but physiologically dangerous.</p><p>Whether one calls it ambition addiction, busyness addiction, or something more specific, such as workaholism, the headlong rush toward elusive and sometimes undefinable goals is a particular issue in Western culture. For Americans, “We pride ourselves on being very productive. The pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps ethos still holds true,” said Shalva.</p><p>But productive for whom, asks Georgetown assistant professor Neeru Paharia, co-author of the 2016 research paper, “<a href="" target="_blank">Conspicuous Consumption of Time: When Busyness and Lack of Leisure Time Become a Status Symbol</a>.” Work seems the obvious answer, but then the busyness bleeds into our free time until we’re rushing through family dinners, only to head home and tick off emails before bed and before tomorrow’s official work day. All the while, we’re complaining about how busy we are. In fact, Paharia argues, our busyness has become a badge of honor, a sign of “productivity,” proof of how much we are needed. Busyness has become “as important to signal your status to other people as it is for yourself,” she said.</p><p>It comes down to status partly because few modern tasks are actually necessary for survival, so we’re actually making up activities to fill time. “I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter,” writes essayist <a href="" target="_blank">Tim Kreider</a>. “They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”</p><p>“The reason we’re busy is because we’re afraid,” echoes Shalva, whose early experiments with meditation tended to overwhelm more than calm. Indeed, a 2014 <a href="" target="_blank">study</a> showed that participants reported an aversion to being alone with their thoughts for just six to 15 minutes. In one group, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women chose to administer electric shocks to themselves rather than sit with their thoughts.</p><p>But the term “addiction” gets thrown about loosely these days. There isn’t much clinical research on the neuroscience of perpetual busyness. We can draw comparisons to related conditions, such as workaholism, however. In a 2016 large-scale <a href="" target="_blank">meta-analysis</a>, researchers found workaholism was positively related to job stress, work burnout, decreased job satisfaction, greater work-family conflict, decreased life satisfaction, and poor physical and mental health. According to one of the study’s authors, University of Georgia assistant professor <a href="" target="_blank">Malissa Clark</a>, workaholism is driven by introjected motivation, a compulsion or feeling of guilt that a person “ought” to be doing something productive. She suspects busyness operates the same way. “This is different than behaviors driven by intrinsic motivation, where people do things because they enjoy it,” she says. “So the motivator [with busyness] is not to seek out positive emotions, but to calm down or stifle negative emotions.” Either way, we’re not enjoying ourselves.</p><p>To truly move past negative emotions, we have to confront them. Or at least sit among them. Suppressing thoughts only fuels them until, one way or another, our bodies and minds force us to take note.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">These Luxury Wellness Vacations Are the Perfect Opportunity to Relax and Renew</a></p><p>Shalva felt himself approaching that edge. So, he began practicing sitting still. When that cloying nerviness came up, he tried a simple approach: With each natural breath, he repeated in his mind, “I am breathing in.” When he breathed out, he told himself, “I am breathing out.” It was a powerful grounding tool. He likens it to discovering a buoy amid a rough sea. Eventually, the surrounding waves will calm, but the buoy remains, a strongly tethered signal of your safety in this moment.</p><p>It won’t be easy at first. The inertia of busy, contemporary life packs a built-in challenge to slowing down. But a <a href="" target="_blank">mindfulness-based approach</a> — being still and observing one’s thoughts, without fighting them off or chastising painful feelings — is shown to improve wellbeing and job performance with fewer work hours.</p><p>“Being still and existential, there is a release on the other side: relaxation, joy, attention to detail,” says Shalva, who eventually became a meditation coach and spiritual guru of sorts. He enjoyed the work, but once he found himself scrambling for Twitter followers, he backed off once again. Now he’s trying his hand at writing fiction. Regarding his book of short stories, “It’s taking a long time,” he said, “and that’s okay.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Meghan Markle's Go-to Comfy Heel Designer Also Makes the Perfect White Sneaker

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:30
<p>Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, is well on her way to becoming a royal fashion icon, just like her sister-in-law Kate Middleton.</p><p>Of course we all love her sophisticated style when it comes to dressing up for fancy events like her <a href="" target="_blank">own royal wedding</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">traveling with the Queen</a>, but we also love Meghan for her down-to-earth, “California cool” look as well.</p><p>Case in point: Thursday, when we saw the Duchess step off the train in Cheshire, England for a visit with her new grandmother-in-law in a gorgeous Givenchy sheath dress paired with a slim black belt and matching <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">black pumps by designer Sarah Flint</a>.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $355</p><p>Those shoes, Flint's site explains, are more comfortable than they look thanks to arch support, extra foot bed padding, a wider toe box, and a rubber sole "for grip, comfort and longevity." A steel rod in the center of the heel also promises "durability and security."</p><p>So yeah, it's no wonder these have become Meghan's go-to heels for style and comfort. </p><p>And, to make these shoes even cooler, they are a part of Flint’s “Perfect” collection, which also comes with a pair of white sneakers we simply know the Duchess will love.</p><img alt="Sarah Flint Perfect White Sneaker "src=""><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $265</p><p>Those kicks, Flint’s site explained, are a white leather sneaker made with <b>“</b>soft deerskin leather upper, fully leather lined, leather covered insole with arch support, full rubber sole, and silver grommets.” <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">They retail for $265</a>.</p><p>For real, this isn’t us just projecting Meghan’s love onto a sneaker. As the world knows, the Duchess is a huge fan of white kicks, specifically the <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";linkCode=w50&amp;tag=people0d0-20&amp;imprToken=M.hnr-X1IOeDVzIUPXs1LA&amp;slotNum=0" target="_blank">Reebok Classic Leather white sneaker</a>, which retail for $75.</p><img alt="Women's All White Reebok Classics "src=""><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";linkCode=w50&amp;tag=people0d0-20&amp;imprToken=M.hnr-X1IOeDVzIUPXs1LA&amp;slotNum=0" target="_blank"></a>, $75</p><p>Prior to marrying Prince Harry, Meghan was spotted wearing them everywhere from yoga to brunch. But now that she’s a royal, she may want to up the ante with the perfect kick above. Either way, we’ll still love her style.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World Worry-free (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:00
<p>Quitting your job is worrisome. But quitting your job to <a href="" target="_blank">travel the world</a>? Now that’s <em>really</em> worrisome. I would know: In a matter of weeks, my husband and I will leave our home to travel through <a href="" target="_blank">Southeast Asia</a> for three months.</p><p>To make that epic adventure happen, he’ll do the quitting, and I’ll do the worrying. So much worrying that I worry — pun intended — it’ll ruin our trip. But I have a feeling I’m not the only traveler with work-related anxiety.</p><p>(For those curious, while my husband must leave his job to take this kind of trek, I’m lucky enough to be a freelance writer, which means I will work while we travel. With my income, plus a year’s worth of savings and a very strict travel budget, we can make this trip work. But just because we can financially afford it now doesn’t mean the future won’t worry me.)</p><p>According to millennial career expert <a href="" target="_blank">Jill Jacinto</a>, we’re programmed from an early age to stick to a schedule, from kindergarten through retirement.</p><p>“Volunteering to quit your job and jump into the unknown is naturally a bit unnerving,” she said. “Add in the fact you’ll lose an income and potential career growth, and it’s really frightening. It takes us from our comfort zones and forces us to live a totally different way.”</p><p>I don’t know about you, but the way I want to live is worry-free. So I turned to experts for tips and tricks quitting your job and traveling the world — without going totally, completely, and utterly crazy with worry.</p><h2>Start practicing self-care.</h2><p>The time to start managing your work and <a href="" target="_blank">travel-related worry</a> is now, not abroad, advises <a href="" target="_blank">Melissa Parks</a>, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in helping expats and digital nomads.</p><p>“Work on increasing your emotional resilience and self-care before you leave,” said Parks.</p><p>Start by identifying what soothes you now, and how you can take that same routine on the road. “Travel is full of ups and downs, and it will ultimately teach you a lot about yourself—but you´ll want to have tools in your self-care tool box so that you can cope with whatever hiccups you meet on the road,” Parks said.</p><p>She said one self-care practice travels particularly well: deep breathing. “It may be something we do all day, every day, but shallow breathing sends a message to our brain that something is wrong,” Parks said. “If you practice breathing deeply you´re sending a message to your mind things are actually OK.”</p><h2>Leave your job on a high note.</h2><p>When it comes time to put in your two weeks’ notice, you’ll want to leave on the best terms: “It's helpful to be honest about your reasons for leaving — a desire to see the world — so that your employer understands that it isn't for reasons against the company itself,” said career coach and strategist <a href="" target="_blank">Hallie Crawford</a>. And, by explaining your personal values, “you’ll often gain the respect of your manager, whether they agree with your reasons or not.”</p><p>Another way to find favor with your soon-to-be former employer is to time your departure well — meaning don’t leave in the middle of a big project or when your manager is already down a man or a woman, if possible, said Jacinto. Ask your boss, and if you find you’re leaving at an inopportune time, then “reconsider the timing and push back your travel date,” she said.</p><p>Of course, if you’d like to one day come back to your job or company, “take the initiative to express that to your employer,” said Crawford. “Let them you enjoy your job and would be glad to return if that is a possibility.” You can also ask if you can continue in your position, remotely, while you travel.</p><h2>Update your portfolio <em>now</em>.</h2><p>You may also be worried about finding a new job when you return. But Jacinto assures me there are steps you can and should take today to set yourself up for future job success.</p><p>For example, the time to update your portfolio and resume isn’t when you return from your travels. Rather, it’s before you leave your current job, according to Jacinto. As she explains, all of your projects and accomplishments are fresh in your mind right now, and they might not be after too many days spent sunning yourself in, say, <a href="" target="_blank">Bali</a>. When you update your portfolio, “include metrics and measurable results that can speak to your success,” she said.</p><p>Another smart thing to do today connect with coworkers, managers, and clients. “Send out an email to your team and let them know you’ll be leaving,” she said. “You never know who might be helpful with a future job connection — or at least a great travel recommendation.”</p><h2>Learn to stay in the present.</h2><p>According to Parks, “worry occurs when we´re focused on the future, rather than being in the present.” In other words, if you’re worried about whether you’ll be employable upon your return, that worry could ruin even the most amazing sights — from <a href="" target="_blank">a golden temple in India</a> to the snow-capped <a href="" target="_blank">Himalayas</a> — that deserve your full and awe-struck attention.</p><p>To stay in the present and not miss the wonder around you, Parks advises that you practice mindfulness. “Think of it as a workout for your brain, getting your attention muscle to focus on being in the present rather than in worry land,” Parks said. “There are some great apps available to get introduced to mindfulness. My personal preference is <a href="" target="_blank">Insight Timer</a>.”</p><h2>Portray your travel experience in a positive light.</h2><p>If you’re like me, you may be worried about how you can spin your travel into a positive for a potential employer. Luckily, that’s nothing to worry about.</p><p>Good employees such as yourself have incredible hard skills — measurable skills such as knowledge of software or a foreign language proficiency. But employers are also looking for people with soft skills, such as the ability to communicate effectively and be a leader.</p><p>The act of <a href="" target="_blank">traveling in foreign countries</a> all but ensures you’ve honed soft skills — and you should call those out in your resume and cover letter, and during your interview, Crawford says. “Seeing how others live in different parts of the world will help you have more of a big-picture vision,” Crawford explains. “These are valuable soft skills that employers want.”</p><p>Not only that, but chances are potential employers will be fascinated by your travels — and the chutzpah it took to leave a job for such a big dream. “Most people dream of doing what you did but you had the guts to actually do it,” Jacinto said. “Let them live through your experiences. Explain your why. What made you take the time off — and what made you come back? This is where you need to be clear that you will not be pulled away again,” and assure the employer that you went, you saw, and now, you’re ready to get back to work.</p><h2>Don’t hide from worry.</h2><p>Of course, the goal is to reduce your worry while traveling. But if you can’t relieve yourself of worry entirely, Parks warns you shouldn’t hide from it.</p><p>“We can make ourselves even more anxious when we become anxious about anxiety,” Parks says. Instead, “try a strategy called ‘changing but for and’ to make sure that worry doesn´t hold you back.” Here’s how it works: “Instead of saying ‘I would go on this trip, <em>but</em> I´m worried,’ say, ‘I´m worried <em>and</em> I´m going on this trip,’” she said. “You may be surprised at how much calmer you feel when you allow the worry to be there, but don´t let it hold you back from pursuing your dreams.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Shampoo Bars Are the Travel Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:31
<p>The bellowing sound of a TSA agent repeating over and over again “<a href="" target="_blank">no liquids more than 3.4 ounces</a>” is forever burned in every frequent flier’s brain. And, because we simply must travel with our moisturizers, makeup, shampoo, and conditioner, we tend to get creative by stuffing our bags full of <a href="" target="_blank">dozens of miniature bottles</a>. But what if we told you there was a better way? At least, when it comes to your hair care.</p><p>Over the last few months, shampoo bars have become the It product among travelers, beauty gurus, and environmentalists alike. These little travel godsends are friendly to both your luscious locks and your suitcase thanks to the fact that they come in solid rather than liquid form. This means you can tell that TSA agent with pride that no, in fact, you aren’t carrying any liquids over the allotted amount.</p><p>And yes, to add icing to this already delicious packing cake, these shampoo bars are great for the environment, too.</p><p>In a viral video produced by <em>ATTN</em>, Lush Cosmetics, the leader in the shampoo bar movement, explained that its bars could one day replace the “552 million shampoo bottles we throw out annually.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Tiny Shampoo Bottles Are Disappearing From Hotel Rooms (and Not Because Guests Are Taking Them)</a></p><p>The Lush bars, which are the equivalent of three bottles of shampoo each, can last for up to 80 washes, so there will be no more running out of your favorite shampoo two days into your trip. And, once they're done they are gone forever — no plastic packaging included. </p><p>Check out the best shampoo bars to buy before your next trip below.</p><h2>Lush Shampoo Bars</h2><img alt="Shampoo Bar "src=""><p>With a variety of choices for every type of hair, including a few infused bars that come with added ingredients like argan oil and juniper, you can’t go wrong with Lush. You can even pick up a few solid conditioner bars to match your new shampoo.</p><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $12</p><h2>ScrubblesBubbles Strawberry Shampoo Bar</h2><img alt="Shampoo bars "src=""><p>These homemade bars, which are made with cocoa butter and jojoba oil, will last you for up to 60 washes and will have you smelling like strawberries and cream all day long. What’s better than that?</p><p>​​​​​​​To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $9</p><h2>Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar</h2><img alt="Shampoo Bar "src=""><p>​​​​​​​Perhaps the most luxurious bar on this list, the Christophe Robin bar will make you feel hydrated from head to toe thanks to its aloe vera and castor oil. It’s also completely free of synthetic agents meaning you can feel good about the suds that head down the drain.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $22</p><h2>J.R.Liggett's Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo</h2><img alt="Shampoo Bar "src=""><p>​​​​​​​The J.R. Liggett’s bar is still made from the company’s original formula. Though it comes with no fragrance it will leave your hair silky smooth thanks to its hemp oil, essential fatty acids, and almond oil extracts.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1528913166&amp;sr=1-8&amp;keywords=shampoo%2Bbar&amp;th=1" target="_blank"></a>, $8</p><h2>Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar</h2><img alt="Shampoo Bar "src=""><p>​​​​​​​Ethique’s Heali Kiwi is specifically formulated for those who suffer from dry, itchy scalps. The formula, made from kiwi fruit oil, coconut oil, neem oil, oats, calendula, and manuka oil, will leave both your scalp and hair feeling soft and totally touchable.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1528913166&amp;sr=1-10&amp;keywords=shampoo%2Bbar&amp;th=1" target="_blank"></a>, $16</p>
Categories: Travel

Jellyfish Stung More Than 800 People in Florida in One Weekend — Here's What to Do If It Happens to You

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:09
<p>More than 800 people were treated over the last weekend for <a href="" target="_blank">jellyfish</a> stings received at beaches in central Florida, namely in Volusia County, including Daytona Beach. Lifeguards treated 107 jellyfish stings on Saturday alone, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>CNN</em> reported</a>.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>ABC News</em></a> had the number of reported stings as high as 1,200.</p><p>The area's population of <a href="" target="_blank">moon jellyfish</a>, while beautiful, can irritate skin, causing itching and pain. University of Florida Health recommends getting immediate medical attention if you are stung by one.</p><h2>What to Do If You're Stung by a Jellyfish:</h2><p>If you are stung, <a href="" target="_blank"></a> says you should rinse the sting thoroughly with vinegar or ocean water for 30 seconds, protect the infected area, avoid rubbing or putting pressure on the sting, soak it in hot tap water (about 107 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20 to 40 minutes, and apply an antihistamine or steroid cream.</p><p><strong>Video: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">A Swim with Thousands of Adorable Jellyfish (That Only Sting a Little)</a></p><h2>How to Spot a Moon Jellyfish:</h2><p>You can spot a moon jellyfish by identifying its purple or pink-ish flower shape with four “petals” in the center of its body.</p><p>Tammy Malphurs, spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety, told<em> CNN</em> the stings were not a record high for the area, but were higher than usual. </p><p>Purple flags, noting dangerous marine life, have been put up on many Florida beaches to warn people about the jellyfish.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Is What It's Like to Be Stranded at the Airport Overnight

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 16:13
<p>On May 2, I was flying home from a shoot in Columbus, Ohio. John, my shooting partner, was on vacation, so I was rolling solo on this one. My original flight was slotted to leave Columbus at 5 p.m. headed for L.A. with a brief layover in <a href="" target="_blank">Chicago O'Hare</a>. </p><p>As we were waiting to board the plane, the attendant announced that our flight was delayed two hours, causing widespread pandemonium. It turned out there were several tornadoes and other wild weather events moving through the Midwest causing massive delays and cancellations. </p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">How to Know If Your Flight Will Be Delayed Before It's Even Announced</a></p><img alt="Sleeping Overnight at the Airport "src=""><p>Knowing that I would now miss my connecting flight in Chicago, I spoke with United and they were able to get me onto an American flight heading out of Chicago later in the night. Eventually we got on the plane only to sit on the runway for about half an hour. At this point, I realized my new connecting flight was all the way on the other side of ORD (I flew into concourse B and my connecting flight was at the end of concourse H).</p><p>As we sat on the runway I was counting the minutes realizing that even the best case scenario would only give me a few minutes to race across the whole airport and catch my flight. Several people on the plane had similar circumstances and there was a lot of tension in the air. To make things even worse we taxied at ORD for a good 20 minutes, literally driving the plane right past my connecting flight as we slowly drove around the airport. </p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">This Is the First Thing You Should Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Diverted</a></p><img alt="Sleeping Overnight at the Airport "src=""><p>Once we landed, I raced off the plane toward my connecting flight. As I got one terminal away from my flight I received a text message saying my flight was canceled. It seemed that almost every flight in or out of ORD was canceled. Sweating from my sprint across the airport, I saw there was another flight still slotted to leave that night for San Francisco. I wasn’t sure if it was the right move, but I figured if I could get to S.F., worst case scenario I would drive or get a short flight home. I explained my situation to the flight attendants and they were nice enough to let me on the plane. </p><p>The flight was suppose to leave any minute, but we ended up sitting for about an hour. I didn’t think much of it because at this point I was watching "Black Panther." Suddenly, I heard people start screaming, so I removed my headphones to discover that the flight was now delayed four hours. By the time I got off the plane and up the gangway, the flight was delayed another five hours. I was obviously bummed, but tried to see it as an adventure.</p><p>I called American Airlines' customer service and re-booked myself on a flight going directly to L.A. the next day. It was now around 10 or 11 p.m. and it had finally sunken in that I was going to be staying the night at the airport. I sort of walked around aimlessly for a few minutes until I decided to post up near a charging station and listen to a podcast. Feeling restless, I decided to walk around and see if there was anything interesting to photograph. My thought was that I would find some weird scenes of people hanging around the airport.</p><img alt="Sleeping Overnight at the Airport "src=""><p>The first thing I saw was a guy who was sleeping upright in his chair. What caught my eye was that he had a bright blue sweatshirt pulled over his head. The people around him were very confused when I took his photo. As I continued walking around I realized that almost everyone in the airport was sleeping. I decided to walk around and take the opportunity to study the different ways people chose to camp out for the night.</p><p>Some just slept upright in the airport seats, as if they had passed out watching TV at home. Others figured out unique ways to lay down on the seats, often times weaving their legs over and under the arms of the chairs. Some were lucky enough to snag a bench and turn it into a make-shift cot, while others chose to crash in the most private corner they could find. </p><img alt="Sleeping Overnight at the Airport "src=""><p>I walked around for about an hour before the weight of the day's adventure finally got to me and I became exhausted myself. I made one last call to the airline and was able to get on an even earlier flight that morning. I decided to make my way toward my departure gate where I ended up crashing, becoming one of the airport campers I had been photographing. I chose to sleep near a charging station, placing my bags under the seats next to me to protect my camera gear. I got a few hours of sleep before I woke up as the first few flights of the day started to take off. In a haze, I grabbed some coffee and slowly made my way onto the plane.</p><img alt="Sleeping Overnight at the Airport "src=""><p>While it was not the best way to spend a night in Chicago, what I loved about the experience was that it reaffirmed how much I love the adventure of being a photographer. You never know when life will hand strange circumstances and as a photographer you always have to be ready to seize the moment. </p><p>Upon landing in L.A. and taking a two-hour Uber ride home — thank you, L.A. traffic — I calculated that I had been traveling for about 20 hours. Exhausted, I stumbled into the house, took a much needed shower, and collapsed into bed for the remainder of the day.</p>
Categories: Travel

Hipsters Are Taking Over This Bangkok Neighborhood — and You're Going to Want to Try Their Cocktails

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 12:31
<p>Ask anyone who, like me, grew up in <a href="" target="_blank">Bangkok</a> in the 1970s, and they’ll tell you about suffering through interminable weddings at a riverside hotel in Bangrak, one of the Thai capital’s oldest districts. In those days, status-obsessed locals would shuffle over to Charoen Krung Road, Bangrak’s main drag, elbowing through steamy markets and stalls selling jok, or Chinese rice porridge, to submit to an eternity of long-winded wedding toasts.</p><p>My father, however, had better ideas. He and I would show up, make our rounds politely, then decamp to the nearby Oriental hotel, now the <a href="" target="_blank">Mandarin Oriental</a> <em>(doubles from $420)</em>, his old friend Nelson in tow. Over <a href="" target="_blank">cocktails</a>, the men would hatch outlandish plans. They dreamed of launching Bangkok’s first yoga studio, and a hospital-themed aperitif bar called the Pulse. My father, a physician, and Nelson, a flaneur who dressed in crisp linen suits, had no business sense, and when they did eventually put their schemes in motion, both immediately flopped.</p><p>If they’d only waited a few decades, their ideas might have gone down better. Because today, Bangrak is the epicenter of Bangkok’s Creative District, a trio of neighborhoods populated by artists, designers, chefs, and musicians. Lured by low rents and a postindustrial aesthetic, these upstart entrepreneurs are renovating shop-houses and using them to reinvent izakaya food, say, or experiment with artisanal spirits. Young and edgy, the Creative District has become the city’s must-visit destination.</p><p>Although the Creative District is anchored in Bangrak, it includes neighboring Talat Noi as well as Yaowarat, Bangkok’s effervescent Chinatown—all historic communities straddling the Charoen Krung corridor. Each borders the Chao Phraya River, and has roots in the river trading that was, in previous centuries, a mainstay of the Thai economy. This was where merchant ships from the Far East, Europe, and the Americas made landfall in the Siamese kingdom; Bangrak was home to the city’s first European quarter. You’ll see this multicultural legacy in the area’s range of architectural styles and its mix of Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosques, Chinese shrines, and churches.</p><p>“I remember coming here for weddings and scuba gear,” jewelry artist and Bangkok native Atty Tantivit told me as I browsed at <a href="" target="_blank">Atta Gallery</a><i>,</i> her contemporary jewelry store, which sits in a courtyard close to the Mandarin Oriental. Tantivit, who holds a master’s in marine policy, decided 15 years ago to trade her scuba mask for jewelers’ goggles. When the time came to open a boutique, she decided against fashionable Sukhumvit and settled in Bangrak instead. “Back then, it seemed like the boonies,” she recalled. “Today, this is the best spot to be.”</p><img alt="Florist and restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand "src=""><p>It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the evolution of the Creative District began. Some say it started around 2012, with the opening of an influential art space named <a href="" target="_blank">Speedy Grandma</a>. That was quickly followed by the music venue <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">SoulBar</a> and fashionable bars like the gin-focused <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Teens of Thailand</a><i>.</i></p><p>Then, in 2016, the organizers of the <a href="" target="_blank">BukRuk Urban Arts Festival</a> zeroed in on Charoen Krung and commissioned a number of new works of street art, adding to the area’s design credentials. A year later, the art institute <a href="" target="_blank">Thailand Creative &amp; Design Center</a> moved into the 1940 Grand Postal Building, and Bangkok’s first-ever Michelin Guide listed several spots in the neighborhood, including trailblazing Thai-fusion restaurant <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">80/20</a> <em>(entrées $7–$22)</em>, noodle house <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Baan Phadthai</a> <em>(entrées $4–$8)</em>, and Cantonese specialist <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Sanyod</a> <em>(entrées $5–$16)</em>.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">What to Do in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Neighborhood</a></p><p>On the other side of the river, the Creative District is gradually expanding into Khlong San, where architect Duangrit Bunnag opened the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Jam Factory</a>, a complex of cafés and lifestyle stores arranged around a tree-lined courtyard. More recently, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Lhong 1919</a> took a 19th-century warehouse and repurposed it as a group of galleries, eateries, and boutiques selling everything from leather goods to homewares.</p><p>One recent afternoon, Tantivit and I took a walk around the Creative District together. Ducking into the <em>sois</em>, or narrow lanes, between Charoen Krung and the river, we ran into the newly opened <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Warehouse 30</a>, a phalanx of  World War II–era warehouses lined with stylish shops. We downed shots of passion-fruit and green-apple juice at the pocket-size Real &amp; Raw, then headed over to <a href="" target="_blank">P. Tendercool</a>, where we ogled modern furniture handmade from vintage opium beds and Ming dynasty floorboards.</p><p>On Charoen Krung’s Soi 28, we admired the patchwork of venues: <a href="" target="_blank">Tropic City</a>, a Swedish duo’s take on Caribbean rum and other spirits; <a href="" target="_blank">Black Pig Tattoo</a>, part art studio, part tattoo parlor; and <a href="" target="_blank">Jua</a>, an homage to the street food of Osaka, Japan. I told Tantivit about my father’s creative failures, and we agreed he was well ahead of his time. A yoga studio and pulse-quickening aperitifs would definitely fit with the neighborhoods’ current incarnation.</p><p>Read on for more spots to explore in Bangkok's Creative District.</p><img alt="Jua Restaurant and live music at FooJohn, in Bangkok, Thailand "src=""><h2>Hotels</h2><h3><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Baan 2459</a></h3><p>A romantic Sino-European colonial bungalow with a striking garden café (<em>doubles from $175).</em></p><h3><a href="" target="_blank">Capella Bangkok</a></h3><p>Opening this fall, this contemporary 101-room hotel promises to be an exciting addition to the Chao Phraya riverfront (<em>doubles from $500).</em></p><h2>Restaurants and Bars</h2><h3><a href="" target="_blank">Asia Today</a></h3><p>Inventive cocktails made with herbal infusions from the far corners of Siam.</p><h3><a href="" target="_blank">Ba Hao</a></h3><p>Humble home recipes including duck wontons and braised pork (e<i>ntrées</i><i> $7–$8).</i></p><h3><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">FooJohn Building</a></h3><p>Three restaurants are arranged across the three stories of this atmospheric Chinatown shop-house, where live music events are also often held.</p><h2>Shops</h2><h3><a href="" target="_blank">Aoon</a></h3><p>Ceramicist Pollaste Lohachalatanakul’s raw, ethereal pieces crafted from local clay are complemented by an excellent on-site café.</p><h3><a href="" target="_blank">Oneday Wallflowers</a></h3><p>A fashionable, frond-filled florist with a hit cocktail bar on its roof.</p>
Categories: Travel

7 Ways to Make Sure Your First Trip As a Couple Isn't Your Last

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 11:01
<p>Traveling together as a couple, especially for the first time, can have its challenges. There’s something about being together 24/7 that brings out a side of each other that neither of you have ever seen before, no matter the length of your romance.</p><p>Missing a connecting flight or finding yourself lost on public transportation is stressful on its own. Throw in a somewhat new romantic relationship, and it's easy to see where things can go awry.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">11 Things You Should Do the Day Before You Leave for a Vacation</a></p><p>In reality, unless everything goes exactly according to plan — which it rarely does — avoiding these bumps won’t be easy. All you two can really do is problem solve and have a game plan for when things go wrong.</p><p>To make life a little easier, here are some tips and tricks to ensure you both stay away from as much tension as possible and spend more time enjoying one another.</p><h2>Speak up.</h2><p>If something is bothering you, say something. Even if it’s as simple as wanting to walk to the next sight versus taking a cab, you’re not doing anyone any favors by keeping your thoughts bottled up. It’s always easier to fix an issue on the spot, instead of later down the road when it inevitably comes out all at once. And on the flip side, don't forget to listen: It's your partner's vacation, too.</p><h2>Remember the itinerary is simply a guide.</h2><p>Unless you have tickets or a scheduled event, don’t feel pressured to stick with the original plan. Whether it’s a train delay or unexpected weather, learn how to adjust as a team. Over-planning can also add unnecessary pressure to the trip, so consider ditching the itinerary for a bit and see where you end up.</p><h2>Take a break.</h2><p>Regardless of how many days you and your special someone are on vacation, remember there’s no shame in slowing down. After all, aren’t you both supposed to be relaxing? If the sights get to be too much and one of you, if not both, begin to fade, grab a drink and reboot. Taking a half hour to chill can make all the difference.</p><h2>Don’t play the blame game.</h2><p>Once a disagreement arises, the key is to remember you’re both on the same team. Figuring out who’s right, wrong, or how you two even got into the predicament in the first place is irrelevant and a waste of time. All that matters is finding a solution to the problem — which is only going to happen by coming together and not pointing fingers.</p><h2>Stop being a backseat driver.</h2><p>Being lost is the worst, and shouting out random street names when the other person is trying to navigate isn’t going to help — if anything, it will actually make things worse. Try staying calm, whipping out your own Google Maps, or even asking a local for directions to amend the situation.</p><h2>Don't forget to rest.</h2><p>Jet lag and not getting enough rest the night before a flight can heavily impact one’s mood. If you or your significant other is grumpy and tired, taking a nap may be the way to go. Even a short nap can really turn things around and give the getaway a fresh start.</p><h2>Remember why you're there.</h2><p>Not every duo gets to the point where they want to travel together, so don’t take the special opportunity for granted. Make the most of this next step in your romance by not sweating the little things and showing the other person just how much you care.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Photographer Spent 3 Years Documenting Giant Pandas in China, and It's Making Us Want to Book a Ticket

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 10:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Giant pandas</a> are one of the most elusive species on Earth, with fewer than 2,000 living in the wild — but <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">a new book</a> from wildlife photographer <a href="" target="_blank">Ami Vitale</a> helps bring these compelling creatures to a wider audience. </p><img alt="pandas from the book Panda Love by Ami Vitale "src=""><p>Over the course of three years, Vitale worked alongside panda researchers to photograph China's national animal at breeding centers and nature reserves — even donning a panda suit infused with the pheromone scents of panda urine and feces to blend in. The result is "<a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Panda Love: The Secret Lives of Pandas</a>," out now from <a href="" target="_blank">Hardie Grant</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Chronicle Books</a>, a riveting collection of photographs that illustrate the personalities and resilience of these endangered animals. </p><img alt="baby panda from the book Panda Love by Ami Vitale "src=""><p>Much of the work at panda research centers involves cubs. Breeding is the focus of the whole operation, of course, and staff work tirelessly to nurture these young bears and prepare them for their eventual release. For the first three months of their lives, they are under constant supervision by a "panda nanny." </p><p>The re-wilding process begins when the pandas are about two years old. Pandas bred in captivity have an amazing 90-percent survival rate, a threefold increase from just 50 years ago. Before they are introduced into their natural habitat, they are given a series of tests to make sure they have learned the skills their wild cousins are taught from birth — like how to find good bamboo and protect themselves from predators.</p><img alt="pandas from the book Panda Love by Ami Vitale "src=""><p>While Vitale was given special access, there are plenty of ways to visit pandas for yourself in their home in south-central China. The most popular and accessible option is the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center</a>, a retreat just outside the city of over 14 million, which also houses a panda museum as well as several other threatened species. </p><p>Vitale spent time at centers like the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Bifengxia Giant Panda Base</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Dujiangyan Panda Center</a>, as well as the wilder habitats in <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Wolong Nature Reserve</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Liziping Nature Reserve</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">Dujiangyan</a> offers limited day-long volunteer programs where you can assist panda keepers, and the nature reserves are good for longer trips involving hikes through the pandas' habitat. </p><img alt="Amanyangyun, Shanghai "src=""><p>Interest piqued by these adorable pandas? There are plenty of other reasons to travel to China now, including a major hotel boom that's seeing international luxury brands and creative boutiques popping up in the country's major cities. <a href="" target="_blank">Shanghai</a>, especially, is having a moment with the recent debuts of <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Amanyangyun</a>, the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Middle House</a>, properties from <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Capella</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Bellagio</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">W Hotels</a>, and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">St. Regis</a>, and the forthcoming <a href="" target="_blank">Bulgari Shanghai</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Shanghai EDITION</a>, among others.</p><p>Travelers to Beijing will also be spoiled for options, with exciting recent additions like <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Bulgari Beijing</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Hotel Jen</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Vue Beijing</a>, and soon-to-open <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Puxuan Hotel and Spa</a>. </p><img alt="Hangzhou sunset "src=""><p>But it's not just about Beijing and Shanghai. International travelers are increasingly interested in the country's lesser-visited regions, which are becoming more accessible than ever thanks to expanding transportation options. <a href="" target="_blank">Chengdu</a>, for example, has had non-stop flights from Los Angeles and New York City on Hainan Airlines since late last year, making it easier than ever to visit the country's fourth-largest city and center of the Sichuan Province.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Hangzhou</a> is another huge but lesser-known megacity (China famously has dozens) that is a draw for its two UNESCO World Heritage sites and relaxed atmosphere. A new collection of <a href="" target="_blank">Alila Villas</a> will soon be added to its impressive list of luxury properties. And, in connection with its ambitious <a href="" target="_blank">"New Silk Road"</a> vision, China has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in high-speed rail travel — <a href="" target="_blank">over 2,000 miles of new track</a> will be laid over the next year, with more to come, eventually speeding up travel into the country's stunning <a href="" target="_blank">western region</a>.</p><p>Check out the book for more (extremely cute) inspiration. </p><img alt="cover of the book Panda Love by Ami Vitale "src=""><h2>"Panda Love: The Secret Lives of Pandas" by Ami Vitale</h2><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $18</p><p><em>Our series Reasons to Travel Now highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Two Passengers Were Flung From a Florida Roller Coaster Hours After It Passed a Safety Inspection

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 07:57
<p>Two people were flung to the ground when a <a href="" target="_blank">roller coaster</a> derailed in Daytona Beach, Florida on Thursday evening. Six people were still hospitalized as of Friday morning.</p><p>The front car of the Sand Blaster roller coaster on the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Daytona Beach boardwalk</a> completely derailed at about 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, sending two passengers on an approximately 34-foot fall.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Riders Stuck on 300-foot Roller Coaster for 2 Hours During Power Outage</a></p><p>The Daytona Beach Fire Department said it rescued 10 people from the ride and transported six to the hospital. They said the two people who were ejected were alert and not seriously injured.</p><p>There were four passengers in the front car, which was left dangling perpendicular to the ground. Four more passengers were in the second car and two in the third.</p><p>“Daytona Beach firefighters did an amazing job tonight rescuing the 10 very frightened passengers on the roller coaster,” Sasha Staton, a Daytona Beach Fire Department spokeswoman, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <i>Daytona Beach News-Journal</i></a><i>. </i>“They were faced with dangerous conditions as they worked as fast as possible to successfully extricate everyone safely.”</p><p>The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has launched an investigation “to determine the cause of the accident, and anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable,” <a href="" target="_blank">a spokesperson for the agency told <em>CNN</em></a>.</p><p>The ride <a href="" target="_blank">had just passed state inspection earlier that day</a>.</p><p>The Sand Blaster was a 40-year-old ride that the Daytona Beach Boardwalk purchased in 2012.</p>
Categories: Travel

Book Your Dream Caribbean Getaway for As Little As $209 Round-trip

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 07:25
<p>Whether you're already dreaming of a fall or winter getaway in the sun or looking to plan a last-minute summer trip, now is the time to book a cheap flight to the <a href="" target="_blank">Caribbean</a>.</p><p>There are currently a number of deals to popular Caribbean destinations like the <a href="" target="_blank">Bahamas</a>, Guadeloupe, Martinique, <a href="" target="_blank">Jamaica</a>, the Dominican Republic, and more from a variety of U.S. cities.</p><p>The deals, which start at $209 round-trip, are available from June 2018 through May 2019.</p><p>For example, you can book a flight from New York City to <a href="" target="_blank">Martinique</a> for $209 round-trip in December or February, and for $219 round-trip in November, January, or March. Meanwhile, flights to Guadeloupe start at $209 round-trip in October and range from $209 to $219 round-trip from December through March of 2019.</p><p>From Florida, you can fly to Grand Cayman for $211 round-trip, to Providenciales in Turks and Caicos for $231 round-trip, to Nassau, Bahamas for $254 round-trip, and to Montego Bay, Jamaica for $227 round-trip.</p><p>In September, travelers from Los Angeles can fly to St. Thomas for $260 round-trip, while Chicago fliers can hit St. Thomas for $274 round-trip and St. Croix for $270 round-trip.</p><p>Finally, travelers based in Baltimore can find flights to St. Thomas for $276 round-trip and to the Bahamas for $278 round-trip. Just put in your ideal destination and view the cheapest dates using <a href="*./m/02_286.2018-07-05;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:h" target="_blank">Google Flights' fare calendar</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Ryanair Warns of Summer Travel 'Meltdown' As Strikes Cause More Flight Cancellations Across Europe

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 06:14
<p>European budget airline <a href="" target="_blank">Ryanair</a> is prepping travelers for a potential summer travel “meltdown.”</p><p>Because of air traffic control strikes across Europe, the airline said it canceled more than 1,000 flights in May. Last year, the airline only had 43 cancellations in the same month.</p><p>Other airlines across Europe have also been forced to issue mass cancellations. EasyJet canceled 974 flights last month as compared to 117 cancellation the previous May.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Don't Forget About the 24-Hour Rule That Lets You Cancel a Flight for Free</a></p><p>"We have been told by the French authorities that we have to cancel 150 flights, many of which don't even touch France, because the air traffic controllers there are going on strike this Saturday and Sunday,” Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, <a href="" target="_blank">told <i>Sky News</i></a>. "Europe's ATC providers are approaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being canceled daily simply because they don't have enough staff to deal with them."</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">This Is the First Thing You Should Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Diverted</a></p><p>O’Leary said he worried that passengers taking vacation in July and August “will suffer flight cancellations, long delays or disruptions because of inadequate staffing in air control, particularly at weekends."</p><p>According to airline executives, the strikes are particularly affecting flights to, from, and over the U.K., Germany, and France.</p><p>Air traffic control refuted the claim that strikes are causing the cancellations. A spokesperson for the British ATC company NATS <a href="" target="_blank">said that staffing issues have affected only about three percent</a> of canceled Ryanair flights in the U.K. over the past year.</p><p>Travelers who are flying in Europe this summer should purchase travel insurance to protect themselves in the case of flight cancellations or delays caused by strikes. </p>
Categories: Travel

You'll Have to Take a Boat Ride and a Hike Through the Forest to Get to France's Newest Art Museum

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:58
<p>Prepare for an unconventional <a href="" target="_blank">art experience</a> at <a href="" target="_blank">Fondation Carmignac</a>, a gallery opening this month on the Provençal island of Porquerolles at the heart of a Port-Cros National Park. Visitors must take a 15-minute ferry from the mainland, then a short walk through the forest to reach the space, situated in a converted farmhouse on land that once featured in the Jean-Luc Godard film <em>Pierrot le Fou</em>. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a ritualized drink service, then invited to walk barefoot on the sandstone floors of the contemporary-art-filled villa, an experience meant to connect you with the surroundings. Admission is limited — only 50 visitors are allowed in each half-hour — so as to ensure the museum never feels too frenetic or crowded.</p><p>The 21,530-square-foot space is capped by a glass ceiling with a water feature flowing above, lending it an otherworldly feel. The opening exhibit, Sea of Desire, begins as guests emerge from the forest and wends throughout the property, featuring work by giants such as Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Basqiat, as well as emerging artists. The grounds are planted with mimosa and lemon trees and dotted with sculptures, and the sea is just a few steps beyond—the foundation even encourages visitors go for a pre- and post-visit swim. To get to Porquerolles, connect via train or plane to Toulon, then drive to La Tour Fondue for scheduled ferry service or Hyères port for round-the-clock water taxi service to the island.</p><p><em>Our series <a href="" target="_blank">Reasons to Travel Now</a> highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

The Queen Has Never Looked Happier Than She Does on Her Solo Outing With Meghan Markle (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:42
<p>On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth <a href="" target="_blank">boarded a train alongside her new granddaughter-in-law, Meghan Markle</a>, for a day of engagements in Cheshire, in northwest England. And, according to the photos, it looks like Meghan might just be the Queen’s new favorite grandchild.</p><img alt="The Duchess Of Sussex Undertakes Her First Official Engagement With Queen Elizabeth II "src=""><img alt="The Duchess Of Sussex Undertakes Her First Official Engagement With Queen Elizabeth II "src=""><p>In an image posted to Kensington’s official Instagram account, Meghan and the Queen are seen as they step off their <a href="" target="_blank">extremely fancy train</a>. There, they were greeted by locals and were both all smiles heading into their busy day.</p><p>In the next image, the duo can be seen seated and giggling together like a true pair of best friends. In the caption, Kensington Palace explained that the two royals were “at the opening of the <a href="" target="_blank">Mersey Gateway Bridge</a>," watching local schoolchildren perform. </p><p>Kensington also shared a solo shot of Meghan, who appeared to be genuinely excited to be in Cheshire with the Queen, and also excited to meet this adorable baby. “Thank you to the huge crowds in the city centre that came to welcome The Queen and The Duchess of Sussex to Chester,” Kensington’s caption read.</p><p>The official account of the royal family then shared a final snap of Meghan alongside the Queen, again, with both of them grinning from ear-to-ear in sheer delight.</p><img alt="The Duchess Of Sussex Undertakes Her First Official Engagement With Queen Elizabeth II "src=""><p>So yeah, from the looks of it, Meghan may indeed be the new favorite member of the family. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch out baby Louis</a>, you better do something super cute soon.</p>
Categories: Travel

Google Rolls Out AI-powered Translations for 59 Languages You Can Use Offline

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:13
<p>Getting real-time translations at the click of a button just got easier for travelers who don’t have unlimited data or international plans, and are looking for ways to translate <a href="" target="_blank">languages</a> on the go.</p><p>Google recently <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that it’s going to begin offering its neural machine translation (NMT), AI-powered translation that can decipher and translate entire sentences into more natural sounding translations, offline.</p><p>While users could previously tap into offline translations through <a href="" target="_blank">Google Translate</a>, the translations were phrase based and didn't utilize the AI-capability of NMT, making the translations rougher.</p><p>NMT, on the other hand, takes entire sentences and pays close attention to proper grammar, according to Google representatives, enabling it to create more accurate translations that sound closer to the way a local would speak.</p><p>While NMT has long been available online, the new offline capability allows users to access <a href="" target="_blank">59 languages</a> without the need for a data connection.</p><p>Each language will take up between 35 to 45MB when downloaded so as not to hog device storage. Available languages include everything from Spanish and Icelandic to Vietnamese and Thai.</p><p>Meanwhile, Microsoft also offers similar AI-based translation offline capability across a <a href="" target="_blank">variety of languages</a> through Microsoft Translator.</p>
Categories: Travel

There's a Royal Reason Behind Meghan Markle's New Neutral Wardrobe

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:11
<p>On Thursday, Meghan Markle made her first official solo appearance with the Queen in Cheshire as a newly minted Duchess. And though the Duchess looked stunning in her cream-colored sheath dress by Givenchy — the same label that <a href="" target="_blank">designed her wedding gown </a>— many fans pointed out that it was a rather understated look for the often outspoken Markle. But, as it turns out, that muted tone was likely chosen on purpose.</p><p>“Meghan has opted for a neutral color once again,” fashion commentator Lucas Armitage told the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a>.</em> “I feel this is a clever styling tactic as it will always work with the Queen's look; she is known and applauded for her use of bright fun colors.”</p><p>Indeed, the Queen does love to remain the center of attention with her <a href="" target="_blank">brighter than bright frocks</a>, but she makes this fashion choice for her fans.</p><p>"She needs to stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen,'" her Majesty's daughter-in-law Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, revealed as part of the Smithsonian Channel documentary "<a href="" target="_blank">The Queen at 90.</a>" "Don't forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the Queen's hat as she went past."</p><img alt="Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends The Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration held at Buckingham Palace on May 22, 2018 in London, England. "src=""><p>And as Armitage added, “I would be shocked if Meghan ever opted for a bold colour, although it’s interesting to note in her previous life she was a fan of bright hues. I think the Queen and Meghan's relationship at this point is one built on respect, and Meghan has shifted her own personal style to adopt a more demure regal look - something I think the Queen will be thankful for.”</p><p>So yeah, it looks like Meghan will be rocking nudes for a little while longer. But, according to her <a href="" target="_blank">second wedding dress designer, Stella McCartney</a>, Meghan apparently knew she gave up her own personal style the moment she said “I do” to Harry.</p><img alt="Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9, 2018 in London, England. "src=""><p>“The role that she's taken on is very austere, it's very serious and I think there's a great weight that she has acquired though that and I think she takes it very seriously,” McCartney shared told the <a href="">BBC</a>. “I think it was the last moment that she could reflect, sort of the other side to her and, you know... the joy, and the human within her,” the designer added, referring to the last image we all saw of Markle getting into the Alpha Romeo to drive away with her new husband.</p><p>At least for now, we all have to get used to a pantyhose wearing, nude nail polish rocking, sort of quieter version of Meghan. But, who knows, maybe one day a bit of that old Hollywood glamour will sneak back into Kensington.</p>
Categories: Travel

Sri Lanka Has Beaches, Safari Parks, and Spectacular Tea Country—Here’s How to Combine All Three into the Perfect Trip

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:00
<p>Every year, my 14-year-old son, Luca, and I share a tradition. Around the time of his birthday, in February, we take an extended mother-and-son trip. The brief is that it has to be something educational, something fun, but, most of all, something bonding. Meaning that it has to be an experience we can talk about over and over, a time when we make memories. On our first trip, we learned how to scuba dive in the <a href="" target="_blank">Maldives</a>, exploring coral reefs and swimming with the most exquisite tropical fish; another year we explored Stasiland, in the former East <a href="" target="_blank">Berlin</a>, and learned about Cold War history.</p><p>This year, we decided his birthday voyage would be to Sri Lanka. On this relatively small, diverse island, we could have three different holidays in one trip — an advantage more and more travelers are getting wise to, thanks to Sri Lanka’s ongoing postwar recovery. Luca and I both love to surf and swim in the ocean, and a friend who lives part-time in Galle, on the southwestern coast, told us the surfing beaches around there were some of the best she had ever seen. We could also visit tea country, high in the island’s mountainous interior, and learn about Sri Lanka’s colonial past.</p> <img alt="Cape Weligama and a local surfer, on Sri Lanka's south coast" src=""> From left: The lobby at Cape Weligama, a high-end resort on Sri Lanka's southern coast; surfing in the Indian Ocean near the resort. Tom Parker <p>And then there is the wildlife. Ever since Luca was small and I would read him <em>The Jungle Book</em> and <em>Where the Wild Things Are,</em> I have promised to one day take him on a <a href="" target="_blank">safari</a>. My work as a war reporter has meant spending long stints in Africa, and I remember so well the first time I saw giraffes in the open; the first time I waited in the cold morning mist to see a lion; the first time I woke to the smell of the damp earth and the animals, so close by.</p><p>My son and I are both fascinated by big cats, and <a href="" target="_blank">Yala National Park</a>, about 100 miles east of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, has one of the highest concentrations of leopards on the planet. For months before our trip, we trawled the Internet together, researching their habits (many females are single mothers, like me — a detail I found heartening). We talked about what we would do when we saw our first one. “Mom, whatever you do, you <em>cannot</em> pet them,” Luca would say to me. “These aren’t baby cats. They are vicious animals!”</p><p>So when our Cessna light aircraft finally touched down about 45 minutes from Yala, we were primed. We stepped out of the plane into a blaze of heat and drove through a string of small villages, past schoolchildren in pastel-colored uniforms and stalls selling kaleidoscopic fruit and vegetables, until we reached our base camp: <a href="" target="_blank">Wild Coast Tented Lodge</a>.</p> <img alt="Wild Coast Tented Lodge, in Sri Lanka" src=""> Wild Coast Tented Lodge, a new safari property on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Tom Parker <p>The resort, which opened last fall, is pretty spectacular. It consists of 28 cocoon-like suites bordered by the park on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. A series of twisting jungle paths led us to our pod, where we found polished wooden floors, colonial-style furniture, and a freestanding copper tub. There was also a small front porch where we could sit and watch deer and exotic, colorful birds come to drink at a watering hole just a few feet away.</p><p>The sea near Yala is too rough to swim in — the waves crash and break against a wall of rock lined with sea urchins, and we were warned against standing too close to the edge. (Our host, the genial Teddy Roland, told usthe story of a Chinese tourist who insisted on taking a selfie, fell onto the rocks, and had to be sent to the hospital to have sea urchin spines removed from her feet.) But it didn’t matter: the hewn-rock pool was so beautiful that we were happy to wash away the effects of our journey there. Teddy invited us for cocktails at a table he had set up at the edge of the ocean; I had one with fresh watermelon juice and arak, the local spirit, while Luca had a mock <a href="" target="_blank">mojito</a>. We ate fresh shellfish outdoors at a candlelit table and, later, fell asleep to the sound of waves.</p> <p>I had never been to Sri Lanka before, but in January 2005, when Luca was only 10 months old, I flew to Tamil Nadu in southern India to report on children who had been orphaned by the Indian Ocean tsunami, which had struck a few weeks earlier. Just a couple of hundred miles south of where I was posted, more than 30,000 Sri Lankans had died and 25,000 had been injured when the wave hit the island. It was yet another body blow for a country already decimated by the long and bitter war between the government and the Tamil Tiger separatists that would eventually claim around 100,000 lives.</p><p>In 2009, the 26-year conflict finally ended with a government victory over the Tigers, and although there are still tensions between the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities, the island has remained largely peaceful since. Today the country is in a good place: the damage wrought by the tsunami has been repaired, and the people are hopeful. Tourism waned during the war, but now visitors are flocking back to Sri Lanka’s isolated beaches, peaceful tea plantations, and extraordinary wildlife reserves.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Bright Horizons for Sri Lanka</a></p><p>On our first morning at Yala, I was woken before dawn by birdcalls I had never heard before. Taking my coffee out on the porch as Luca slept indoors, I sat in the half-light and listened to a soundtrack totally distinct from those of my usual habitats of Paris and Manhattan. Later that day I learned how, in the minutes before the tsunami, there had been no birdcalls. “The animals knew that something was coming,” said our safari guide, a trainee environmental lawyer named Chandika Jayaratne. Most of the wildlife had fled to higher ground by the time the three giant waves struck Yala and flooded much of the national park — including a guesthouse where a group of 47 Sri Lankan tourists lost their lives.</p><p>We didn’t have to stray far from Wild Coast to encounter Yala’s abundant wildlife. As we set off down the road toward the park that first morning, an elephant came plodding up to our jeep and nudged one of the side mirrors with his trunk, knocking it onto the ground, and stuck around long enough for our guide to grow antsy. “They are so much bigger in real life,” Luca whispered, as the animal finally lost interest and wandered away.</p> <img alt="Wild Coast tented lodge in Sri Lanka offers safari experience to see elephants and leopards" src=""> From left: A guest suite at Wild Coast Tented Lodge; elephant spotting in Yala National Park, near the lodge. Tom Parker <p>Not everyone who comes to Yala sees a leopard, but we were lucky enough to spot one just an hour after entering the park. It came out from behind a rock, about 100 feet away. Majestic, arrogant, and ravishingly beautiful, it looked toward a row of jeeps from which tourists were filming the scene with their phones. The cat seemed completely unfazed by the crowd. “Does she know we are here?” Luca asked. “Oh, she knows, all right,” Chandika said. He had seen the leopard with its cubs the day before, so we waited for a long while for them to appear, but they did not.</p><p>At lunchtime we drove back to the hotel, went for a swim in the pool, and began to prepare for the second part of our safari, which would take us to the rockier, more dramatic part of the park known as Block Five. Most visitors forego this area because it’s a longer drive from the park entrance, but we decided to go around sunset to see which animals might come out to eat and drink before dark.</p><p>Midway through the safari, we got out of the jeep and ambled down a path to where Chandika and Teddy had laid out a surprise high tea in the middle of the forest, complete with a birthday cake for Luca. As monkeys scampered in the tree above us, hankering after our sandwiches, Luca told the Wild Coast team how he had been born in 2004 — the year of the monkey — so his father called him <em>le petit singe</em>, or little monkey.</p><p>One thing we quickly learned was that the only way to <a href="" target="_blank">appreciate the wildlife</a> was to be patient. The more time we spent quietly watching and waiting, the more we saw unfold around us, like hidden tableaux. There were noble elephants, and an endless parade of peacocks, spotted deer, crocodiles, monkeys, and turtles — all of which Chandika seemed to know everything about. “If you are patient and open-minded,” he told us, “you will see wonderful things.” Chandika himself set a great example, giving considered answers to each of our questions — “What do peacocks eat?” “What runs faster, a leopard or a spotted deer?” — no matter how banal.</p><p>We both felt sleepily content as we rose early the next day to drive to <a href="" target="_blank">Cape Weligama</a>, a beach resort on the southern coast owned by <a href="" target="_blank">Resplendent Ceylon</a>, the family-run firm behind Wild Coast Tented Camp. There we met Malik Fernando, whose father, Merrill, founded what would become Sri Lanka’s well-known Dilmah Tea empire in 1988. “We are a family of tea makers,” Malik told us over fresh ocean fish and vegetable curries that night. “But we are also accidental hoteliers.” Dilmah was the first producer-owned tea brand in the world, and the family’s hotels sprang out of a desire to show guests around the plantations. Ceylon Tea Trails’ five bungalows opened to visitors in 2005; then, in 2014, the family launched Sri Lanka’s most upscale beach resort.</p> <img alt="The beach near Cape Weligama resort in Sri Lanka" src=""> The beach near Cape Weligama. Tom Parker <p>At this idyllic spot, which lies a little way along the coast from Galle, Luca and I spent our days in the Indian Ocean. I brought my son into the ocean with me when he was just a few weeks old, and as a result we share a love of the water. Out on those azure seas, we spent hours just swimming, floating, dreaming. We had our own bungalow with a private pool where the jealous monkeys who lived in our garden would come and steal our morning croissants. It was absolutely blissful.</p><p>This part of the coast was once known for its stilt fishermen, who catch fish from perches several feet up above the ocean. Today, the locals mainly fish from the shore, though one morning, walking near the shallow ocean pools, Luca and I did see a group of men fishing the traditional way, balancing on stilts and launching their rods from high above the water.</p><p>To see the third part of the Fernando family’s empire, we flew by seaplane to the town of Hatton in the province of Central Sri Lanka, where their Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows offer guests a taste of the life in the plantations. Hatton lies more than 4,000 feet above sea level, and when our plane touched down on <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Castlereagh Reservoir</a>, there was a light mist hanging over the water. The surrounding hills were covered in lush overgrowth; here and there we could see women in pink saris bent over rows of tea bushes, picking leaves.</p><p>This is where the finest tea in Sri Lanka is grown. From the mid 19th century onward, Ceylon tea was a staple of the British colonial economy. It brought enormous revenue to a small group of white planters, who lived in these hills in high style, retaining many traditions from home. The workers were mostly Tamils from southern India, who eventually made up 10 percent of the island’s population. As with many colonies, the workers’ lives were far less pleasant than their employers’. Luca, who has spent a great deal of time in Africa’s former French colonies, was particularly affected by the stories we heard of their plight.</p> <img alt="Castlereagh Recevoir, in Sri Lanka's tea country" src=""> Sunset over Castlereagh Resevoir Tom Parker <p>As we stepped onto the banks of the lake, Luca and I saw five bungalows perched over the water. Still reeling from the flight, we climbed the hill to Castlereagh, the bungalow where we were to stay. Our room overlooked the water; was fitted out with grand, antique furniture; and came with a butler, who brought us morning tea in bed, according to planter tradition (he also offered to draw my bath; I was too embarrassed to accept). The house was full of books and old <em>National </em><em>Geographic</em>s, and in the garden we found an idyllic shaded pool and paths leading out into the hills.</p><p>We arrived a few days before Poya, the Sri Lankan Buddhist full-moon celebration, and in the evenings I would hear monks’ devotional chanting ringing out over the lake. At sunset the skies filled with strips of pink, lavender, and pale blue, and the air became chilly. Following another tea planter tradition, the butler would build fires in the sitting rooms in the evenings and hand guests single-malt whiskeys.</p><p>Our days were lazy and restorative. One morning we trekked to the nearby <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Dunkeld Estate</a> and watched how leaves were made into tea; another day we walked in the languid hills. Mostly we read, swam, and ate. The food was remarkable — especially the high tea served promptly at four, an English-style affair consisting of cucumber sandwiches, cream cakes, and scones.</p> <img alt="Tea service at Ceylon Tea Trails, and Dunkeld Bungalow" src=""> From left: High tea at Ceylon Tea Trails is served promptly at four o'clock; the Dunkeld Bungalow, one of five Ceylon Tea Trails cottages in the Sri Lankan highlands. Tom Parker <p>On our way back to Colombo, we had planned to visit Diana de Gunzburg, my old friend who now lives part-time in Sri Lanka. Tired of the gray Paris winters, she picked up one day and bought an old tea plantation outside Galle. She plans to open an ayurvedic health center on the grounds.</p><p>Diana gave us a tour of Galle’s old town, a labyrinth of tiny streets lined with shops selling spices, fabric, and religious trinkets. I bought nightgowns edged with lace as gifts for friends. “They look like something Stella McCartney would design,” Diana said. We bought coconut ice cream and climbed the fortress walls, following a group of schoolchildren with long braids down their backs.</p><p>That night the Poya festivities came to a head, with worshippers flocking to their temples to receive blessings. Diana’s friend had arranged for us to go to his local temple, where we wandered through the grounds and met a young monk who wrapped our wrists with a white thread and prayed for our protection.</p><p>We’ve only been back from Sri Lanka a few weeks, but I’m still wearing my white bracelet. Luca and I can’t stop talking about the trip. “Do you remember when we saw the leopard?” “Do you remember that monkey that hissed at me?” I keep looking back to the flight home to Paris from Colombo, the moment Luca and I climbed aboard the plane and squeezed into our seats, still full of the shared sensations of sunshine and adventure. I thought, even this, the voyage out, the voyage back, is going to be something we always share.</p> <img alt="Scenes from Sri Lanka" src=""> From left: An elephant near Yala National Park, which is also home to one of the world's largest concentrations of leopards; a stilt fisherman in the waters off Weligama, on Sri Lanka's southern coast. Tom Parker <h2>Getting There and Around</h2><p>The easiest connections into Colombo (CMB) go through London, Delhi, or major Gulf hubs like Doha or Abu Dhabi. For the most part, we got around the country by air; car transfers are simple to arrange, but the winding roads can make short trips into hours-long journeys. <a href="" target="_blank">Cinnamon Air</a> offers air taxi transfers to cities and resort towns out of Colombo and Kandy. Book well in advance, as flights are in demand. We did the trip in the following order, but the locations can be switched according to your preference.</p><h2>Colombo</h2><p>Most international flights land early in the morning, so I suggest staying a day in Colombo to get your bearings. We stayed at the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Shangri-La, Colombo</a> <em>(doubles from $180),</em> which opened last year. The property has a lovely pool and a spa—the perfect place to get rid of the worst of your jet lag. This, and its excellent Sri Lankan restaurant, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Kaema Sutra</a>, landed the property on <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Travel +</em><em>Leisure</em>’s 2018 It List</a> of the best new hotels in the world.</p><h2>Hatton</h2><p>The next morning, we took a seaplane to the tea plantations of Hatton. The trip is spectacular—after 40 minutes of staring out the window, mesmerized, you land on the emerald waters of the Castlereagh Reservoir. Our refuge there was <a href="" target="_blank">Ceylon Tea Trails</a> <em>(doubles from $722, all-inclusive),</em> a group of restored colonial bungalows in the hills of a working tea estate.</p><h2>Yala National Park</h2><p>We flew from Hatton to <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Yala National Park</a>, landing about 45 minutes from the park on the island’s southern coast. Many properties in this lush region have been rebuilt since the 2004 tsunami, but the newest option is <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Wild Coast Tented Lodge</a> <em>(doubles from $445, all-inclusive)</em>. This beachfront collection of cocoon-like villas in the coastal jungle was also an honoree on <a href="" target="_blank">T+L’s 2018 It List</a>.</p><h2>Weligama and Galle</h2><p>From Yala we drove to Weligama in the southwest, a four-hour journey. The area has a number of boutique hotels and surf hostels; our choice was the immaculate <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Cape Weligama</a> <em>(doubles from $364),</em> which, when it opened in 2014, was the southern coast’s first five-star beach resort. From Weligama, we made the short drive to Galle—a colonial fortress city that in recent years has become highly fashionable with international visitors and expats, who have brought with them juice bars, boutiques, and modern yoga retreats. Check out the fabrics, because tailors in Galle can make copies of favorite garments in local cotton and silk.</p><h2>Tour Operator</h2><p>The South Asia experts at <a href="" target="_blank">Greaves Tours</a> offer a range of Sri Lanka itineraries, including trips put together by advisors like Carole A. Cambata, who regularly appears on <a href="" target="_blank">T+L’s A-List</a> of top travel specialists (<em>nine-day itineraries from $2,789).</em></p><h2>What to bring</h2><p>Pack plenty of <a href="" target="_blank">mosquito repellent</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">sunscreen</a> with a high SPF, and light, modest clothing for safaris and temple visits. </p>
Categories: Travel

6 Crowdfunding Sites for Making Your Dream Vacation a Reality

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:00
<p>Being able to afford a <a href="" target="_blank">dream vacation</a> isn’t easy, but there are plenty of crowdfunding sites out there that make it easy for aspiring travelers to ask everyone from their loved ones to kind strangers on the web for the funds to go on their trip.</p><p>By creating an account on these sites, anyone will be able to donate to your cause — which in this case could be a <a href="" target="_blank">luxury honeymoon</a> or a volunteer program abroad. The only caveat is, the following sites keep a small percentage of the money raised. But that’s not a bad deal if it gets you one step closer to that grand destination.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">Honeyfund</a></h2><p>Instead of creating a wedding registry with items you probably don’t even need, why not ask guests to put that money towards your honeymoon? Through Honeyfund, couples can opt for exciting trips like an all-inclusive Caribbean resort to an Italian getaway, and there won’t be any added fees on top. If the love birds need immediate cash or want to cash out via PayPal, that’s the only time the site will require a payment of 2.8% + $0.30.</p><p>If you’re not about to get married, but still want to get away, visit Honeyfund’s sister site Plumfund. They promote all travel fundraisers from graduation trips to anyone spontaneously embarking on an adventure.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">Fund My Travel</a></h2><p>Volunteering, interning, studying, or doing something meaningful overseas? Sadly, it all comes at a price, but this is your chance to campaign and promote what you’re up to. The company believes it’s possible for anyone to make their travel dreams come true, so they’ll do what they can to get you noticed with a <a href="" target="_blank">low 5 percent commission fee</a>.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">GoFundMe</a></h2><p>As they claim to be the world’s top site for free travel fundraising, you may have better luck getting exposure for your wanderlust here. There’s also the “GoFundMe guarantee,” which ensures you get a refund if anything goes wrong with your donation. Overall, it’s a trusted site also offering 24/7 customer service.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">Crowdrise</a></h2><p>It’s a fast-growing platform that’s all about bringing people together for all good causes. If you have a mission trip or are raising money to volunteer in a place in need, this is where you should be. They’ve been recognized alongside Oprah for their charitable efforts, so there’s no questioning the brand’s mission.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">Fundly</a></h2><p>You can upload photos, post updates, and blog directly on the site allowing you to make your story much more personal. Fundly also concluded that 40 percent of campaigns are being seen on phones, so they created an app that not only allows you to manage your campaign, but it automatically makes your profile mobile-friendly. Additionally, there’s no minimum amount you have to raise, all funds can be withdrawn within 24-48 hours of when the donation was made.</p><h2><a href="" target="_blank">JustGiving</a></h2><p>The idea is to make good things happen by being generous and just giving. Ask and you shall receive, right? Over 22 million have jumped on board to make success stories worldwide happen and you could be next.</p>
Categories: Travel