Travel

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Visiting Britain’s Weirdest Castle

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:46
<p>What’s it like to live in a city with a 2,000-year-old fairy-tale <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/beautiful-castles-around-the-world" target="_blank">castle</a> at its center? Meghan Markle will find out this Thursday when she visits Cardiff Castle in the capital of Wales with fiancé Prince Harry.</p><p>In one of the couples’ first public duties, the actress and fifth (and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/kate-middleton-first-public-appearance-since-pregnancy" target="_blank">soon to be sixth</a>) in line to the British throne will spend Thursday looking around a medieval castle that became a bizarre Victorian Gothic revival mansion. Meghan might feel like she's back on a film set — and she will be; the BBC have filmed both “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” here.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-prince-harry-wedding-date" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announced Their Wedding Date, but There’s Just One Problem</a></p><img alt="Exterior of Cardiff Castle "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516115492/cardiff-castle-wide-exterior-CARDIFFCASTLE0118.jpg?itok=uWYQHMxJ"><p>Cardiff Castle was originally a Roman Fort, though the oldest part is now an 11th century Norman castle as well preserved as any in Britain. However, the real attraction is the bizarre Gothic transformation of a 15th-century mansion, which took place here during the 19th century when the castle was owned by John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. He was then one of the richest men in the world. His family made Cardiff the world's biggest coal port, and the Marquess gave architect William Burges whatever funds he needed to create one of the most lavish interiors in Britain.</p><p>Stuffed with intricate wood carvings depicting everything from Greek and Roman mythology to Aesop's Fables and the Zodiac, Cardiff Castle is now packed with Victorian Gothic strangeness.</p><img alt="Interior of Cardiff Castle "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516115492/cardiff-castle-interior-CARDIFFCASTLE0118.jpg?itok=tdMmEd_-"><p>Meghan and Harry will definitely grace Cardiff Castle's banqueting hall and library, two of the grandest rooms. They will be just the latest A-listers to grace the long table in the banqueting hall: Previous visitors include the Queen, who held a dinner here for a NATO meeting in 2014, attended by President Obama.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/why-meghan-markle-will-never-be-princess" target="_blank">Why Meghan Markle, Like Kate Middleton, Will Never Actually Be a Princess</a></p><p>Other visitors include Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and golfer Tiger Woods (the Ryder Cup dinner was held here in 2010). Its fireplace doubles as a model of a medieval castle. Reached via the great Octagon staircase, whose baluster is topped by a gilded alligator chasing a cherub, this site of an old medieval hall feels almost church-like.</p><img alt="Interior staircase at Cardiff Castle "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516115492/cardiff-castle-staircase-CARDIFFCASTLE0118.jpg?itok=DsC1ZCE2"><p>Down the staircase — via a statue of a lion in full armour with a dragon on its head, and a carved monkey stealing an apple from the Tree of Knowledge — is the warmer, wood-paneled Library.</p><p>The Royal couple will surely also visit the Arab Room, a Moorish fantasy room who impossibly intricate ceiling is decorated with around $11 million of gold-leaf. Here in the main 15th century part of the castle, the room is supposed to resemble where an Arab ruler's harem would live.</p><p>Perhaps the weirdest section of Cardiff Castle is the Clock Tower. It dominates the castle, and Cardiff itself. Inside is an eccentric suite of rooms designed to be a bachelor pad for the young Marquess. On the lower level is the extravagant Winter Smoking Room, its theme being “time” — the walls and ceiling contain images of constellations, the zodiac, cardinal points, and carved sunrises and sunsets. There are also cigar drawers and a drinks cabinet.</p><img alt="Detail of exterior and statue at Cardiff Castle "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516115492/cardiff-castle-exterior-CARDIFFCASTLE0118.jpg?itok=Y8UMLkpP"><p>However, the highlight is at the top of the tower, where the two-level Summer Smoking Room gives views across the city in all directions. Fittingly, it's all about the cosmos, with a grand tiled floor depicting the geocentric model, and walls containing figures of astronomers and Greek gods. The Marquess never did hold his bachelor party in such opulent surroundings, as intended — he got married just before the castle was finished.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/prince-harry-meghan-markle-engagement-photos" target="_blank">Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Official Engagement Photos Are Absolutely Stunning</a></p><p>Below the tower is the busy center of Cardiff, a bustling city whose exquisite Victorian and Edwardian a shopping arcades contain tea houses, interior stylists, vintage tailors and boutique food shops (and “The New York Deli,” in case Meghan needs a hoagie, bagel or a hot dog). Also below is the castle’s defensive Animal Wall hosting a stunning line-up of 15 carved stone statues including lions, bear, hyena, leopard, anteater, and raccoon.</p><p>What will Meghan think of one of Britain’s grandest and oddest buildings? There may be little that’s either Royal or Welsh about Wales’ most captivating castle, but Megan and Harry are in for a grand day out.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Winter Is the Perfect Time to Visit Bavaria

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:20
<p>On Zugspitze, Germany's tallest mountain, there is surprisingly decent schnitzel. There are also life-altering views. As I stood atop a glacier, the ski town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen nearly 9,000 feet below me, I looked down at what resembled an Alpine lake but was in fact the top of a cloud. Tethered to my wrist was a toboggan, the instrument of my shame — and eventual revelation.</p><p>The main reason for my trip to this part of Bavaria, the large state that occupies Germany's southeastern corner, was to indulge a curiosity about tobogganing. For years, I'd been eager to recapture the rush I'd experienced as a child, in Moscow, sledding down the man-made crevasse in front of our Cuban Missile Crisis–era tenement. And while most Americans regard sledding as a children's pastime — as quaint as snow angels and hot cocoa — I'd read that in Germany it was a legitimate adult winter sport. According to the German Bob &amp; Sled Federation, the country is home to about a hundred competitive clubs with 6,500 members.</p><p>I'd brought along my friend Paul Boyer as insurance against wimping out. A veteran of New York's wine industry, he made for an agreeable travel companion by possessing several crucial qualities I lacked: physical courage, an easy sociability, and a love of driving at unsafe speeds. When I confided to Paul that I was having second thoughts about ascending the Alps to sit astride a wooden rocket and plummet into an icy abyss, he laughed and said it sounded "totally rad."</p><p>We'd arrived in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/mobile-apps/travelers-get-more-online-dates" target="_blank">Munich</a>, Bavaria's largest city, a week earlier. After emerging from a U-Bahn station, we found ourselves near the iconic domed towers of the Frauenkirche, a 15th-century Gothic cathedral. We were in the midst of a downpour, and three women in yellow rain ponchos were singing on a makeshift stage for an audience of no one. It took me a moment to recognize the words to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." We hustled past this odd entertainment to the Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom, a traditional, wood-paneled tavern, to dry out by the hearth and sample one of the glories of Bavarian culture. The Nürnberger bratwurst is a pork sausage about the size of an American breakfast link that's grilled over a raging beechwood fire. According to some Mitteleuropean sausage mavens, the Glöckl serves the Platonic ideal of the Nürnberger — what Fauchon on Paris's Place de la Madeleine is to the macaron and Yonah Schimmel on New York's East Houston Street is to the potato-and-mushroom knish.</p><p>In the first-floor dining room, we sat next to men in lederhosen, knee socks, loden jackets, and felt hats decorated with feathers and pewter pins — a demographic we would encounter at every drinking establishment we visited in Bavaria. "Welcome to our strange land," whispered Willibald Bauer, a friend who hails from Munich and manufactures some of the world's finest record players several neighborhoods away. We were making short work of our glasses of Helles — the light, crisp lager native to Munich — when I asked Bauer, the product of an old local family, what made Bavarians distinct from other Germans. "A distrust of anyone except our neighbors," he answered brightly. "Also, Bavarians drink a lot of beer, and beer makes you sentimental." Just then the group in the lederhosen linked arms and began crooning a ribald folk ballad with a broad, boozy vibrato.</p><p>After lunch we headed to the Tegernsee, a lake encircled by snow-rimmed Alps that's a popular getaway for Munich residents. The hour-long southbound drive snaked along mowed fields lined with Lilliputian sheds and distant foothills. The country's longest natural toboggan course winds high above the Tegernsee, on the slopes of a 5,650-foot-tall mountain called the Wallberg. On the autobahn, a minivan carrying a family of six whipped past us so fast that it felt like we were puttering along on a hay baler by comparison.</p><img alt="Gondola and sledders in Bavaria, Germany. "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515702227/gondola-and-sledders-in-bavaria-germany-BAVARIA0118.jpg?itok=eGKokeNF"><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.booking.com/hotel/de/bachmair-weissach.html" target="_blank">Bachmair Weissach</a>, a contemporary hotel decorated with the mahogany and deer skulls of a traditional hunting lodge, awaited us on the lake's southern shore. One of the restaurants inside specialized in fondue; stripped of the kitschy 1970s connotation it has in America, fondue made a lot of sense. We spent our first dinner in Germany dipping forkfuls of bread, speck, and sliced figs into a pot of tangy Bergkäse — mountain cheese — and washing it down with glasses of cold Sylvaner.</p><p>The following morning we made a trip around the Tegernsee through villages of low houses with flower-garlanded balconies. In the town of Bad Wiessee, we stopped for lunch at Fischerei Bistro, a wooden structure flanked by two bathtubs used for chilling champagne. Christoph von Preysing, the handsome thirtysomething proprietor, pointed to a fishery he operated across the lake. It was the origin of the seriously delicious char he served three ways — in a salad, as roe, and as a whole, delicately smoked fillet. Later, in a village also called Tegernsee, on the opposite shore, we applied ourselves to a softball-size, butter-hued bread dumpling in mushroom gravy and local pilsner at the Herzogliches Bräustüberl Tegernsee, a cavernous beer hall inside a former Benedictine monastery. Hundreds of locals, day-trippers from Munich, and tourists from much farther away ate and drank to the sounds of a live brass band while waitresses laden with plates of wurst and baskets of Laugenbrezeln, traditional pretzels made with lye and salt, shimmied between the tables.</p><p>That afternoon, we discovered that we would have to put our tobogganing on hold — because of unexpected warm weather, much of the snow had melted and the toboggan runs were closed. We rode the gondola to the top of the Wallberg anyway. Below us, the lake and the surrounding villages looked like a model-railroad landscape; the storybook peaks behind us receded into Austria.</p><p>According to the sweltering five-day forecast, the only place in Germany where we were certain to find tobogganing was atop Zugspitze, where the runs are open year-round. The drive there took us along the Isar River, which glowed such a luminous shade of aquamarine that we wondered whether it was rigged with underwater lights, and past Karwendel, a nature preserve roughly the size of Chicago. The landscape of jagged rock walls streaked with rugged pines and snow brought to mind the mythological operas of Richard Wagner, who spent his happiest years in Bavaria.</p><p>With history on our minds and the overture from Das Rheingold blaring in our rented BMW, Paul and I decided to make an unexpected detour to Linderhof Palace, the favorite home of Wagner's patron, King Ludwig II. Handsome and tall, the Swan King, as he was known, enjoyed making unannounced trips to the countryside and presenting the farmers he met with lavish gifts. Some locals still refer to him in the Bavarian dialect as <em>Unser Kini</em> — Our King. As European monarchs go, Ludwig was about as fun as they get.</p><img alt="Bavarian man and Zugspitze peak, in Germany "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515702227/bavarian-man-sledding-peak-BAVARIA0118.jpg?itok=dU5NHBG_"><p>Linderhof looks like a shrunk-down Versailles transplanted to a remote mountain valley. The unexpectedly dainty palace is filled to the rafters with several types of marble, Meissen china, elephant-tusk ivory, and enough gold leaf to gild a regional airport. Its most remarkable feature is a dining table that was set with food and wine in a subterranean kitchen and raised by a winch to the room above, where Ludwig preferred to eat alone. Afterward, he sometimes adjourned to the Venus Grotto, a man-made stalactite cave with an underground lake, painted to look like a scene from Wagner's Tannhäuser. There, the Bavarian king was rowed about in a gilt seashell boat while one of the first electrical generators in Europe lit the walls in otherworldly colors.</p><p>Schloss Elmau, our hotel and home base near the Zugspitze for the next four days, proved equally remarkable. It stands in a mountain valley where Ludwig's horses stopped for water on the way to his hunting lodge on one of the nearby peaks. It is a vast, rambling structure anchored by a Romanesque tower, but our rooms were located in a newer, posher building called the Retreat. As we pulled up, a young woman in a dark suit approached our car and, in an aristocratic London accent, said, "Welcome, Mr. Halberstadt." She led us inside a spacious common area trimmed in dark wood and filled with Chinese tapestries, shelves of hardcover books, and precisely trained spotlights, then onto a deck with a view of a mountain that jutted up into the clouds. When I inquired about checking in, our guide informed me that nothing as mundane as check-in existed at the Schloss Elmau, and that we were welcome to go up to our rooms at any time.</p><img alt="Sledding in Bavaria and a room at the Schloss Elmau hotel "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515702227/sledding-and-schloss-elmau-hotel-BAVARIA0118.jpg?itok=BrIYpKzK"><p>Mine turned out to be a rambling suite with Balinese and Indian accents, discreet motion-sensor lights, and a 270-degree vista of the valley. (Later, I discovered that when the Schloss hosted the G7 summit in 2015, my suite was occupied by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan.) Despite the sumptuous rooms and numerous restaurants, saunas, and heated pools, the Schloss manages the trick of appearing neither forbidding nor gaudy. Studied yet casual touches — a shelf of board games, piles of art books with worn spines — defuse one's awareness of the impeccable, laborious service happening just out of sight.</p><p>As it turned out, the books I saw everywhere were more than an affectation. The Schloss contains three private libraries and a large bookstore. The latter is staffed by Ingeborg Prager, a tiny septuagenarian fond of red wine and cigarettes, whose main function at the Schloss Elmau, as far as I could tell, was to engage guests in conversations about books. Elsewhere, several halls host more than 220 performances a year by classical and jazz musicians, some world-renowned. The cultural program also includes intellectual symposia, readings, and mystifying events like Bill Murray reciting the poems of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman while accompanied by a string trio.</p><p>I learned about the unlikely history of the place from its owner, Dietmar Müller-Elmau. The Schloss was a lark of his grandfather, Johannes Müller, a Protestant theologian and best-selling author of philosophical and spiritual treatises. Financed in 1914 by a countess who admired Müller's teachings, it was intended as a retreat for visitors to transcend their egos by walking in nature and dancing vigorously to classical music. Eventually, Müller's philosophical legacy was muddied by his vocal admiration for Hitler, and after the war the Schloss became an American military hospital and later a sanatorium for the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. When Müller-Elmau took over the property, which was being run by his family as a barely profitable hotel, he saw it as an albatross. "But eventually I became interested in hotels," he told me. Today, the Schloss is a reflection of his many odd and exacting thoughts about hospitality, décor, and culture.</p><img alt="Lamb at Mizu restaurant, and a view of Tegernsee Lake and Rottach-Egern "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515702227/mizu-foof-and-tegernsee-lake-BAVARIA0118.jpg?itok=-9Ua8kSu"><p>Other sights awaited us. Located a 20-minute drive away, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a quaint town best known for hosting the 1936 Winter Olympics. It is dominated by a sinister-looking stadium surrounded by monumental sculptures of athletes. Luckily, not all of it is grim. One night, we headed there for dinner at Husar, where Paul and I made short work of the impossibly light veal schnitzel and confit of quail with beet carpaccio prepared by chef  Verena Merget. Her husband, Christian, uncorked a single-vineyard dry Riesling from Schlossgut Diel in Nahe that tasted like a cocktail of limes and quartz dust. Then he opened another.</p><p>The morning we went to Zugspitze, we found our car waiting for us outside the Retreat. In Garmisch, we parked by the unnervingly fast gondola, which shot us to the top of Zugspitze at an almost vertical incline; a smaller lift brought us to the glacier. A surly man at the equipment-rental counter shot me a funny look when I asked for a wooden sled. "Only pregnant mothers rent those," he grumbled in accented English, then snickered when I asked for a helmet. Paul and I walked into the thin air dragging small plastic toboggans. A diagram on the wall had explained that you steered them by leaning back and lowering a foot into the snow. This looked dangerously unscientific.</p><p>I made the first run haltingly down a gentle slope, lurching from side to side and finally coming to an ungraceful stop at the bottom. I wiped the snow from my face and trudged back up. After several descents I began to get the hang of steering around corners and felt the joyous tingling in the solar plexus I'd recalled from my childhood.</p><p>"You know this is the kiddie slope, right?" Paul said. He was waiting for me at the top, grinning evilly. A sign beside him contained a line drawing of a woman and a small child on a sled.</p><p>A short walk away, the grown-up slope plunged nearly straight down and then twisted out of sight. While I squinted at it apprehensively, a man in glasses and a green parka hopped on a toboggan and sped away. At the bottom of the first descent, the toboggan went out from under him and skittered onto the adjacent slope, nearly taking out a group of skiers. The man came to a halt on his back with his limbs splayed, looking like a beached starfish. I looked at Paul.</p><p>"Come on," he said, "this will be awesome!" I searched inside myself but received only a mournful, definitive no. "Your loss, dude," Paul said, and shot down the slope. I watched his jacket grow smaller as he whizzed out of sight. Just then I regretted inviting him. I bit my lip and trudged away shamefully. A short while later I saw Paul walking toward me, his arms raised in triumph. "I scored weed on the ski lift," he shouted.</p><p>We agreed to meet later and I meandered back to the kiddie slope, pulling the toboggan behind me. The sun warmed my face and ahead of me the snow seemed to merge with the sky, making it look like I was walking on the roof of the world. Soon my mood lifted, too. I realized that I wanted sledding to remain in childhood, where it could keep singing its nostalgic song. Like hot cocoa and tonsillitis, it was something better left in the past. At the top of the kiddie slope I sat on the toboggan and pushed myself down the hill. By the time I got to the bottom, my face plastered with snow, I'd found what I'd come looking for.</p><p><img src="http://www.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><h2>How to Explore Bavaria</h2><h3>Getting There</h3><p>This corner of Germany is renowned for its medieval villages, fairy-tale castles, hearty food, and outdoor pursuits — especially tobogganing in the winter. To get there, fly to Munich, the state capital, where you can rent a car and explore the region's scenic rural roads at your own pace.</p><h3>Hotels</h3><p><strong><a href="https://www.bachmair-weissach.com/" target="_blank">Hotel Bachmair Weissach</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Located an hour south of Munich, this rambling, comfortable resort has a Zen-meets-hunting-lodge vibe, several good restaurants, and stunning mountain views. The property provides easy access to skiing and tobogganing on the Wallberg. <em>Doubles from $302.</em></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.schloss-elmau.de/en/" target="_blank">Schloss Elmau</a>: </strong>This grand hotel, hidden in an Alpine mountain valley about an hour west of Bachmair Weissach, is an utterly singular Bavarian experience. Daily concerts, numerous spas, nine restaurants, and a bookstore on the premises are just part of the story. <em>Doubles from $522.</em></p><h3>Restaurants</h3><p><strong><a href="http://fischerei-tegernsee.com/" target="_blank">Fischerei Bistro</a>: </strong>Impeccable local seafood served on the shores of the Tegernsee.<em> Entrées $11–$39.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.braustuberl.de/" target="_blank">Herzogliches Bräustüberl Tegernsee</a>: </strong>A rollicking beer hall in a former monastery, this spot can't be beat for its Laugenbrezeln — traditional pretzels made with lye and salt — and people-watching. <em>Entrées $8–$15.</em></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.schloss-elmau.de/en/restaurants/" target="_blank">Luce d'Oro</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Schloss Elmau's Michelin-starred restaurant serves refined yet approachable food alongside a colossal wine list.<em> Entrées $26–$57.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.bratwurst-gloeckl.de/en/home/" target="_blank"><strong>Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl am Dom:</strong></a> A beloved institution famous for its wood-grilled Nürnberger sausages and fresh Helles beer — with décor seemingly unchanged since the time of King Ludwig II. <em>Entrées $8–$32.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://restauranthusar.de/" target="_blank">Restaurant</a>:</strong> In this sky-blue house covered in 200-year-old murals, chef Verena Merget's flavorful Bavarian cooking pairs perfectly with a beverage program deep in German wines.<em> Entrées $23–$46.</em></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.seehotel-ueberfahrt.com/restaurant-ueberfahrt" target="_blank">Restaurant Überfahrt</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>At the only Michelin three-starred restaurant in Bavaria, you can enjoy regionally influenced food in a modern dining room. <em>Tasting menus from $266.</em></p><h3>Activities</h3><p><strong><a href="http://www.schlosslinderhof.de/englisch/palace/history.htm" target="_blank">Linderhof Palace</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Though the popular Venus Grotto is closed for restoration, the extensive formal gardens surrounding this Rococo 19th-​century schloss in the Bavarian Alps are as compelling as the rooms inside. <em>Tickets from $10.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.wallbergbahn.de/en/winter/" target="_blank">Wallberg</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>In addition to Germany's longest toboggan run, this mountain claims unparalleled views of town and lake below. Take the gondola up at any time of year for breathtaking Alpine panoramas. <em>Lift tickets from $12.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://zugspitze.de/en/winter" target="_blank">Zugspitze</a>:</strong><strong> </strong>Nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the country's tallest peak offers year-round tobogganing on natural snow — plus equipment rental, rustic restaurants, and a wealth of facilities. <em>Lift tickets from $52.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Reese Witherspoon’s Adorable Family Getaway Will Inspire You to Take a Snowy Vacation

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:49
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/reese-witherspoon-summer-vacation-style" target="_blank">Reese Witherspoon</a> may be one of Hollywood’s hardest working celebrities, but that doesn’t mean she shies away from a vacation every now and again. In fact, if her Instagram account is any indication, she’s a true <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/reese-witherspoon-vacation-style-hair" target="_blank">vacationing expert</a>.</p><p>Over the weekend, Witherspoon shared a few photos and live updates to her Instagram account as she enjoyed a bit of fun in the snow in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/summer-vacations/sun-valley-idaho" target="_blank">Sun Valley, Idaho</a> with her husband, Jim Toth, and her three children, Ava, Deacon, and Tennessee.</p><p>“The mountains are calling…” Witherspoon captioned a photo of her and her husband as they stood in front of the mountains on a perfect bluebird day.</p><p>She shared another joyous photo of herself in front of a red barn with the simple caption, “I love Sun Valley!”</p><p>But this wasn’t the only vacation the Hollywood A-lister went on in recent months. She’s taken more than a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/reese-witherspoon-bahamas" target="_blank">few beautiful beach vacations</a> recently, including a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/reese-witherspoon-summer-vacation-style" target="_blank">lavish-looking girls trip to the Hamptons</a> over the summer and a wilderness vacation to Canada with her son, Deacon.</p><p>However, on her trip with Deacon, things got a bit hairy for the adventure lover.</p><p>"We went kayaking in this glacier water, and the water's freezing cold because it's really north in Canada, and they said 'No, there's no way you can roll this kayak because it is literally un-rollable,'" Reese told <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNfeyUkjW10" target="_blank">Ellen during an appearance on 'The Ellen Show</a>'. "What did I do five minutes into it? Rolled us right into the water."</p><p>As she further explained, "I went straight into a tree, grabbed it, flipped the whole thing into the glacier and start screaming 'Help! Help! Deacon help!' But it was really funny. And it's a good story to tell on 'Ellen'."</p><p>Maybe it’s best Witherspoon sticks to dry land from now on.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Caribbean Island Hideaway Is a Surf Paradise

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:38
<p>The first and last time I saw Rihanna — in a swimsuit, no less — was at the airport. Her likeness was just behind the customs booth, hanging in a place typically reserved for government leaders.</p><p>I had expected to see Barbados's most famous daughter many, many times over the course of my weeklong stay. But I quickly discovered that the locals aren't especially caught up in Rihanna's allure. They'd rather focus on people and places that the rest of the world hasn't already discovered.</p><p>Barbados has always been a bit of an outlier in the Caribbean. Geographically, this former British colony is the region's easternmost country, a pear-shaped island jutting far out into the southern Atlantic. (It is so far east, in fact, that it is usually spared by hurricanes.) And though the Caribbean-facing western coast has long been popular with well-heeled Brits who fly in for the polo, the five-star resorts, and the pristine beaches, the windswept, Atlantic-facing eastern coast is still wild and unpolished. It draws a bohemian, international crowd of hippies and outdoorsy types, who come not only for the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/virgin-holidays-opening-first-beach-airport-lounge" target="_blank">laid-back pace</a> but also for the spectacular surf — something that few Caribbean islands can claim. The breaks in Barbados may not be on the same level as the Gold Coast of Australia, but the country is slowly gaining international cred, as evidenced by last spring's Barbados Surf Pro, the first-ever professional tournament held there. I came to this underrated surfing paradise to spend time with my dad, Paul, a wave enthusiast who had always tried to lure me, a reluctant sun worshipper, to the beach.</p><p>Culturally, Barbados produces proud outliers: people who want to build a life on the island, yet also want their work to be recognized beyond a country so small that when you ask people which neighborhood they're from, they'll give you the specific street. The painter Sheena Rose is one of these outliers. With her statement glasses and ever-changing hair, Rose looks like someone you'd see on the streets of Brooklyn. "I consider myself a Bajan Frida Kahlo," she told me when we met shortly after I landed for a lunch overlooking the sea at the Crane Hotel.</p><p>Barbados does not have an art school. Nor is there much of an art scene (most of the galleries cater to tourists who want paintings of sunsets) beyond Rose and her crew of creative friends. And yet Rose is a rising star in the contemporary art world, whose work has appeared at the Venice Biennale and London's Royal Academy of Arts. Venus Williams collects her. Rose earned an MFA from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, which she attended on a Fulbright scholarship. "I feel like an outsider now, after Greensboro," she said, as we drove to her tiny studio. "I don't feel like a full Bajan anymore." Rose still lives with her parents in a middle-class neighborhood of pastel homes faded by the salty air, not far from Bridgetown, the capital city. When we walked in the door, <em>The Andy Griffith Show</em> played on the large TV in the living room, and Rose crouched down to pet one of her three dogs. (Their names are Popcorn, Caramel, and Candy.)</p><p>She then took me into her studio — once her brother's bedroom — to see Sweet Gossip, her latest series of paintings. Local black women were drawn in outlines, their faces marked by dabs of color to show how the light hit their skin. And what colors they were: dusky roses, slate blues, dark caramels, olive greens. Some of the women were talking on the phone, others lounged in classic poses like odalisques. The backgrounds and clothing, with their bright geometric patterns, recalled West African batiks or Moroccan tiles.</p><img alt="Grilled snapper, and artist Sheena Rose, in Barbados "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515703842/grilled-snapper-and-artist-sheena-rose-BARBADOS1217.jpg?itok=HtOrkoEa"><p>After oohing and ahhing over the paintings so much that Rose's mom, Elaine, a caterer, started laughing at me, I told Rose on the spot I needed to buy one.</p><p>Later, a question occurred to me. "Is it Barbadian or Bajan? Is one preferred by the locals?"</p><p>"Not really," Elaine replied.</p><p>"Maybe people prefer Bajan, I guess," Rose added. She used my curiosity as an excuse to introduce me to popular local phrases. "There's ‘cheeseon,' which is kind of like saying, ‘Jesus,' and ‘cawblein,' which is if you're surprised or can't believe it."</p><p>A taxi driver named Valance picked me up at Rose's home and drove me the hour or so to the town of Bathsheba, the epicenter of the surf scene on the eastern coast. As we passed mahogany trees, a lighthouse, and a rainbow, I got a call from my dad, who was meeting me there and had arrived the night before.</p><p>"This place reminds me of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/maui-hawaii-best-island" target="_blank">Hawaii</a> in the seventies," he said. "And I know because I was in Hawaii in the seventies. I need you to get a bottle of Mount Gay XO rum. Are you writing this all down?"</p><p>I answered in the affirmative.</p><p>"I didn't know I liked rum, but this stuff is amazing," he said.</p><p>Valance and I stopped at a supermarket to pick some up. Barbados is, after all, the birthplace of rum, so I knew it would be good, but I wasn't prepared for the smoky elixir that is Mount Gay, the oldest brand. It's perhaps even more delicious when mixed with passion-fruit juice, bitters, and nutmeg into a punch, which is the welcome drink the Sea-U Guest House, in Bathsheba, serves to arriving visitors. Perched on a hill overlooking the coast, it's the kind of small bed-and-breakfast that attracts adventurous, laid-back guests who don't mind the lack of room service and air-conditioning because they're more interested in finding the best surf spot or chasing a recommendation of a great local yoga instructor.</p><p>"I came here twenty years ago as a writer and thought, <em>Well, I don't have to travel anymore,</em>" Uschi Wetzels, the German owner of Sea-U, told me. "This place is luscious and remote and yet not that far from civilization."</p><p>I was staying in the whitewashed main house, where the six simple rooms have rattan chairs, Patricia Highsmith novels, and beds draped with mosquito nets (which I quickly learned were not entirely decorative and, actually, totally necessary). That evening, Paul and I sat on our shared balcony facing the sea, rum punches in hand.</p><p>"Did you surf today?" I asked.</p><p>"No. I needed a day to observe," he replied, somewhat elliptically. My dad has been surfing since his early teens and still goes out on the water every week in Santa Cruz, California, where I grew up. As his only child, I was a real failure in the outdoorsy department, spending trips to Kauai bored in hotel rooms reading the Brontë sisters and wishing I were in gray northern England. I have since come to my senses and learned to appreciate tropical vacations, even though I had no intention of getting on a surfboard on this one.</p><img alt="Local surfer SeaCar, and Paddle Barbados, in Barbados "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515703842/sea-cat-and-kayaker-BARBADOS1217.jpg?itok=wuRRZfR7"><p>Later on, we walked down the road from Sea-U to dinner at De Garage Bar &amp; Grill, a casual, open-air café. On the way there, we ran into two local surfers named SeaCat and Biggie, who chatted with Paul about their favorite board shapers in San Diego. At the restaurant, soca music blasted, and we ordered grilled whole red snapper with rice and peas to share. The temperature outside was a perfect 80 degrees, and the local Banks beers were ice-cold, which made the fish taste that much better. Dessert was a shared sliver of piña-colada-flavored cheesecake that we devoured in 90 seconds.</p><p>The next morning, I drank coffee on the porch to fight my hangover while watching a family of green monkeys jump from tree to tree. I walked down the hill from Sea-U to the beach, which, thankfully, took all of five minutes, stopping to wave hello to Valance, who was driving by in his taxi. At the bottom of the hill was the main road — the only road — with beach houses and rum shacks on one side and the coast on the other. The beach went on for a couple of miles and was strewn with massive limestone boulders that separated it into smaller sections and surf spots, each with its own name. Soup Bowl, the most famous break, is one of Kelly Slater's favorite waves in the world.</p><p>"Have you seen a tall, white American guy surfing?" I asked a passerby. He hadn't. Giving up the search for my father, I stopped at Parlour, a beach with tide pools the size of small swimming pools, where an eclectic crowd — a young couple with a baby, a crew of teen girls, a group of middle-aged women — was <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/bluest-water-destinations" target="_blank">soaking in the turquoise waters</a> to get a little relief from the heat. We all watched a man fishing for squid and then cheered on someone's dog who had dived into the water.</p><p>I eventually found Paul, and we caught up over lunch at Sea Side Bar, a classic island shack that locals frequent to hear cricket matches on the radio and eat a mean mahi-mahi sandwich, heavy on the addictive, just-spicy-enough yellow-pepper sauce that's more ubiquitous on the island than ketchup. Paul filled me in on his trip to Bath Beach, about<br />half an hour south, with Jason Cole, who owns Paddle Barbados, one of the island's most popular surf outfitters. "Soup Bowl was windy in the morning, so we went down the coast, where the waves were about waist-high," Paul told me. "There are sea urchins and lionfish, so you have to be careful."</p><p>One day at Soup Bowl, Paul and I ran into Chelsea Tuach and her mom, Margot. Tuach is an east-coast fixture. Ranked 23rd in the world in women's professional surfing, Tuach is a third-generation Bajan. She's 22, but looks much younger in her braces and jean shorts. "Out here it's a bit of everyone surfing, really," she said in her lilting, almost Irish-sounding accent. "Old guys like Snake who come down for big swells, my generation who go out every day, parents teaching their kids to surf."</p><img alt="Surfer Chelsea Tuach at the Soup Bowl, and lunch at Lone Star, in Barbados "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515703842/surfer-chelsea-tuach-and-lone-star-mahi-mahi-BARBADOS1217.jpg?itok=2dIUn2lu"><p>While Tuach went out in the water, we sat on raised benches under a sign that read da spot. Paul explained the byzantine and entirely unspoken pecking order that determines which surfer gets which wave. "It's who was there first, but at the same time, the local surfer and the better surfer go first." As both a local and a pro, Tuach would always get priority. We watched as she caught a wave and Paul narrated: "Chelsea up. Boom! Off the lip." A serene moment passed between us. "Who knew I'd ever be sitting and watching surfing with you?" I asked. My dad laughed and patted my head. "I love you."</p><p>Our father-daughter serenity lasted until the next day, when we had to drive together. We were leaving the eastern coast for the west, the wild for the more expected, and doing the hour-long road trip ourselves in a rented Suzuki jeep with a canvas roof. In Barbados, which is part of the British commonwealth, driving is on the left. When Paul would veer off the narrow highway so as to avoid cars coming in the other direction, my eyes jumped to the four-foot-deep ditch just inches away from our vehicle — I was terrified that the jeep was going to roll over.</p><p>The interior of the island can be dry compared with the jungly eastern coast. We passed small, faded houses and seemingly endless fields of sugarcane until we came to Hunte's Gardens. What sounded like just another tourist attraction turned out to be a lush oasis (and a welcome relief from the tension between us). Bajan horticulturist Anthony Hunte bought this former sugar plantation, which dates back to the 17th century, in 1990; he opened it as one of the world's most unlikely public gardens 10 years ago.</p><p>"This is paradise," I shouted to Paul as we parked on the side of the road and walked down the stairs to see this incredible spot in the middle of the rain forest. Spread out before us was an over-the-top, rambling tropical garden built into a sinkhole 150 feet deep and 500 feet across. Paths wound through towering palm trees, red ginger, birds-of-paradise, monsteras, impatiens, and taro that would make any budding horticulturist burn with envy. Sculptures of saints and Buddhas were scattered about. I followed a trail past a giant lobster-claw plant and was surprised to come upon a British family having a proper afternoon tea.</p><img alt="Hunte's Gardens, and Sea Side Bar, in Barbados "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515703842/huntes-gardens-and-seaside-bar-BARBADOS1217.jpg?itok=lDUTr8M1"><p>Later, I bumped into Imran, the sole groundskeeper. "We keep it natural," he told me.</p><p>"How does it stay so lush but groomed?" I asked.</p><p>"Remember, a weed is only a weed if you don't want it there," he replied.</p><p>As bewitching as we found these unexpected havens, there comes a time when calm, sandy beaches and climate-controlled hotel rooms call out to you. <a href="http://thelonestar.com/" target="_blank">The Lone Star</a>, a stylish boutique hotel and restaurant on the western coast, was the answer to our prayers.</p><p>Purchased in 2013 by the British millionaire and soccer team owner David Whelan, the Lone Star was once a garage and gas station. The old structure is still intact, but it now houses six chic guest rooms, each named for a classic American car. I was in Buick, which was done up in preppy, crisp blue and white and had a terrace the size of my living room in Brooklyn, about 20 feet from the water.</p><p>"Now this is the ideal beach for drinking rosé," Paul said. The Lone Star's small stretch of sand runs just the length of the hotel. It is private for guests and never crowded. There were plenty of chaises and umbrellas, but I settled on my terrace, with the bottle of rum punch that the hotel leaves for everyone as a welcome gift. I started a watercolor painting of a potted palm.</p><p>Within an hour, Paul resurfaced, dragging a paddleboard down the beach. "This is big enough to land a plane on," he said, by way of invitation. After a few days of watching everyone else stand up on a board, I had decided to give it a go. I attached the leash to my ankle, swam out in the waveless water, and hurled myself onto the board with all the grace of a sea lion. I managed to balance for a few seconds and then fell. Paul stood on the beach, rosé in hand, and shouted instructions I couldn't make out.</p><p>That night, we went to dinner at the Lone Star's restaurant, which is one of the most famous on Barbados, for good reason. It's open-air, right on the beach, and decorated all in white. The whole place is reminiscent of something one might find in the south of France, and it attracts a similarly fashionable crowd of men in linen and women in Isabel Marant dresses.</p><img alt="Sea-U Guest House, and the Soup Bowl, in Barbados "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515703842/sea-u-hammock-and-soup-bowl-surfer-BARBADOS1217.jpg?itok=Lte9D2wc"><p>There was plenty of local fish on the menu, but also curries and shepherd's pie for the British lads. Paul ordered snapper, I had the seafood linguine, and we split an exceptional bottle of bone-dry Pouilly-Fuissé. But the high point of the meal was the banana doughnuts with coconut ice cream, rum caramel, and crushed pistachios. The restaurant was so fun and the food so delicious that we couldn't wait to return the following night.</p><p>When I woke up the next day, I could see Bajan grannies in shower caps bathing in the water, gossiping as they kept afloat on pool noodles. I swam out into the sea, perhaps a little too far. I could see a lone figure on a paddleboard, a mile or so up the coast. It was Paul, communing with the ocean one last time.</p><p>As I swam back to shore, I heard a familiar song playing at the Lone Star's restaurant. "We found love in a hopeless place," sang a plaintive voice coming over the speakers. It was a cover of a Rihanna song, and I was happy to hear it.</p><p><img src="http://www.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><h2>The Details: What to Do in Today's Barbados</h2><h3>Getting There</h3><p>Fly nonstop to Grantley Adams International Airport from multiple U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, Miami, and Charlotte.</p><h3>Hotels</h3><p><strong><a href="http://thelonestar.com/" target="_blank">Lone Star Boutique Hotel</a>:</strong> A small yet polished boutique hotel on the west coast. Enjoy breakfast on your suite's terrace. <em>Doubles from $2,000.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.seaubarbados.com/" target="_blank">Sea-U Guest House</a>:</strong> The best place for a visit to the island's east coast, this property may not have air-conditioning, but it makes up for it with tropical gardens and unspoiled beaches. <em>Doubles from $179.</em></p><h3>Restaurants &amp; Bars</h3><p><strong>De Garage:</strong> Grilled whole fish and piña colada cheesecake at this divey local haunt are made even better by the loud soca music and convivial atmosphere. <em>Bathsheba; 246-433-9521.</em></p><p><strong>Dina's Bar &amp; Café:</strong> Sit outside at this multicolored café and indulge in the island's famous rum punch. <em>Main Rd., Bathsheba; 246-433-9726.</em></p><p><strong><a href="https://www.craneresorts.com/" target="_blank">L'Azure</a>: </strong>Overlooking the pristine Crane Beach, this restaurant at the Crane Resort is arguably the most picturesque on the island. <em>Entrées $23–$58.</em></p><p><strong><a href="http://thelonestar.com/restaurant.html" target="_blank">Lone Star Restaurant</a>: </strong>The all-white décor and extensive wine list make this space at the Lone Star Hotel feel like something from the south of France. Don't skip the banana doughnuts at dessert. <em>Entrées $32–$57.</em></p><p><strong>Sea Side Bar:</strong> A classic rum shack on Bathsheba's main drag. Order a fried-fish sandwich with potato wedges and wash it down with Mount Gay rum. <em>246-831-1961.</em></p><h3>Activities</h3><p><strong><a href="http://huntesgardensbarbados.com/" target="_blank">Hunte's Gardens</a></strong>: This hidden tropical garden in St. Joseph is built into a sinkhole and will make you feel as though you're encountering a real-life FernGully.</p><p><a href="http://www.paddlebarbados.com/" target="_blank">Paddle Barbados</a>: Rent your own paddleboarding gear or have owners Jason and Sarah Cole take you out for a private lesson.</p><p><strong>Soup Bowl: </strong>Witness surfers of all ages and proficiencies riding the waves at this iconic surf spot, one of the best in the Caribbean. <em>Bathsheba.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

We Found a Much More Affordable Version of Kate Middleton's Favorite Hot Pink Coat

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:29
<p>Spoiler alert: Fuschia will be the color of the year. How do we know this? Because Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, just wore it on her latest outing, which means it will become <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/fashion/kate-middleton-travel-outfits" target="_blank">a major trend any second</a>.</p><p>On Tuesday, Middleton, along with her husband Prince William, stepped out to visit the town of Coventry, located about 110 miles northwest of London. There, they spent time at Coventry Cathedral, where <em><a href="http://people.com/royals/prince-william-kate-middleton-visit-coventry/" target="_blank">People</a> </em>reported they took part in a “Litany of Reconciliation” prayer service aimed “at healing the wounds of history and building a culture of peace.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/kate-middleton-outfit-first-official-appearance-this-year" target="_blank">Kate Middleton Wore Her Favorite Maternity Dress to Her First Official Appearance of 2018</a></p><p>While the service was no doubt a wonderful experience, all eyes were on Middleton and her hot pink Mulberry coat, one of her favorites, from the brand’s autumn/winter 2014 collection. She’s worn it at least twice before, both times while pregnant with Princess Charlotte. This time, she paired it with black gloves, black tights, and black block heels, all of which helped the coat’s gorgeous color pop even more.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/kate-middleton-high-heels-inserts" target="_blank">Here's How Kate Middleton Manages to Wear High Heels All Day Long</a></p><p>And really, it’s a good thing she’s worn the coat more than once as it <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/16/thrifty-kate-middleton-recycles-hot-pink-1500-mulberry-coat-hide-baby-bump-can-buy-one-just-like-7233572/" target="_blank">cost a reported $1,800</a>. Royal fans who love to emulate her style would likely be happy to pay that price, if only they could hunt down the sold-out coat, but lucky for them we found a lookalike style that is much more affordable. (Oh, and we found a lower-priced version of her shoes, too. You're welcome.)</p><img alt="Kate Middleton Hot Pink Coat and Black Heels "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516120266/kate-middleton-coat-shoes-HOTPINK0118.jpg?itok=Q46wsGHM"><p><strong>To buy: </strong>Structured wool coat, $79.99 at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://shop.mango.com/us/women/coats-coats/structured-wool-coat_13077653.html" target="_blank">mango.com</a>; Nine West Astoria block-heel pumps, $89 at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.macys.com/shop/product/nine-west-astoria-block-heel-pumps?ID=4931373" target="_blank">macys.com</a></p><p>While in Coventry, William and Kate also greeted fans, including Mia Ramin, 9, who told <i>People</i>, “They didn’t seem like people who are too busy for other people. She seemed really nice.”</p><p>The royal couple also spent time with Connie Hudson — wife of the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, who explained to <i>People</i> that she told the Duchess, “...she’s blossoming because she was just getting over the awful sickness when we last saw her. She’s doing well now and it’s an exciting year to look forward to with the baby and the wedding. What’s not to like?”</p>
Categories: Travel

Alaska Airlines Announces Flights to 8 New Destinations From Paine Field

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:29
<p>Alaska Airlines has announced new flights that will take passengers to eight <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines-cuba-service-ending" target="_blank">new destinations</a> from Washington state beginning this fall.</p><p>Thirteen new <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/man-groped-flight-attendant-alaska-airlines" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines</a> flights will take off from Paine Field Airport in Everett, Washington, to Las Vegas, Portland, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. The move is part of the Alaska Airlines's goal to be the "go-to airline" for West Coast dwellers, Alaska Airlines said in a statement. </p><p>"We're proud to become the anchor tenant of the new terminal at Paine Field," Alaska Airlines' chief commercial officer Andrew Harrison said. "With so many new possibilities for business and leisure travel, we believe this will bring increased opportunities to our communities."</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines/alaska-airlines-early-boarding-christmas-sweater" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines</a> will offer three classes of service: first class, premium class and main cabin. </p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

It's So Cold in Russia, People's Eyelashes Are Freezing

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 07:46
<p>You might literally turn into a popsicle if you’re out walking in Russia right now.</p><p>In the Russian village of village of Oymyakon, extreme cold temperatures have been recorded to be as low as -78 degrees Fahrenheit, cold enough to give you frostbite in minutes — and to freeze your eyelashes.</p><p>Cold winter weather can be dangerous in the first place, but frozen eyelashes can also be a hazard to a person’s sight.</p><p>According to <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/16/cold-russia-peoples-eyelashes-freezing-62c-7232410/" target="_blank"><em>Metro</em></a>, official weather stations registered -74 degrees Fahrenheit, but other local thermometers were as low as -88.6 degrees. This temperature is actually slightly less than the lowest recorded temperature at a permanent settlement anywhere in the world.</p><p>The record low for the freezing village was -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit in 1924. Adventurer and photographer Amos Chapple, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/coldest-place-on-earth" target="_blank">who visited the village</a>, told the <a href="https://weather.com/travel/news/breathtaking-photos-coldest-city-world-20140128" target="_blank"><em>Weather Channel</em></a> that locals drink “Russki chai” which means “Russian tea,” to stay warm. Russian tea is apparently the colloquial phrase for “vodka.”</p><p>Recently, the town was a spot where Chinese tourists braved the extreme cold in order to take a dip in the town’s nearby thermal spring. “Oymyakon” in the local language specifically means “unfrozen water,” which might be a reference to this spring — since pretty much everywhere else around it is frozen solid.</p><p>In the summer, however, temperatures are much more bearable. Hopefully everyone’s eyelashes will last until then.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Destination Is Set to Replace The U.S. As The Second Most Popular Country for Tourists (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 07:24
<p>While <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/french-countryside-retreats" target="_blank">France</a> is set to remain the world’s most popular tourist destination, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-beaches-in-spain" target="_blank">Spain</a> is expected to replace the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-places/cities" target="_blank">U.S</a>. as travelers’ second choice.</p><p>Each year, the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization puts out an analysis of international tourism growth in destinations around the world, and <a href="http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2018-01-15/2017-international-tourism-results-highest-seven-years" target="_blank">preliminary figures for 2016</a> already reveal global tourism has increased as much as 7% worldwide, with France and Spain taking the lead.</p><p>Mediterranean destinations in Europe helped the continent record the most gains in tourism so far at an 8% increase for its international arrivals in 2016, matching directly with Africa, which also saw an 8% increase.</p><img alt="barcelona spain "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1516115854/barcelona-spain-SPAINTOURISM118.jpg?itok=2p0rn_hO"><p>Meanwhile, Asia and the Pacific saw a 6% growth year-over-year, while the Middle East saw a 5% increase.</p><p>The Americas saw the lowest increase at 3%, with South America leading the total growth at 7% of the Americas’ grand total. Central America and the Caribbean followed, contributing 4% to the overall growth, which organization officials attribute to recovery in the aftermath of the Irma and Maria hurricanes that struck the area.</p><p>Meanwhile, North America contributed to 2% of the overall growth, with the United States itself seeing a decrease in international visitors.</p><p>Though the final numbers come in this spring, UNWTO head Zurab Pololikashvili said the organization expects that Spain will take the second place slot with 82 million visitors, while John Kester of the UN’s tourism trends department predicts that France will remain in its top spot overall, according to <em><a href="https://www.afp.com/en/news/23/spain-pip-us-2nd-top-tourist-draw-doc-wp4cy2" target="_blank">AFP</a></em>.</p><p>The predictions come despite terrorist attacks in Spain last year, in addition to the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/catalonia-spain-vote" target="_blank">secession crisis</a> in Catalonia, though UNWTO officials have yet to comment on what has sparked the increases and decreases. </p>
Categories: Travel

The First Baby Hippo to Be Born at Disney World in 13 Years Might Just Be Cuter Than Fiona

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 07:23
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/fiona-the-hippo-kiss" target="_blank">Fiona</a>, everyone’s favorite baby hippo, has some pretty cute competition.</p><p>Disney World’s <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/disney-world-animal-kingdom-night" target="_blank">Animal Kingdom</a> announced the birth of a Nile hippopotamus over the weekend. The calf is the first hippo to be born at the park in 13 years.</p><p>The baby, born around 10 p.m. on January 13, is “staying close to mom Tuma,” Scott Terrell, the Director of Animal &amp; Science Operations at Walt Disney Parks &amp; Resorts <a href="https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/01/disneys-animal-kingdom-celebrates-hippo-birth/" target="_blank">writes in a blog post</a>.</p><p>In an effort to give the mother and baby space to nurse and bond with one another, Disney’s animal care specialists have not yet determined the gender and weight of the baby, and may not know for some time. However, a newborn hippo usually weights between 60 and 110 pounds, with adult hippos weighing in at an average of 2,870 or 3,310 pounds for females and males respectively.</p><p>The baby’s birth is the result of a breeding between Tuma and her chosen mate Henry, who are part of the Species Survival Plan, overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Because the Nile hippopotamus is considered a vulnerable species with its population declining in the wild, the birth marks an “important contribution to the worldwide conservation and understanding of these amazing creatures,” Terrell wrote.</p><p>Guests may be able to view Tuma and her new baby while onboard the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/best-worst-disney-world-rides" target="_blank">Kilimanjaro Safaris</a> attraction at Animal Kingdom, a jungle trek that traverses areas of the African savanna to allow riders an up-close look at hippos, lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, baboons and more. The calf may also be seen during the <a href="https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/animal-kingdom/wild-africa-trek/" target="_blank">Wild Africa Trek</a>, a privately guided VIP experience through the Animal Kingdom park.</p>
Categories: Travel

Ryanair Is Lowering Its Fees — But There’s a Catch

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:27
<p>You might be pleasantly surprised the next time you book a Ryanair flight.</p><p>The airline’s new <a href="https://www.ryanair.com/us/en/useful-info/help-centre/fees" target="_blank">checked bag policy</a>, which went into effect on Monday, includes a lower fee for checked bags, of £25 (about $34 USD) down from £35 (about $48 USD) per item, and an increased check-in allowance of 20kg (44 lbs), up from 15kg (33 lbs.).</p><p>The airline, which is notorious for its fees, is hoping the lower fees will compel more fliers to check their bags. That would cut down on delays during the boarding process.</p><p>“These bag policy changes will cost Ryanair over 50 million euros (about $61 million USD) per annum in reduced checked bag fees,” Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs, told the <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41171871" target="_blank">BBC</a>. “However, we believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking-in a bag, which will reduce the high volume of customers we have with two carry-on bags at the boarding gates."</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/why-ryanair-never-has-seatback-pockets" target="_blank">Why Ryanair Will Never Have Seatback Pockets</a></p><p>Ryanair has also tweaked <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/ryanair-baggage-fees" target="_blank">its carry-on bag policy recently</a>. While customers may continue to bring two carry-on bags, only priority boarding members will be able to store them in the cabin.</p><p>All non-priority fliers will be able to put the larger of the two carry-on bags into the plane’s hold, free of charge.</p><p>While these changes may mean more waiting at baggage claim, at least it comes at less of an expense to the flier.</p>
Categories: Travel

Drop What You're Doing and Buy a $199 Flight to Costa Rica (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:15
<p>Nothing beats the post-vacation blues quite like booking a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/flight-deals" target="_blank">super-cheap flight</a> to a dream destination.</p><p>Last week, the <em>Airfare Spot</em> reported <a href="https://airfarespot.com/2018/01/12/new-york-to-liberia-costa-rica-for-352-r-t-nonstop-jetblue/" target="_blank">$352 round-trip flights to Liberia, Costa Rica</a> from New York City. And yesterday, flight to this accessible Central American nation plummeted from cities all over the country.</p><p><a href="https://scottscheapflights.com/" target="_blank"><em>Scott’s Cheap Flights</em></a> reported that tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica can be purchased for as cheap as $199 round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. <a href="https://www.momondo.com/flightsearch/?Search=true&amp;TripType=2&amp;SegNo=2&amp;SO0=MIA&amp;SD0=SJO&amp;SDP0=13-02-2018&amp;SO1=SJO&amp;SD1=MIA&amp;SDP1=20-02-2018" target="_blank">Flights departing from Miami</a> and Orlando are also steeply discounted, with seats starting at $204 and $223, respectively. And you don’t need to be based in Florida to take advantage of this sale.</p><p>Flights to <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/costa-rica" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a> from Boston, Houston, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and even San Diego can all be booked for less than $300.</p><p>Travelers should use <a href="http://google.com/flights" target="_blank">Google Flights’ low-fare calendar</a> to find the most affordable flights from their home airport, though typically, the most inexpensive tickets will be found between March and May.</p><p>Because Costa Rica isn’t as affordable as it used to be, budget-conscious visitors should consider <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/costa-rica-pura-vida" target="_blank">seeking <em>pura vida</em></a> by relaxing in public hot springs, taking hikes through the nation’s leafy interior, and admiring <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/nayara-springs-new-sloth-sanctuary" target="_blank">Costa Rica’s resident sloths</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

It Will Feel an Ungodly -7°F in Atlanta Tomorrow

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:09
<p>It's forecasted to feel an ungodly -7 degrees Fahrenheit when people in <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/atlanta" target="_blank">Atlanta</a> wake up on Wednesday morning.</p><p><a href="http://www.ajc.com/weather/dangerously-cold-ahead-snow-expected-the-evening-commute/T7BVfEvz3eCHY6jchXOjZN/" target="_blank">According to the <em>Atlanta Journal-Constitution</em></a>, “slow, dangerously cold air” will arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday evening and linger. Although the thermometer will read more like 15°F, the windchill — with gusts up to 30 miles per hour — will make it feel subzero outside.</p><p>There is a winter weather advisory in effect for snow and “dangerous wind chills” from 5 p.m. Tuesday evening through 7 a.m. Wednesday. News channels are alerting residents to dress in layers and avoid excessive time spent outside.</p><p>Snow showers may arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday as the snow moves across the country from northern <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/winter-storm-texas-inga-snow" target="_blank">Texas</a>, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Schools in the area have already announced closures and early dismissals for Tuesday and Wednesday.</p><p>The city will heat up through the rest of the week and into the weekend, hitting an expected high of 61°F on Sunday.</p><p><a href="http://w2.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=ffc" target="_blank">According to the National Weather Service</a>, typical minimum temperatures in Atlanta for this week are about 34°F, however this year’s low doesn’t even come close to historic records: <a href="http://www.intellicast.com/local/history.aspx?location=USGA0028" target="_blank">In the winter of 1985</a>, Atlanta recorded a temperature (without windchill) of -8°F.</p><p>Atlantans looking for an escape from the cold should hop on the first flight going anywhere else or prepare to coop up indoors with <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/hygge-tips" target="_blank">a Hygge staycation</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The 7 Best Key West Bars to Visit in 2018

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:00
<p>Key West’s history may be steeped in spirits; Prohibition’s rumrunners put some of the first speakeasies on the map here. And Duvall Street’s iconic bars, Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s, have made downtown legendary for partying.</p><p>But more thoughtful ingredients and curated menus have been popping up all over the island lately, in distilleries, speakeasies, and hotel <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/bars-clubs/hidden-secret-bars" target="_blank">bars</a>, in a revival of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/cheap-flights-florida-winter-2018" target="_blank">Key West</a> cocktailing.</p><p>At <a href="https://www.keywestlegalrum.com" target="_blank">First Legal Rum Distillery</a>, chef Paul Menta crafts a six-time distillate from Florida sugarcane, and ages it in crusty, seawater-cured barrels. The result is a low-proof rum with pear and butterscotch flavor from the cane and vanilla from the charred oak. His nuanced spirits can be found around town at bars like Sloppy Joe’s and Rum Row, the poolside bar of design hotel <a href="https://www.gateshotelkeywest.com/" target="_blank">The Gates</a>, a cool retrofitted motel with its own food truck. Menta’s restaurant, the <a href="http://www.stonedcrab.com/" target="_blank">Stoned Crab</a>, recently reinvented its bar program so that everything served is local, seasonal or organic, including the wines and spirits.</p><img alt="Key West at night "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515788115/key-west-scenic-dusk-nightlife-KEYWEST0118.jpg?itok=7QPiN5Qq"><p>This mind-of-a-chef approach is emerging at new bars like the <a href="http://carolinescafe.com/other-side/" target="_blank">Other Side</a>, a speakeasy inside a historic mansion on Caroline Street. Tufted leather stools surround a marble bar where creative takes on the classics are served in coupes and highballs. In addition to rums, the menu is deep in whiskies, gins and vermouths.</p><p>Restaurants around town have continued the trend. <a href="https://www.agave308.com/" target="_blank">Agave 308</a>, a cantina with Day of the Dead décor, was one of the first Key West bars to break the premade, canned-mixers model. Fresh-squeezed juices and house-infused tequilas are the foundation for creative cocktails like the Angel Bird, made with hibiscus-infused tequila and apricot liqueur. At <a href="http://www.2centskw.com" target="_blank">Two Cents</a>, known for its elevated comfort food, the staff creates a new cocktail every night using fresh produce and high-end and house-infused liquors.</p><p>Not to be outdone, upscale hotels have a stake in the game too. The new <a href="http://www.thesainthotelkeywest.com/" target="_blank">Saint Hotel</a>, taking the lead from its sister property in New Orleans, serves handcrafted cocktails at its midcentury modern Pilar Bar. And the lavish all-you-can-eat brunch at <a href="http://www.oceankey.com/key-west-restaurant.aspx" target="_blank">Hot Tin Roof</a> inside Ocean Key resort includes a chef-driven Bloody Mary bar with house made fixings like pickled green beans and candied bacon.</p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin Galactic Is Months Away From Bringing Tourists to Space

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:00
<p>Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft the <em>VSS Unity</em> completed a successful glide test last week, keeping the company on track to operate the first space tourist expeditions later this year.</p><p>The test pushed “<em>Unity</em>’s atmospheric capabilities hard, touching top-end glide speeds as pilots Mark ‘Forger’ Stucky and Michael ‘Sooch’ Masucci completed a busy test card,” <a href="https://www.virgingalactic.com/update-from-mojave-vss-unity-successfully-completes-high-speed-glide-flight/" target="_blank">the company said in an update</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/weather/richard-branson-message-for-climate-change-deniers" target="_blank">Richard Branson Details Hurricane Irma Experience in Emotional New Video</a></p><p>On Thursday, the <em>Unity</em> was released from its mothership over the Mojave Desert at an altitude of 50,000 feet and began a steep descent. The spacecraft accelerated to Mach 0.9 to test its flight performance, stability and control before safely landing.</p><p>“At this stage of the glide flight programme, each flight is essentially a dry run for rocket-powered test flights,” according to Virgin Galactic.</p><img alt="Virgin Galactic Tourist Spaceship VSS Unity Spaceport "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515785890/spaceport-virgin-galactic-spaceship-VSSUNITY0118.jpg?itok=CKKT30VV"><p>Over the next few months, the team will add elements to each test flight to closer replicate space exploration. The company is on-time to reach founder Richard Branson’s goal of being on <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/903809/space-travel-tourism-virgin-galactic-completes-test-flight" target="_blank">a suborbital test flight by April</a>. Commercial flights are expected to begin by the end of the year.</p><p>The spacecraft is capable of carrying six customers and two pilots. The 2.5-hour experience includes six minutes of weightlessness and the ability to view the Earth’s curvature from space.</p><p>A ticket aboard the <em>Unity</em> spacecraft cost $250,000. <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/virgin-galactic-richard-branson" target="_blank">Hundreds of people</a> — including Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber, have already placed a deposit for a voyage into space.</p><p>The successful test flight happened about three years after one pilot was killed in Virgin Galactic’s fatal crash in the Mojave. It took <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/1/12342616/virgin-galactic-flight-test-spaceplane-spaceshiptwo-faa-license" target="_blank">two years after the crash</a> for the Federal Aviation Administration to re-issue the company a commercial operating license.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s What Your Body Is Missing Out on by Not Visiting Saunas

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:01
<p>For thousands of years, Finns have loved saunas. There are <a href="https://finland.fi/life-society/bare-facts-of-the-sauna/" target="_blank">an estimated 2 million saunas</a> in Finland for a population of 5.3 million people.</p><p>Turns out the Finns are on to something.</p><p><a href="http://time.com/5096264/sauna-health-benefits/" target="_blank">Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland</a> found that 30 minutes in a dry sauna can lower blood pressure and keep it down for at least 30 minutes after leaving the sauna. A previous study from the same researchers also found that people who regularly visit saunas show lower rates of dementia, hypertension and cardiac death than infrequent visitors.</p><p>The cardiovascular benefits “may be similar” to regular exercise, but the researchers say that they are “not yet sure” whether or not sauna is as healthy as a workout.</p><p>While science debates the issue, we suggest touring some of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/spa-getaways-in-us" target="_blank">our country’s best spas and saunas, as voted by <em>Travel + Leisure</em> readers</a>.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/santa-fe/hotels/sunrise-springs-spa-resort" target="_blank">Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe</a> features a steam room infused with eucalyptus to open up the respiratory system.</p><p>Wellness-seekers in Vermont can trek to the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/vermont/hotels/new-life-hiking-spa" target="_blank">New Life Hiking Spa</a> in Killington. After taking part in a hiking program, guests can relax in the sauna to double their cardiovascular benefits.</p><p>And last year’s top winner among our readers was the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/blowing-rock/hotels/westglow-resort-spa" target="_blank">Westglow Resort &amp; Spa in Blowing Rock, North Carolina</a>. After a visit to the sauna, visitors can take part in various classes and workshops with themes such as “creating balance in your life.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Why the Travel Industry Needs to See in Color

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 17:23
<p>I was nervous.</p><p>Here it was, approaching 10 a.m., on a crisp Montreal morning. I was backstage getting pep talked by Destination International’s CEO, Don Welsh, before getting on stage to give the final morning keynote to 1,500 tourism and destination officials.</p><p>“We brought you here for a reason,” Don said to me, before taking his place backstage to approach the audience that his association had brought together for their 2017 Convention.</p><p>I present and give keynotes all the time. It’s a highlight of my career, and one of my favorite things to do. Yet this July morning was different. This was the first time I took the stage to speak directly to the audience I’d been working to get the attention of for years. These were the people I wanted to understand the influence that <a href="http://www.nomadnesstv.com/" target="_blank">NOMADNESS Travel Tribe</a> has had on diversity in the travel industry, for the last six years. I knew the stats, but more importantly, I’ve lived the experience.</p><p>In those six years, I’ve created a community of 17,000 travelers of color to date, facilitated over 25 group trips, acquired 50 regional brand ambassadors, and thrust myself out as the face of this brand, and movement. But the same travel industry that this community loves, that it has built businesses and relationships within, and kicked down doors for, has in many respects ignored us. This is the living truth for travelers of color.</p><p>So, there I was, fresh off having given my first <a href="https://youtu.be/-aQTOVwtPlY" target="_blank">TED Talk</a> weeks prior, with nerves that had me pacing backstage. Not because I wouldn’t deliver. Because I wasn’t sure if the message I was delivering would be received.</p><p>$50 billion.</p><p>This number reflects the annual spending habits of African-American travelers. This figure grows when applied to the scale of an internationally inclined community such as NOMADNESS. Our community alone represents around $40 million dollars spent on travel annually. You wouldn’t know this looking at travel marketing: Travelers of color are rarely seen in ad campaigns, television commercials, and are just starting to make strides in social media marketing campaigns for brands and destinations putting diversity on the agenda.</p><p>We’ve had to rely on creating our own communities online and offline to advocate, represent, and grow our influence in the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news" target="_blank">travel</a> space. And grow we have, so, where is our representation in mainstream travel?</p><p>Last year, according to Nielson less than 3% of overall advertising showcased African-Americans. Meanwhile, we are traveling everywhere, with millenials forging ahead as the generational front runners to this movement. The lack of diversity in mainstream travel marketing has gone from disregard to financial liability, as our part of the market share is growing both in influence and in dollars spent.</p><p>Social media, however, has created opportunities for us to level the playing field. Because in this demographic, there is an alternative form of currency that means more than dollars:</p><p>Authenticity.</p><p>Authenticity is why some of the most fruitful dives into diversity marketing in travel happen when brands and destinations partner with communities and influential travelers of color. Because it’s not about re-writing our story, it’s about allowing us to tell it, and show it, as we live it.</p><p>Just this past October, the Travel Channel launched its first ever Black-female hosted travel show, with <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/mysterious-islands/articles/get-to-know-mysterious-islands--kellee-edwards" target="_blank">Kellee Edwards of ‘Mysterious Islands</a>’, as a network celebrating three decades of travel-oriented television.</p><p>VisitPhilly.com launched the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOU_XZaN_aQ5oPd5CknXk9uDN6h-lyXXT" target="_blank">‘We Got You’ webseries</a>, hosted by Philadelphia native and Grammy-award winning frontman of The Roots, Tarik ‘Black Thought’ Trotter this season. Using a local influencer to authentically speak to their experience in their city and show others around is an organic way to reach the Black audience that lives within and frequents Philadelphia.</p><p>Within only the past 18 months have we seen serious interest and partnerships between major brands and our community come to fruition. We’ve worked with the likes of Airbnb, and on a more localized level, the non-profit wilderness school <a href="https://www.nols.edu/en/about/" target="_blank">NOLS</a>. When NOLS’ Diversity &amp; Inclusion Manager, Sydney Clark approached NOMADNESS this year, it was a game changer for our members who enjoy outdoors, adventure travel experiences but simply were not being marketed to.</p><p>So, we have movement. Progress is progress — but this progress is still quite new.</p><p>The truth is, it’s bigger than just travel. The world is riddled with large platforms, even forward-facing progressive platforms, that muzzle or dilute our messaging as irrelevant, or non-universal. It needs to be understood that embracing stories of color does not in turn alienate your base audience. Diversity is useless as a buzzword, but world changing when adopted and celebrated. Everyone needs to see in color, dream in color, and innovate in color.</p>
Categories: Travel

9 Steps to Get You Ready to Move Abroad

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:32
<p>It's finally happening: After weeks, months, even years of dedication, hard work, and patience, you've been offered an opportunity to live abroad and experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.</p><p>After you've shared the very exciting news with everyone on your contact list, your Facebook friends, and maybe a stranger or two on the street, the nerves have started to creep in. As thrilling a prospect as it is to pack up all your things and move across the world, the logistics of it — the planning — can be complicated and overwhelming.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/canceled-diverted-flight" target="_blank">This Is the First Thing You Should Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Diverted</a></p><p>But if you start preparing early, you'll find the entire process manageable. To help you begin, we've rounded up nine steps every future expat should take before they leave, wherever the destination or however long the journey.</p><h2>1. Save as much money as you can.</h2><p>Consider how much money it costs to move across the country. Now think of how much it will take to get you to the other side of the globe! Costs include but are not limited to: the visa application, plane tickets, international shipments, housing, and emergencies.</p><p>The old advice of having <a href="https://www.dailyworth.com/posts/1684-the-myth-of-the-six-month-emergency-fund" target="_blank">six-months worth of savings</a> is a good one — and that should be a minimum when moving abroad. We also suggest researching the exchange rate and the cost of living in your new home, and coming up with a monthly budget plan. Be prepared to pay unanticipated costs your first few months.</p><h2>2. Apply for or renew your passport.</h2><p>Before you can apply for a visa, you must have a valid passport. Some countries require you to have a passport that is <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/how-long-does-it-take-to-renew-a-passport" target="_blank">valid for at least six months</a> beyond your final travel date. If you do not have a set return date and your passport expires while you're abroad, you can renew your passport at your local <a href="https://www.usembassy.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Embassy or consulate general</a>.</p><h2>3. Apply for a visa.</h2><p>First check your new country's government website to see what supporting documentation you will need to send in for your application, which will vary depending on the visa. For example, if you are applying for a student visa in the UK, you will need to provide a copy of your offer letter from the university and proof that you have enough money to support yourself during the course of your studies. You may also need to set up an appointment at a U.S. Department of Homeland Security application support center to submit your biometrics (e.g. fingerprints and photograph).</p><h2>4. Plan ahead for health care.</h2><p>When you live abroad, you will inevitability encounter the <a href="https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html" target="_blank">health care system</a>. Before you go, find out if your current health care provider will cover you while you are abroad. Ask your health care professionals for medical records and get all the necessary immunizations. You can find out which ones you will need <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/" target="_blank">here</a>. You will also need to find out if your prescription medications are permitted in the country, and if so, whether they are easily accessible. If not, plan to bring an extra supply with you on your trip.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.usembassy.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Embassy</a> provides a list of doctors and hospitals in the country you will be living in. Head to your local embassy's website and learn about the available medical resources in the “U.S. Citizen Services” section. Also check the requirements of the country you're heading to: Some countries require foreign residents to be able to fund their own health care, even if the country has socialized medicine for its own citizens.</p><h2>5. Register with STEP.</h2><p><a href="https://step.state.gov/step/" target="_blank">Enroll with the U.S. Embassy's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program</a> (STEP) to get the most up-to-date information about your new country's safety conditions. Your enrollment will also help the U.S. Embassy quickly notify you in cases of emergency, whether it is a natural disaster or family emergency.</p><h2>6. Do your research.</h2><p>Even if you're relatively familiar with where you're going, you'll need to do a lot of research to plan for the big move and ease your transition into your new home. Among the many questions you should ask yourself and consider:</p><h3>Shipping vs. Storage vs. Selling</h3><p>Will you ship your belongings to your new residence, or will you store them in your home country? You'll want to weigh the logistics and costs of each, which can add up to <a href="https://home.howstuffworks.com/real-estate/moving-tips/5-things-you-should-do-before-you-move-abroad3.htm" target="_blank">thousands of dollars</a>. You may also wish to sell your belongings if you are making a more permanent move. If you are planning to move abroad with two suitcases and a carry on, find out now where you can purchase must-have items like furniture, bedding, and kitchen appliances and utensils.</p><h3>Transportation</h3><p>Will you drive or is your city accessible by public transit? <a href="https://www.usa.gov/americans-abroad#item-34802" target="_blank">If you plan to drive</a>, you will want to consider the pros and cons of shipping your car, buying a new one, and renting a car. You may also need to get an <a href="http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html" target="_blank">International Driving Permit </a>(IDP) before you move (and a new driver's license when you do), depending on which country you live in.</p><p>If you are taking public transportation, learn as much as you can about it — bus versus metro, monthly pass versus annual pass — to save money and prevent confusion when you get there.</p><h3>Culture</h3><p>Get acclimated to the culture before the big move: research the history of your new home and how its government currently operates; read up on its social norms and rules of etiquette; indulge in books and movies that take place in your destination country; and learn a few words and phrases if you are moving to a country where you don't know the language. Researching and understanding the culture (however imperfectly) will help offset culture shock and minimize social faux pas.</p><h2>7. Contact your bank and phone providers.</h2><p>The <a href="https://www.expatinfodesk.com/expat-guide/nationality-specific-information/americans/banking-and-investments/" target="_blank">Expat's Manual</a> recommends keeping your current bank account to maintain your credit score and make direct payments for any ongoing bills or outstanding loans. Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel dates, and consider getting an international credit card to avoid foreign transaction fees. You should also research banks in your new city and find out what paperwork you'll need to set up a savings or checking account. It can take a long time to set up an account; even if you cannot get one before you leave, doing something as simple as gathering your paperwork will help simplify the process.</p><p>Since international cell phone plans can get costly, we also suggest asking your carrier to <a href="https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-use-unlocked-cell-phone-579611" target="_blank">unlock your smartphone</a> ahead of your trip. Once you are abroad, you can <a href="https://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/student-travel-phone-options/pcmcat748302046828.c?id=pcmcat748302046828" target="_blank">purchase a SIM card from a local carrier</a> and replace it with the one in your phone.</p><h2>8. Make copies of important documents.</h2><p>These include your passport, driver's license, birth certificate, and immunization records. You might need them when you least expect it, and it will make your life much less stressful if you can easily access them.</p><h2>9. Throw a goodbye party.</h2><p>Bid <em>adieu</em> to all your friends and relatives for one last hurrah (complete with all your favorite comfort foods), and get excited for the most unforgettable experience of your life. <em>Bon voyage!</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Did You Know Those Swirly Ice Formations on Puddles Have a Name?

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:31
<p>Ever seen a beautiful puddle of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/check-out-game-of-thrones-ice-hotel-finland" target="_blank">ice</a> that gives you the irresistible urge to stomp on it — just like falling into a pile of leaves? Turns out, that particular ice formation has a name.</p><p>Cat-ice, which is marked by pretty “contour lines” that make swirls or concentric circles in puddles or other small bodies of water, is named because the thin ice could only potentially bear the weight of a light-footed and agile cat.</p><img alt="Frozen Ice Puddle Winter Cat Ice "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1514998369/cat-ice-frozen-puddle-CATICE0118.jpg?itok=ySmVeI1u"><p>Author Robert MacFarlane posted a photo on Twitter of a typical cat-ice formation as his “word of the day” on January 2.</p><p>Several users responded with their own examples of gorgeous formations, however no one seemed to test the theory that the ice could support a cat (lucky for cats everywhere). Some examples ranged from the very simple to the very intricate.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/canceled-diverted-flight" target="_blank">This Is the First Thing You Should Do If Your Flight Is Canceled or Diverted</a></p><p>According to MacFarlane and other users who cited some literary references on Twitter, the ice formation is created when the surface of the water freezes and the water underneath begins to slowly recede, leaving a thin patch of delicate ice that looks like ripples.</p><p>Other users shared how the ice is referenced in different parts of the world (or by their own families). For example, one user noted that it is called “witch circles” in Sweden. Which is possibly a much cooler name.</p><p>Author Joyce Carol Oates also tweeted her own, philosophical response to the formation.</p><p>Next time you see this ice formation, be sure to treat it delicately. Or, at least take an Instagram before you satisfyingly stomp it to pieces.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Could Rent Sandra Bullock's Beach House for Your Next Vacation

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:00
<p>Sandra Bullock wants you to sleep over at her house. Sure, she won’t be there, but she’s still inviting you to snuggle up in her bed and spend a few days relaxing by her pool.</p><p>The 2010 Oscar winner listed her 3,400-square-foot, plantation-style home on Tybee Island in Georgia with <a href="https://www.tybeevacationrentals.com/vacation-rentals/elbaroda-hideaway" target="_blank">Tybee Vacation Rentals</a>.</p><p>According to the home’s listing, it comes complete with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and can comfortably sleep up to 12 people. And really, if you bring that large of a group, the home could be considered a bargain as it’s currently renting for $1,400 a night with a four-night minimum stay.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/beach-vacations/top-ten-most-expensive-beach-towns" target="_blank">These Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Beach Towns in the U.S.</a></p><p>As the description for the rental describes, “Elbaroda Hideaway is a spacious and well-appointed home and a magnificent private oasis located on the secluded North end of the island. This home is situated on one of the largest single beachfront lots on Tybee replete with beautifully landscaped and lush grounds, large swimming pool and private North beach access.”</p><img alt="Bay Street Sandra Bullock Vacation Home Tybee Island Georgia "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1515712993/bay-street-tybee-island-georgia-SANDYGEORGIA0118.jpg?itok=ScAAh_wq"><p>It additionally notes that the home has the perfect spot for dolphin watching from the large furnished porches. Or, you could spend your time relaxing in one of its hammocks, by the pool, or even meditating in the home’s the bamboo garden.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/jeans-celebrities-wear-when-they-travel" target="_blank">15 Pairs of Jeans Celebrities Wear When They Travel</a></p><p>To keep everyone entertained, the house also comes with a spacious kitchen that opens into an equally large dining area. The ground floor also comes with a fully stocked game room with ping pong and air hockey, and an additional sitting area ready for “entertaining with music, games, books, beach toys, extra refrigerator, and much more.” And, if you are someone who likes to work out while on vacation, there is also a full fitness room for guests' use with an elliptical machine, free weights, and a treadmill.</p><p>According to <em><a href="http://variety.com/2017/dirt/real-estalker/sandra-bullock-georgia-getaway-1201987282/" target="_blank">Variety</a></em>, Bullock purchased the property in 2001 for $1.5 million. Though, she may be renting it out because she spends so little time there. And really, that’s no surprise considering she reportedly owns two homes in Los Angeles, a mansion in New Orleans, a townhome in New York City, and at least six different homes in and around Austin, Texas.</p>
Categories: Travel

There's a Super Blue Blood-Moon Eclipse Occurring on January 31: How and Where to See It

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:00
<p>There's are few celestial events more beautiful than a total lunar eclipse. (Except, perhaps a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/how-solar-eclipse-will-look" target="_blank">total solar eclipse</a>.) But a so-called "blood moon" is a close second.</p><p>Visible in the western United States — including Hawaii —and Australia and Asia in the early hours of January 31, a full moon will turn an orangey-red hue as it passes through the Earth's deep shadow.</p><p>That it happens to also be a supermoon and a blue moon makes it a true once-in-a-lifetime event. An all-in-one blue moon, supermoon, and total lunar eclipse has not happened in North America since 1866.</p><h2>What is a supermoon, a blue moon, and a blood moon?</h2><p>These are three completely different things that just happen to be occurring simultaneously. A <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/cold-moon" target="_blank">supermoon</a> is when the moon looks slightly bigger than normal, but only by a small margin. It happens because the moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical, so sometimes it is actually closer. When that coincides with a full moon, it's called a supermoon.</p><p>This isn't an extraordinarily infrequent event. There was a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/december-supermoon" target="_blank">supermoon</a> on both December 3, 2017 as well as January 1, 2018. But the full moon on January 31 is particularly special, as it also happens to be a blue moon.</p><p>A blue moon isn't a visual spectacle. When there are two full moons within one calendar month, it’s called a blue moon, but it happens rarely. Hence the phrase, "once in a blue moon." The real visual spectacle on January 31 is the blood moon.</p><h2>What is a total lunar eclipse?</h2><p>A blood moon is more accurately known as a total lunar eclipse. Astronomers call it an 'umbral eclipse' because the entirety of the moon enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra. Earth is always projecting a huge shadow into space, but the moon only sometimes passes through it. That can only happen during a full moon, when the Earth is aligned between the sun and moon.</p><p>The spectacle begins with what's called a penumbral eclipse, as the moon crosses into the Earth's lighter shadow and causes it to lose its usual brightness. About an hour later, the moon enters the umbra and begins to turn orange or pink on its edge.</p><p>About 40 minutes later, the whole of the moon is within the umbra — that's called totality. Unlike during a total solar eclipse, lunar totality lasts for about 40 minutes, during which time the moon is closest to the center of the Earth's shadow. The physics is the same as for a sunset: sunlight is being bent through the Earth's atmosphere before it hits the moon. The exact color depends on Earth's atmosphere, which filters different color spectrums. If there has been any volcanic activity, for example, and there's ash in the atmosphere, a 'blood' moon can result.</p><p>Once totality is over, the process reverses, with all color receding as the moon leaves Earth's shadow and returns to full brightness, like nothing unusual has happened.</p><h2>When is the 2018 supermoon and total lunar eclipse?</h2><p>This rare celestial event occurs, rather inconveniently, before sunrise on January 31 for observers in North America. Although the partial eclipse begins about an hour before, the all-important totality starts at 12:51 Universal Time, and lasts for one hour 16 minutes. Visit <a href="http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse" target="_blank">www.timeanddate.com/eclipse</a> and enter your town to see the local times for your precise location.</p><p>For those in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Middle East, the eclipsed moon will be visible after sunset on January 31.</p><h2>What’s the best location to see the 2018 super blue blood moon eclipse?</h2><p>Anywhere on the night side of Earth, though in North America it’s worth heading west. Those in the east will see only a partial lunar eclipse, and no change in color. Although totality can be glimpsed slightly further east, Denver will be one of the first cities in the United States to see the entire event. Totality begins in Denver at 05:51 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, and ends at 07:07 a.m., just minutes before moon-set. The Rockies, however, could block the view of the latter stages, so further west is best. The timings are identical for Salt Lake City, but moon-set happens 07:41 a.m. local time, so the moon will be higher in the sky.</p><p>Those in Los Angeles will enjoy better visibility. Here, totality begins at 04:51 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, and ends at 06:07 a.m. before moon-set at 06:54 a.m. A big, copper-colored moon will be visible close to the horizon.</p><p>But it's Honolulu, Hawaii that gets the very best view of the entire event. Totality here starts at 02:51 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, and ends at 04:07 a.m., with the whole eclipse visible high in the sky long before the moon sets and the sun rises.</p><h2>How to photograph the super blue blood-moon eclipse</h2><p>There are two reasons why a total lunar eclipse is the very best time to photograph the moon: not only will it be unusually colored, but the full moon will also be far less bright than usual.</p><p>If you want a close-up of the moon you will need to attach a DSLR to a long telephoto lens or a telescope. However, a wide-angle lens can also get great results. Auto-focus on the moon during the early penumbral phase using the LCD screen, then switch to manual focus to lock the shot.</p><p>Common settings to try on a DSLR or manual camera are ISO 200, f11 aperture, and exposures of 1/60 second to 1/15 second. When totality begins and the moon takes on color, try three or four-second exposures at ISO 800 or ISO 1600. You’ll probably also capture stars around the moon. <a href="http://www.mreclipse.com/LEphoto/LEphoto.html" target="_blank">MrEclipse.com</a> has additional tips and techniques.</p><p>If you don't have a DSLR, try using a smartphone through a small telescope, or through the back of a pair of binoculars.</p><h2>When is the next super blue blood-moon eclipse?</h2><p>Over 150 years in the making, don't get your hopes up for another <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/super-blue-blood-moon-january-2018" target="_blank">super blue blood-moon eclipse</a> in North America. There’s not long to wait for the next blue moon, however, because two full moons will also occur in March 2018. The next blue blood-moon eclipse will happen on December 21, 2028, though will be only partly visible in this region.</p><p>But the real spectacle on January 31 is the total lunar eclipse, which is a surprisingly common event. Visible over a much wider area that a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/when-is-the-next-eclipse" target="_blank">total solar eclipse</a>, the next total lunar eclipse will occur on July 27, 2018 for moon-watchers in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. There’s another one on January 21, 2019 for those in North and South America, the Pacific, Europe, and Africa.</p>
Categories: Travel

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