Denver Could Become the First U.S. City to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:05
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Denver</a> could become the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize the recreational use of magic mushrooms, cementing its reputation as a bellwether for other cities’ drug policies.</p><p>The vote was included in a ballot on Tuesday, although it wouldn’t legalize mushrooms containing psilocybin, the psychoactive compound that naturally occurs in these “magic” edibles. That would require changes at the state and federal levels. If passed, <a href="" target="_blank">the ballot would</a> “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older.” It would also require that the city establish a panel to “assess and report” on the impact of decriminalization.</p><p>Psilocybin has been banned at the federal level for almost 50 years. It is considered a Schedule I controlled substance <a href="" target="_blank">by the U.S. Department of Justice</a>, which means it is considered to have no medicinal value. But in 2018, <a href="" target="_blank">researchers from Johns Hopkins University said</a> that psilocybin’s “associated harms are low compared to prototypical abused drugs” and that it “may provide therapeutic benefits supporting its development as a new drug.” Advocates of the drug say that it is particularly beneficial in treating anxiety and depression.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">A similar vote failed to gain traction in California last year</a>. But next year, voters in Oregon may head to the polls for a similar ballot.</p><p>Denver has a reputation for being an early adopter of decriminalized drug laws for American cities. In 2005, Denver became <a href="" target="_blank">the first major U.S. city to legalize possession</a> of small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 or older.</p>
Categories: Travel

United Is Launching the Only Nonstop Service Between the U.S. and Naples, Italy

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:01
<p>Pack your bags, because it just got easier to take your dream Italian getaway.</p><p>United Airlines is launching daily, nonstop, seasonal service from Newark Liberty International Airport to <a href="" target="_blank">Naples</a> International Airport in Italy from May 22 through Oct. 26, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Forbes</a></em> reported, just in time for your spring, summer, and fall vacations.</p><p>And, lucky you, these actually happen to be the <a href="" target="_blank">best times to visit Italy</a> (not that there's a bad time).</p><p>Once the service begins, United will become the only airline to offer nonstop service between the U.S. and Naples, reps for the airline <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>, which is excellent news for people who are dreaming of relaxing on a beach on the <a href="" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a> but aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of a long layover.</p><p>“Naples is a natural extension to our existing service to Italy and we are hopeful our customers will take advantage of this new access point to southern Italy,” United spokesperson Jonathan Guerin told <em>Forbes</em>.</p><p>United also flies to a number of other Italian destinations, including Milan, Rome, and Venice. <a href="" target="_blank">Italy is considered the number one most desirable destination</a> for many people around the world (but especially the U.S.), according to a new <a href="" target="_blank">study from the travel website TravelSupermarket</a>.</p><p>Want to go to Italy but not sure where to start? Book a tour with <a href="" target="_blank">Oprah's favorite tour guide</a>, check out <a href="" target="_blank">T+L readers' favorite Italian hotels</a>, and brush up on your <a href="" target="_blank">basic Italian words and phrases</a>. </p>
Categories: Travel

Up to 1 Million Animal and Plant Species Are Facing Extinction, UN Warns — 'Many Within Decades'

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:32
<p>The United Nations issued a <a href=";tid=a_inl_manual&amp;tidloc=4" target="_blank">dire warning</a> on Monday morning: The Earth’s animals are dying and humans could soon suffer the consequences.</p><p>In the first of its kind report, the UN explained that more species are now threatened with extinction than at any time in human history, and said the explosive growth of the human population is to blame.</p><p>“While the planetary garden still exists,” Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>USA Today</em></a>, “it is in deep disrepair, frayed and fragmented almost beyond recognition."</p><img alt="Monkeys in distress from fire "src=""><p>As the report noted, an astonishing one million of the Earth’s eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans. But, if they disappear, it’s likely so will we.</p><p>"The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever," Sir Robert Watson, IPBES chair, told <em><a href="" target="_blank">CNN</a></em>, adding that "transformative change" is needed to save the planet.</p><p>In the report, the authors suggested that the solution lies in the hands of the world’s governments, who must come together to address the global environmental and biodiversity decline due to human-caused climate change.</p><img alt="Wild elephants eating trash "src=""><p>As <em>CNN</em> noted, that climate change is exacerbating the already ill effects of other issues such as overfishing, pesticide use, pollution, and urban expansion. And all of that is leading to a hotter climate, which will cause coral reefs to die and rain to turn acidic, and completely destroy coastal communities.</p><p>“Once you get to basically 2 degrees Celsius, the models show that only 1 percent can survive,” Watson explained. “Let’s be quite candid. We’re not on the pathway to 2 degrees Celsius. We’re on a pathway to 3, 3 ½ degrees Celsius. The coral system is truly in trouble.”</p><p>If this messaging seems bleak, that's because it’s supposed to be.</p><p>"The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture," Watson additionally told reporters. "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide."</p><p>But, as the scientists also noted, there is still hope. We just need to act right now.</p><p>"Through 'transformative change,' nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals," Watson said. “By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values."</p><p>As a traveler, there is plenty you can do to ensure you minimize your environmental impact on your journeys and leave the world a better place than you found it. For a few easy tips to start check out these <a href="" target="_blank">eight ways to be a more responsible traveler</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Bermuda Is on a Mission to Double the Number of African-American Tourists Who Visit by 2025 — Here's How

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:00
<p>A flight from the East Coast to Bermuda is just over two hours. Pair that convenience with the <a href="" target="_blank">island’s iconic pink sand beaches</a> and it's hard to find a reason not to visit. And travelers seem to agree — <a href="" target="_blank">Bermuda reported</a> over 770,000 visitors in 2018, the highest number in recent history. With two consecutive years of record-breaking tourism, Bermuda has its sights set on a market they feel has room for growth: the number of African American leisure air visitors to the island.</p><p>The new <a href="" target="_blank">Bermuda National Tourism Plan</a> has set a goal to double the number of African Americans who visit the island for leisure and travel by air by 2025. According to Bermuda National Tourism, currently only 4 percent of the island’s leisure visitors are African American. Growing that number to 8 percent is one of the plan’s six success indicators.</p><p>Reps for the Bermuda Tourism Authority say they believe the doubling of this metric by 2025 is achievable based on research into the island’s target audience. Kevin Dallas, the CEO of the Tourism Authority, said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statament</a>: “Our research shows African American consumers make up about 11 percent of our target audience in the cities where we focus our marketing efforts. Currently, only 4 percent of our leisure air visitors identify as African American. That means our destination is not winning its fair share of the African American travel market, which is now a $63 billion industry annually.”</p><p>Research done by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and <a href="" target="_blank">Mandala Research</a> in 2018 found culture and culinary to be important factors in drawing African American travelers. This finding is good news for Bermuda as the island has worked to build its <a href="" target="_blank">culinary tourism</a> over the past five years and is now concentrating on heritage stories within the African Diaspora.</p><p>Dallas said, “If we can enhance our cultural tourism offerings and make them relevant to the African American experience and compelling to African American travelers, we can win with this audience and meet the ambitious target. And importantly, these enriched cultural offerings about the black experience in Bermuda will appeal to all audiences, regardless of race.”</p>
Categories: Travel

British Airways Is Celebrating the Royal Baby by Giving Out Crowns and Champagne

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 10:36
<p>On Monday, May 6, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle <a href="" target="_blank">welcomed their first child</a>, a son, into the British royal family. Though we don’t know the little one’s name just yet, we do know one thing for certain: it’s time to celebrate.</p><p>In honor of the newest royal arrival, <a href="" target="_blank">British Airways</a> is celebrating by giving every child on board flights Tuesday a little royal crown or tiara of their own. With the crowns, the tiny travelers will also get a photo frame to allow families to capture their special moment before departure.</p><p>To honor the arrival of the new baby boy, the airline is also offering all customers traveling on Wednesday on flight BA281 to <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> and BA93 to <a href="" target="_blank">Toronto</a>, the Duchess of Sussex’s former home cities, the chance to “wet the baby’s head” and raise a toast with a complimentary glass of champagne at the gate area before boarding.</p><p>“It’s only right that we raise a toast to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s newborn baby on two of the routes that are linked to the happy couple, Los Angeles and Toronto,” Carolina Martinoli, British Airways Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said in a statement. “British Airways sends its warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess.”</p><p>Beyond the baby, British Airways also has its own new arrival to celebrate: the brand-new Airbus A321neo.</p><p>The brand-new aircraft is the 14th to be delivered from the A320neo family series in the last year, the airline explained in a statement. It will welcome a total of 25 A320neos and 10 A321neos to its fleet over the coming years. The plane comes with improved environmental performance and considerably quieter engines than similar-sized aircraft, which means babies — royal or otherwise — can get a better night’s sleep on every flight too.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Luggage for Easy International Travel

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 10:31
<p>Finding the best luggage for international travel is, at heart, basically the same as the <a href="" target="_blank">best luggage</a> for domestic travel. You want a well-constructed bag that fits all of your things, looks nice, and functions smoothly. The real question to ask yourself is what kind of trip you’re taking. Spending three months trekking through jungles will require a very different bag than a week-long jaunt to an urban capital.</p><p>Some companies will label some suitcases as “international carry-on,” which usually translates to smaller dimensions but isn’t a guarantee of applicability across every situation. In terms of measurements, there is no one standard international carry-on size. “The truth is that each airline makes their own rules,” said Don Chernoff, president of SkyRoll Luggage. “The most common carry-on rule in the U.S. is 22” x 14” x 9”, but some airlines have smaller limits, and some allow larger bags. Some international airlines have more strict rules, but there is only one simple rule everyone needs to follow: Check the rules of your airline before your trip.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Airline Carry-on Luggage Size Restrictions: What You Need to Know</a></p><p>The more budget-focused an airline is, the stricter their carry-on requirements are likely to be. You can check out our <a href="" target="_blank">cheat sheet</a> if you have a specific airline you’re concerned about.</p><p>Even if you’re checking a bag, you still want to make sure you can easily maneuver it through any situation and leave some space for souvenirs. You may not always be able to find an elevator.</p><h2>Best for Your First International Trip: An Affordable Carry-on or Checked Bag</h2><p><strong>eBags TLS 22" Expandable Wheeled Carry-on</strong></p>
Categories: Travel

Woman Reunited With Her Dog After It Was Lost on an American Airlines Flight

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 09:19
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Traveling with a pet</a> can be a stressful situation, even in the best of circumstances. Most pet owners dread the worst-case-scenario of their precious companion getting sick or even getting lost on a flight.</p><p>Recent tragic <a href="" target="_blank">incidents involving pets</a> on flights is why many airlines have been becoming increasingly strident about their <a href="" target="_blank">pet policies</a>. Luckily, these cases are few and far between, and sometimes, even if the seemingly worst happens, it can still end up being a happy ending.</p><p>A woman in North Carolina had one such experience but was happy to reunite with her beloved dog after he was accidentally put on the wrong flight, according to <a href="" target="_blank">WTVR News</a>.</p><p>Amber Dalton was scheduled to fly on an American Airlines flight from San Francisco to Raleigh with her dog, Beast, last week. Although Dalton managed to get to her correct destination, her 13-pound poodle was sadly missing when she went to pick him up from the cargo hold.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Fox News</a>, Dalton was scheduled to fly to Raleigh with a layover in Chicago. However, an airline staffer told her that her flight to Chicago could not carry animals. Instead, Dalton was rebooked on a flight to Dallas so she could catch her remaining flight to Raleigh, and Beast would be held in the cargo hold.</p><p>However, plans somehow got mixed up and Beast ended up flying through Chicago anyway, according to <a href="" target="_blank">NBC Los Angeles</a>. When Dalton went to pick up her dog in Raleigh, he was nowhere to be found. It was hours before Dalton was notified that Beast had somehow flown all the way to Philadelphia, about 418 miles from Raleigh.</p><p>A spokesperson for American Airlines said to NBC Los Angeles, “A conflict in our customers routing and policies caused us to keep their pet overnight in Philadelphia at a local pet hotel.”</p><p>The airline flew Beast from Philadelphia to Raleigh the next day and then a staffer drove him to Roanoke, where Dalton lives.</p><p>According to Fox News, American Airlines has refunded Dalton for her pet transport fees, baggage fees, and have given her a flight voucher.</p><p>“All of the money doesn't fix the next incident that could possibly be deadly,” Dalton said to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Virginia First</em></a>. Even though the refunds are nice, Dalton still wants answers to her stressful and confusing ordeal. She added to NBC <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>, “How did you do this? And what are you going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen to another dog?”</p><p>Even though airlines can certainly take some responsibility when mistakes are made with pets, there are still a lot of <a href="" target="_blank">things owners can do</a> to try to make their experience as hassle-free as possible, with some careful planning.</p>
Categories: Travel

Fireflies, Flowers, and a Blue Moon: Here Are All the Natural Wonders Not to Miss in May

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 09:02
<p>In most parts of the country, especially those that experience full-blown winter weather, May is a magical time of year when the temperatures start to warm up, the flowers bloom, and you finally want to leave your couch to explore the great outdoors. There is no shortage of <a href="" target="_blank">free activities happening around the U.S. in May</a> to celebrate Earth’s rebirth, but why not explore the best of what the whole globe has to offer?</p><p>From colorful swaths of wildflowers to majestic celestial occurrences, we rounded up some of the most spectacular natural wonders happening around the world in May 2019. Check out the list below and prepare yourself to be fully awe-struck by nature’s spectacles.</p><h2>Wildflowers in Southern California</h2><img alt="California's Desert Wildflower "Super Bloom" "src=""><p>Southern California might not be commonly known for a wide range of weather, but this vast region — spanning the Pacific coast all the way from Ventura down to the Mexico border — does, in fact, have distinct seasonal variation. One of the most stunning outcomes of the shift in climate is when the cooler, rainy season from roughly November to March gives way to an incredible display of vibrant wildflowers by May. Whether you choose <a href="" target="_blank">to take a scenic hike</a> or pack a picnic to a local state park, there are abundant opportunities to view the blooms across the Southern Coast. To maximize your viewing experience, use the “<a href="" target="_blank">Wildflower Hotline</a>” to plan your trip, which updates every Friday from March through May to give you the best locations for wildflower scoping.</p><h2>Cherry Blossoms in Japan</h2><img alt="Cherry Blossoms in Hakodate, Japan "src=""><p>In Japan, the arrival of cherry blossoms (known as <em>Sakura)</em> signifies the start of spring. Across the country, it is not uncommon for conversations at this time of year to be dominated by weather forecasts and comparisons of prime scoping locations, as viewing cherry blossoms has been a national pastime in Japan since the 8th century.</p><p>Prime cherry blossom season typically occurs in March and April, but in Northern Japan temperatures stay colder longer, so the flowering trees peak in visual splendor around May. Hakodate and Sapporo are two cities in the northern part of the country where you can catch this nationally beloved sequence of exploding buds followed by <em>Sakura Fubuki</em>, the delicate grand finale of pink leaves fluttering to the ground. The blossoms only remain in bloom for about two weeks, so make sure to time your visit right using an <a href="" target="_blank">online forecaster</a>.</p><h2>Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower</h2><img alt="Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, Babcock Wildlife Refuge, Florida "src=""><p>Every year in early May, the earth travels through the <a href="" target="_blank">debris left behind by Halley’s Comet</a> and offers observers a long period of shooting stars in the night sky. Named for the brightest star in the Aquarius constellation, the <a href="" target="_blank">prolific Eta Aquarid shower</a> is expected to produce a shooting star around every two minutes. Unlike many meteor showers, the Eta Aquarids doesn’t have a short peak in activity. Rather, the spectacle of lights runs an impressive show of shooting stars for about a week, which will center around May 5 this year.</p><p>While the Eta Aquarid shower is <a href="" target="_blank">most easily viewed from vantage points in the Southern Hemisphere</a>, viewers in the north can still see quite a few meteors shooting through the dark night sky. You don’t even need fancy equipment to catch the show — a clear night sky, a secluded spot away from city lights, and some patience is all it takes. It will take about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and start to spot the meteors flying in the sky, but don’t worry, the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to take it all in.</p><h2>Fireflies in the Smoky Mountains</h2><img alt="Fireflies in Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennesse "src=""><p>Whether you know them as fireflies or lightning bugs, there is no denying there is something captivating about the luminescent insects. For two weeks each year during peak mating season beginning in late May, the <a href="" target="_blank">synchronous species of fireflies</a> in Great Smoky Mountains National Park put on quite a show. To maximize their presence and attract female companions, male fireflies glow in sync for around 10 seconds at a time, then wait for a flashing reply. The end result is a stunning light show that ripples through the dark night sky from around 10 p.m. to midnight. The peak of the mating season varies from year to year depending on temperature and other environmental factors, so be sure to check the <a href="" target="_blank">Great Smoky Mountains National Park website</a> for updated information as well as tickets and shuttle service to the best viewing spots.</p><h2>Midnight Sun in Northern Norway</h2><img alt="Midnight sun illuminates sky over Uttakleiv Beach, Vestvagoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway "src=""><p>Often when exploring a new region of the world, travelers wish for more hours in the day. Well, above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, you can experience an extended twilight period over the summer months, when the sun hovers above the horizon but never dips below. The peak of this experience occurs in May and June in a natural phenomenon <a href="" target="_blank">known as the Midnight Sun</a>, when a golden glow washes over the country and lends a dramatic effect to kayaking, picnicking, or hiking in the scenic landscape studded with fjords and glaciers. In Svalbard, the northernmost inhabited town in the world, you can catch the Midnight Sun from late April to August. Described by some as a prolonged sunrise and sunset combined, the Midnight Sun is a unique opportunity to experience the nature and wildlife of the Arctic Circle in a different light (literally).</p><h2>Seasonal Blue Moon</h2><img alt="Blue Moon "src=""><p>If you’ve been using the phrase “Once in a blue moon” your entire life without actually knowing what it means, you’re not alone. As it turns out, the idiom doesn’t actually refer to the hue of the moon, but rather to the rare occurence of a second full moon in one month. Even more uncommon than a blue moon is a <em>seasonal</em> blue moon, which is the third full moon in a single astronomical season. While the celestial particulars can get confusing, all you need to know is that the seasonal blue moons only occur once every two or three years, and <a href="" target="_blank">the next one is coming up on May 18, 2019</a> — making this one lunar event you don’t want to miss.</p>
Categories: Travel

Watch This Sweet Beluga Whale Return a Woman's Phone After She Dropped It in the Water

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:57
<p>Since April 26, a suspected Russian spy has been hanging around the <a href="" target="_blank">Norwegian</a> port city of Hammerfest.</p><p>The spy also just so happens to be a <a href="" target="_blank">beluga whale</a>.</p><p>The beluga first drew the attention of Norwegian fishermen after it kept popping up and following them around in their boats, reported <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em></a>. The fishermen noticed that it was wearing a harit itsness, later found to contain the inscription “Equipment St. Petersburg.”</p><p>Even though Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) assures <em>The Washington Post </em>that “the whale is not a suspect in [their] investigation,” speculation remains that the animal has been trained by the Russian navy. Whether or not this is true, it appears as if the whale has “clearly been trained under the care of humans for a good long time,” said Catherine Kinsman, co-founder of the Canadian <a href="" target="_blank">Whale Stewardship Project</a>.</p><p>The beluga’s odd behavior has certainly made it an international superstar. Whereas white belugas are generally shy around people, this particular one is acting out of character for its species. Seeming to completely adore all the attention it's getting, the <a href="" target="_blank">Hammerfest celebrity</a> is allowing residents to pet, feed, and take selfies with it.</p><p>That includes Ina Mansika and a group of her friends. According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Dodo</a></em>, she wanted to see the beluga for herself, and learned firsthand just how eager-to-please the animal can be.</p><p>“We laid down on the dock to look at it and hopefully get the chance to pat it,” Ina Mansika told <em>The Dodo</em>. “I had forgotten to close my jacket pocket and my phone fell in the ocean. We assumed it would be gone forever, until the whale dove back down and came back a few moments later with my phone in its mouth!”</p><p>You can see the sweet moment in the video below.</p><p>“Everyone was so surprised. We almost didn’t believe what we saw,” she continued. “I was super happy and thankful that I got my phone back.”</p><p>According to <em>The Dodo</em>, the beluga’s act of kindness proved pointless: the water damage had ruined her phone by the time she got it back. However, Mansika still expressed her gratitude towards the beluga. “I love animals! The whale is so kind.”</p><p>Norwegian officials are currently trying to figure out ways to save the beluga. Jorgen Ree Wiig, an official at the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, told <em>The Washington Post </em>that one possible option is to move the beluga to a sanctuary in <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a> since it might not survive in the wild.</p>
Categories: Travel

Oprah’s Super Thoughtful Gift to the Royal Baby Will 'Last a Lifetime' (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:49
<p>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, <a href="" target="_blank">welcomed their first baby</a>, a boy, into the world this week. And already the little one is getting some pretty solid gifts from his aunt Oprah.</p><p>According to Oprah (a royal in her own right), she gives the same gift to every new parent in her life. And the new royal baby is no different.</p><img alt="Oprah Winfrey "src=""><p>“I have a standard gift that I do for people that I really care about,” Oprah shared with <a href="" target="_blank">Access Hollywood</a>. “So I don’t know the baby’s name or the baby’s gender, but this baby will have enough books to last a lifetime.”</p><p>And, as <em>Travel + Leisure</em> previously reported, the couple likely has the perfect place to store the child’s new Oprah-gifted library.</p><p>When the pair moved into their new home, <a href="" target="_blank">Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle</a>, they reportedly overhauled the entire home. With the renovations, the couple reportedly added a yoga room, a gym, and of course, a new nursery. And that’s likely where all the baby’s gifts from famous friends will be housed.</p><p>Of course, it’s no big surprise that Oprah would give the baby a super thoughtful gift. After all, she does appear to have a special relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She attended their royal wedding last May, and, as <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Marie Claire</em></a> reported, recently announced she is <a href="" target="_blank">working on a project with Prince Harry</a>. The pair will work on a new series together that will launch on Apple TV. The program, <em>Marie Claire</em> explained, will focus on the topics of mental illness and mental wellbeing.</p><p>As the pair spend more time together, the baby may receive even more Oprah-approved gifts. Which, we all know, <a href="" target="_blank">are some of the best products on Earth</a>. Now that’s one lucky baby. </p>
Categories: Travel

Royal Caribbean Just Reopened Their Private Island — and It Has the Largest Waterslide in North America

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:32
<p>Cruising in the Caribbean is known for its crystal-blue water and sunshine, and now guests traveling with <a href="" target="_blank">Royal Caribbean</a> can add new experiences — including a brand new waterpark — on the line's private island to their itinerary.</p><p>Royal Caribbean just completed a $250-million renovation of the island, and <em>Travel + Leisure</em> joined the first set of guests this weekend.</p><p>“<a href="" target="_blank">Perfect Day at CocoCay</a>,” located in the Bahamas, offers guests both adventure and relaxation, and is the first in the brand’s “Perfect Day Island Collection.” On <a href="" target="_blank">CocoCay</a>, adrenaline-loving travelers will be most excited to hit up Thrill Waterpark, which offers 13 waterslides and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean. The crown jewel of the park is Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, which reaches a whopping 135 feet.</p><img alt="Perfect Day at Coco Cay Waterslides "src=""><p>Though Daredevil’s Peak is the tallest, my personal favorite was the Dueling Demon drop slide, where riders stand vertically in an enclosed glass shoot facing another slide in the same position. After a dramatic 3-2-1 countdown, the bottom drops from underneath you, sending you on a wild ride down the tower. If the ride itself wasn’t memorable enough for everyone I went with, I’m sure they won’t forget my boyfriend's scream echoing across the island on the way down.</p><p>One thing that sets the water park apart from most others you may have visited is that there are fewer guests than any other public water park you might find. Considering only people on Royal Caribbean ships are allowed to enter, combined with the fact that not all of those on board will visit the water park, and you’re setting yourself up for a fun day with pretty short lines.</p><p>Besides the insane waterslides, CocoCay also has Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. (Fun fact, it’s big enough to hold 106,902 beach balls.) And to get another view of the Bahamas, guests can board a helium balloon to soar 450 feet into the air. And for more heights, strap into the 1,600-foot-long zip line to soar over sunbathers and splashing kids across CocoCay.</p><p>Of course, it's not all about adrenaline. After hitting up the slides, we spent the afternoon sipping on margaritas at Captain Jack’s, a bar area where a friendly singer mellowed us out with acoustic versions of classic Jimmy Buffett tunes. A handful of dining establishments are scattered on the island and I enjoyed a seriously delicious portobello mushroom burger for lunch at Chill Grill.</p><img alt="Perfect Day at Coco Cay "src=""><p>Perfect Day at CocoCay also seems like a great place to bring the family. For kids, there are plenty of smaller waterslides, child-friendly beaches, and an entire interactive play structure with water cannons, ropes, and splash pads. For the older bunch, maybe join a jet ski excursion, snorkle, or just call it day and nap in a cabana.</p><p>Coming in December, Coco Beach Club — a luxury expansion to the island — will bring the very first overwater cabanas to the Bahamas. Each cabana will offer its own waterslide, overwater hammock, and dedicated attendant. The club will also have a 2,600-plus beachfront infinity pool.</p><img alt="Perfect Day at Coco Cay "src=""><p>Cruisegoers can visit CocoCay by cruising on one of 11 of Royal Caribbean’s ships on <a href="">select itineraires</a> leaving from Florida and the northeastern United States. Dates on the <a href=";currency=USD&amp;wuc=USA">3 Night Bahamas &amp; Perfect Day Cruise</a> on the Navigator of the Seas — the itinerary I went on — start at $317.</p><p>It’s important to note, however, that many of the activities offered on the island are not included in the standard cost of the cruise. Full-day Thrill Waterpark passes cost $44 to $99 per person, depending on the season, while the zip line ranges from $79 to $139, and the balloon ride ranges from $39 to $99 per ride. Child rates are available, as well as half-day passes and combination passes for multiple experiences.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Man Rescuing a Dog From a New York City River Is More Dramatic Than Anything on TV Right Now

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:25
<p>You usually don’t know who is going to change your life until it’s already been changed.</p><p>A man in New York City likely did not imagining jumping into the East River to save a dog over the weekend. The dog probably didn’t imagine it either. But neither could have imagined how their rendezvous would turn out. And now neither will ever be the same.</p><p>Lorenzo Fonda was at Brooklyn Barge, a riverfront bar, on May 4 when a crowd began to form, looking out over the river.</p><p>“I heard someone mentioning a dog swimming so looked out and saw the dog already far out in the middle of the river,” <a href="" target="_blank">Fonda told <em>Gothamist</em></a>. “I have no idea how it ended up in there, if it jumped on its own or if it fell, and I didn't think of asking."</p><p>Fonda started recording the dog swimming around the river. There was no way of knowing it would turn into one of the most surprisingly dramatic NYC rescue missions in recent history.</p><p>An Instagram story of the entire event <a href="" target="_blank">can be seen here</a>. </p><p>There was even a helicopter involved at one point.</p><p>After a crowd gathered around the pier, one man decided that enough was enough and dove into the East River to rescue the doggy-paddler. The crowd cheered him on and, at the moment he reached the dog, the crowd around the river lifted their voices in cheer.</p><p>The man likely thought the hardest part of the rescue mission was over. He guided the dog back to the safety of the rocks. But as the man was trying to corral the dog ashore, the dog launched back and bit him in the face.</p><p>In the video, someone explains the dog’s behavior, saying that he is “just afraid.” To which another onlooker replies, “well, yeah, obviously.”</p><p>But despite the tense moment, the man did not abort his mission. He guided the dog back to the rocks, where both were welcomed as they lay panting.</p><p>There were people crying. It was emotional.</p><p>Although we can only assume the whole thing ended happily, there aren’t any reports as to what happened to either the dog or his rescuer.</p><p>"When the dog was handed to the cops everyone soon lost interest and went back to drinking and hanging out, and that's all I know about the situation," Fonda told <em>Gothamist</em>.</p><p>Another day in New York City. </p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Is Offering Summer Flights Starting at $49 Right Now (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:57
<p>Summertime is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning your <a href="" target="_blank">vacations</a>. And the first place you should start is with your airline tickets on <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest</a>.</p><p>The airline is celebrating the season with its latest “<a href="" target="_blank">sale-ebrate</a>” sale. Starting Tuesday, May 7, Southwest will offer travelers steep discounts on tickets across the nation. However, if you’re looking for a deal you better act fast as the sale only lasts through Thursday, May 9.</p><p>But, thankfully, Southwest makes booking your flights with the sale rather simple. On the sale’s <a href="" target="_blank">landing page</a>, visitors will find clear sale prices. For example, one-way flights from Los Angeles to Austin start at just $119. Those flying out of Los Angeles can also find one-way flights to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for just $131, flights to Salt Lake City for $89, and Tampa for $149.</p><p>From New York, travelers can book one-way tickets to Denver for $155, to Nashville for $99, Tampa for $104, and New Orleans for $119.</p><img alt="Nashville, Tennessee "src=""><p>Best of all, all the tickets currently on sale are for non-stop service, which means you will get to your intended destination faster.</p><p>But, be warned, this sale does come with a few restrictions.</p><p>According to Southwest, continental travel is only valid between Aug. 20, 2019 and Aug. 29, 2019, and from Sept. 3, 2019, to Oct. 30, 2019. For trips to and from Puerto Rico, visitors will have to travel between Sept. 4, 2019 and Oct. 31, 2019. And, for one of <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest’s newest destinations</a>, inter-island travel in Hawaii is only valid between May 28, 2019 and Nov. 2, 2019.</p><p>And, unless otherwise specified, flights must take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Additionally, the seats available are also restricted and each of the sale price tickets are non-refundable. But, if you’re absolutely sure on where and when you want to go over the coming months, this Southwest sale could help you get there for far less.</p>
Categories: Travel

Meghan Markle Didn't Have a Home Birth After All — Here's Where the Royal Baby Was Really Delivered (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:16
<p>On Monday, May 6, <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed a baby boy</a> into the world. Though we don’t know every detail about the little one just yet, we do know one thing: Meghan Markle did not have a home birth.</p><p>Rumors ran wild that the Duchess of Sussex had planned on giving birth to her first child in her <a href="" target="_blank">home at Frogmore Cottage</a>. However, it’s now been reported that the Duchess actually gave birth in a nearby hospital with her husband and mother, Doria, by her side.</p><img alt="Duchess Of Sussex "src=""><p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, Meghan was secretly taken to an unnamed London hospital by Harry and a small security team. The plan was so under wraps that Prince Harry didn’t even inform senior royal officials that his wife was in labor until later in the day.</p><p>Mail Online's <a href="" target="_blank">Rebecca English</a> reported that the hospital was “most likely the Portland.” According to sources, Meghan remained in the hospital overnight before her baby was born at 5:26 a.m. on Monday.</p><p>But, had Meghan chosen to have a home birth, it wouldn’t have been that outlandish of an idea for a royal. As <a href="" target="_blank"><em>People</em></a> reported, Queen Elizabeth herself was born at the London home of her maternal grandparents. She then gave birth to her children at home as well. Her sons, <em>People </em>explained, were all born at Buckingham, while her daughter, Princess Anne, was born at Clarence House.</p><p>Though fans will likely not hear much more about the birth, they are expected to get their first <a href="" target="_blank">glimpse of the baby</a> in the coming days. The new parents are expected to reveal the child’s name, along with the first family photo, on Wednesday, May 8.</p><p>Until then, the new family of three is reportedly spending quality time together inside Frogmore. According to royal commentator <a href="" target="_blank">Omid Scobie</a>, “Harry and Meghan are quietly enjoying private time at Frogmore Cottage with their new son. I’m told their first night as a family of three was peaceful and emotional.” </p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Laptop Backpacks for Travel, According to Frequent Fliers

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:00
<p>Your laptop sees a lot of handling while traveling — taking it out for the TSA screening, bringing it back out to squeeze in a few minutes of work in the lounge, repacking it to board, and so on. Getting a dedicated laptop backpack will make sure that your prized possession is kept safe and snug in its sleeve, and easily removed or returned when you need it to be.</p><p>Derek Meister of Best Buy’s Geek Squad recommends travelers keep in mind five key considerations when buying a new <a href="" target="_blank">laptop bag</a>: protection, storage space, organization, comfort, and style. Most importantly, you'll want to find a <a href="" target="_blank">backpack</a> with a padded, laptop-specific pocket that's large enough to fit your machine, and maybe even waterproofing depending on your use.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">23 Travel Tech Essentials That Will Upgrade Every Part of Your Trip</a></p><p>Then, consider what else you’ll likely be carrying and how a backpack can help keep you organized so that accessories aren't bumping into each other and smaller items won’t get lost.</p><p>While a short commute may let you feel like you can get away with a less comfortable bag, you’ll definitely start to notice if the straps dig in if you’re adding a stroll around a new city to your afternoon. Make sure your straps are padded, adjustable, and can fit over a winter coat, if needed. And, of course, your favorite color might be a bonus.</p><p>We took all of these factors into account — and talked to a few seasoned travelers — to find the absolute best laptop backpack picks on the market. </p><h2>Best All-in-one Laptop Backpack: Nomatic Travel Pack</h2><img alt="nomatic travel laptop backpack "src=""><p>Designed to carry all the gear you need for a weekend trip, the Kickstarter-favorite bag expands from 20L to 30L in capacity and is loaded with bonus features including hideaway convertible straps, magnetic side pockets, pass-through cable slots, a waterproof finish, and more.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B07782GG5T&amp;linkId=7563b877ef6ec015df53d35d9ef654ba" target="_blank"></a>, $240</p><h2>Best Anti-theft Laptop Backpack: Pacsafe 'Venturesafe' 15L</h2><img alt="pacsafe anti-theft laptop backpack "src=""><p>After being on the road for seven years, travel blogger <a href="" target="_blank">Nina Ragusa</a> is devoted to the Pacsafe Venturesafe for its inconspicuous design and extensive anti-theft features. (Think: interlocking zippers, slashproof fabric and straps, and RFID-blocking internal pockets.) “Unlike name brands with similar price points, these bags don’t look like you spent a million bucks on them, which is a good thing.” she said. You can even lock the bag to furniture in your room if you’re leaving tech behind for the day.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00AE0NWWO&amp;linkId=d2a03b7afec093d4d5f9a32b1d0844ac" target="_blank"></a>, $99</p><h2>The Stylish-yet-comfortable Pick: Herschel Little America</h2><img alt="herschel stylish laptop backpack "src=""><p>Jenny Lachs of <a href="" target="_blank">Digital Nomad Girls</a> carries the <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B078J2CJPD&amp;linkId=900783c4d7223c84e153a1ebe31b322e" target="_blank">Herschel Little America</a> laptop backpack. “It was important for me to find a backpack that protects my laptop while looking stylish and [one] that also has enough space to carry all my other electronics and gear like an external keyboard, laptop stand, mouse, microphone, and <a href="" target="_blank">headphones</a>,” she said. “The Herschel is perfect because it's beautiful and doesn't look like a typical laptop bag, just like a normal backpack. I also love how comfortable it is to wear, the straps are very padded and so is the back panel.”</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B078J2CJPD&amp;linkId=900783c4d7223c84e153a1ebe31b322e" target="_blank"></a>, from $99</p><h2>Best TSA-friendly Laptop Backpack: SwissGear ScanSmart</h2><img alt="swissgear tsa laptop backpack "src=""><p>This pocket-loaded <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B006HFJA12&amp;linkId=50015cf2651cde896a7dd805ad83a90c" target="_blank">SwissGear backpack</a> includes a laptop compartment that unzips from the rest of the bag to minimize hassle in airport security. It's a clear crowd favorite, with more than 5,000 five-star reviewers on Amazon.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B006HFJA12&amp;linkId=50015cf2651cde896a7dd805ad83a90c" target="_blank"></a>, from $60</p><h2>Best Charging Laptop Backpack: eBags Professional Slim</h2><img alt="best charging laptop backpack ebags "src=""><p>The Lifeboat Edition of the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">eBags Professional Slim pack</a> comes with a portable battery pack, along with plenty of pockets. The laptop sleeve, which can accommodate devices up to 17.5 inches wide, is separate and individually lockable.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $125</p><h2>The Amazon Best-seller: Matein Travel</h2><img alt="matein laptop backpack "src=""><p>This budget-friendly pick is the Amazon top seller in this category and has a separate laptop pocket along with plenty of other storage space, USB charging cord, and luggage strap to attach it to a carry-on handle.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B06XZTZ7GB&amp;linkId=e83d2acd914c6bf5745b2bebaa474ca7" target="_blank"></a>, from $30</p><h2>Best for 15-inch Laptops: Incase Icon</h2><img alt="incase 15-inch laptop backpack "src=""><p>Journalist <a href="" target="_blank">Karlis Herrera</a> carries the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Incase Icon</a> on her frequent freelance writing travels, and it’s a favorite over at <a href="" target="_blank">Wirecutter</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Outdoor Gear Lab</a>, as well. “It has awesome space management and a lot of room inside accompanied by different pockets strategically located in the backpack to store our things,” she said. Bonus: The sleek exterior won’t look out of place in first class.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $200</p><h2>Best 17-inch Laptop Backpack: Timbuk2 Q</h2><img alt="timbuk2 best 17-inch laptop backpack "src=""><p>The <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00HSGKSR4&amp;linkId=66606ce1a04d3364d43f47ab0b1273f5" target="_blank">Timbuk2 Q</a> can hold up to a 17-inch laptop in its padded compartment. It comes with a special pocket for your <a href="" target="_blank">power bank</a> and an on-strap bottle opener, just in case.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00HSGKSR4&amp;linkId=6565387158097354d76d477793baf238" target="_blank"></a>, $59 (originally $99)</p><h2>Best Roll-top Laptop Backpack: Thule Paramount 24L</h2><img alt="thule roll-top laptop backpack "src=""><p><a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00MHNPPXK&amp;linkId=dabe93ccf8e1b8f52d56c7e401a39c94" target="_blank">Thule’s Paramount 24L</a> also came out on top at Outdoor Gear Lab and Wirecutter in the weather-resistant category. It has both laptop and tablet pockets and a distinctive roll-top design.</p><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tllaptopbackpacks-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00MHNPPXK&amp;linkId=dabe93ccf8e1b8f52d56c7e401a39c94" target="_blank"></a>, from $89</p><h2>Best Budget-friendly Pick: Targus Metropolitan</h2><img alt="targus budget laptop backpack "src=""><p>Meister’s current choice is the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Targus Metropolitan</a>. “The straps and back ventilation are comfortable and it has a good mix of storage space for its size and weight,” he said. “I also like its little features, like the ‘handle’ built into the top of the straps as well as the built-in rain cover that folds out to protect the bag in inclement weather.”</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $50</p><h2>The Best Rolling Laptop Backpack: Kenneth Cole Roll-on Backpack</h2><img alt="reaction kenneth cole rolling laptop backpack "src=""><p>New York magazine’s shopping guide, the <a href="" target="_blank">Strategist</a>, recommends this <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Kenneth Cole rolling backpack</a>, which has four wheels for extra versatile maneuvering and can hold up to a 17-inch computer.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $98 (originally $300)</p><h2>Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack</h2><img alt="tortuga travel backpack with laptop sleeve "src=""><p>This clever laptop bag by Tortuga was designed specifically with the traveler in mind. It has a sleeve for a laptop up to 15 inches and a tablet up to 9.7 inches and tons more features that will make carrying your essentials easy, like a luggage handle pass-through and a zip-flat water bottle pocket. The bag's front panel can also unzip so that it's totally open, like a suitcase would, to make packing a breeze. </p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $125</p><h2>Best Laptop Bag for Adventure Trips: Deuter Stepout 16 </h2><img alt="deuter laptop backpack "src=""><p>Consumer education and travel writer Janice S. Lintz carries the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Deuter Stepout 16</a>. “The bag has a storage compartment in the back for documents and laptops, but the Airstripes meant that I didn't sweat when I lugged it while traveling,” she said. “The pack has extra stability, and I found my back didn't hurt from the bag on my recent seven-week trip to Africa, compared to my former inexpensive backpack. For me, skimping on a pack is a no-no since I will pay for it in the long run with my back.”</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $60</p><h2>Best Waterproof Laptop Backpack: Fjallraven Kanken</h2><img alt="fjallraven waterproof laptop backpack "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Kid &amp; Coe</a> Director of Marketing and Communications (and bike commuter) Laura Hall swears by her <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Fjallraven Kanken</a> laptop backpack, which fits a 15-inch device. “The backpack is durable, waterproof, windproof, has a protective pocket and looks great,” she said. “I live in Copenhagen where design is important; this one is the best.”</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $140</p><h2>Best Covert Camera and Laptop Backpack: Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 25L</h2><img alt="pacsafe camera laptop backpack "src=""><p>Photographer Jimmy Chan of <a href="" target="_blank">Pixelicious</a> is also a Pacsafe fan and recommends the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Metrosafe LS450 25L</a>. “All of my shoots are done on location so I regularly bring my laptop along for retouching,” he said. “This also means that my backpack carries expensive equipment that I don't want to advertise, especially when walking through crowded environments.” </p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $120</p><h2>Best Convertible Laptop Backpack: Minaal Daily Bag</h2><img alt="minaal convertible laptop backpack "src=""><p>Frequent traveler Michael Alexis regularly lives out of his Minaal Daily Bag, which can switch between backpack, shoulder, and hand-carry options with its hideaway straps. It includes a DeviceNest laptop compartment for computers up to 15 inches and a lifetime warranty. “Recently, I was carrying an extra 20 pounds of weight in it and it still seemed sturdy, while less well-constructed backpacks could have torn at the seams,” said Alexis. “It looks great both for casual travel with friends as well as attending business meetings and conferences.”</p><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $249</p><h2>Best Leather Laptop Backpack: Moore &amp; Giles Quinn Commuter Backpack </h2><img alt="moore giles leather laptop backpack "src=""><p>If only leather will do, go full-on with the <a href="" target="_blank">Moore &amp; Giles Quinn backpack</a>.</p><p>To buy: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, $715</p>
Categories: Travel

How My Mom and I Are Healing a 13-year Rift by Traveling the World Together

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 06:57
<p>A few years ago, my mom phoned to tell me she wanted us to go to Texas — unusual given I live in California and my mom lives in Florida and we knew no one who lived in Texas. Also unusual because we only spoke a couple times a year. Let me explain.</p><p>As a child, my mom was my hero: a business owner, an activist, and a Madonna superfan. And no bedtime ritual was complete without our nightly “<a href="" target="_blank">I love <i>you</i> more</a>” battles. But due to circumstances largely outside her control, my mom wasn’t always able to be present. Back then, I didn’t understand her emotional struggles – I only wished for her to get out of bed long enough to play Barbies with me. So when my parents divorced and I chose to live with my dad, the traumatic fallout (on both ends) resulted in our being virtually absent from each other's lives for 13 years. Until the day my mom suggested we <a href="" target="_blank">take annual trips together</a> to get to re-know one another and work on our relationship.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why You Should Plan a Trip With Your Mother Every Year</a></p><p>I was nervous for 10-day stretches with my estranged mother. Would my therapist need to be on standby? Probably. But I was excited to start this new chapter. Because I missed us.</p><p>Here’s how traveling around the world together is helping mend our relationship.</p><h2>San Antonio: Where we learned to appreciate simply being together.</h2><p>Our first trip felt like a first date as we spent our days politely strolling along The Riverwalk — a series of walkways along the San Antonio River lined with vibrant boutiques and Tex Mex deliciousness. And since we still weren’t that natural around each other, we found a cantina, ordered "Effen Good Cucumber Martinis" (literally their name), and spent the night gabbing like semi-sloshed school girls. The next day, we wandered into art shops where we gazed upon watercolor paintings and bought hand-made, leather jewelry. Yes, we had baggage. But we were learning to lose ourselves in the simple joy of being together.</p><img alt="The famous Champs Elysees avenue in Paris "src=""><h2>Paris: Where we learned to stop walking on eggshells.</h2><p>Paris may be called the City of Light, but make no mistake: people can be dark. Cab drivers dumped us out, waiters refused dietary accommodations, and patrons spontaneously forgot <i>mid conversation</i> how to speak our language! After a few days, the city started to rub off. We were set to see a show at The Lido on the famous Champs Elysees when my mom realized she got our showtime wrong. “I'm someone who likes structure and we can’t just keep changing our plans!” I fired off. “Well maybe the anxiety of planning everything makes me forgetful and I need to actually get back as much as I’m giving!” she replied. Well. We weren’t walking on eggshells. We were revealing ourselves to each other. For maybe the first time. Thanks, Paris... you city of dark, you.</p><h2>Amsterdam: Where we learned we’re more comfortable with freaky stuff than big emotions.</h2><p>Arriving to The Netherlands’ infamous Red Light District – an old quarter embracing legal prostitution, soft drugs, and pornography — was DOPE. But I definitely expected taking The Erotic Walking Tour with the woman who planned my Bat Mitzvah would be awkward. So you can imagine my surprise when we took turns posing with flogs, bought souvenir handcuffs, and chatted up the owner of The Magic Mushroom. (My photo library will never be the same). The following day, however, things took an uncomfortable turn when we narrowly skirted a terrorist attack at Amsterdam Central Station. I was terrified. But instead of expressing fear, I calmly sat down outside the sectioned-off perimeter while my mom excused herself. It was there that I understood why our rift began years ago – not because we didn't care or feel deeply, but because we weren't always good at showing it to each other.</p><img alt="North Vancouver ferry and container port. Vancouver, British Columbia "src=""><h2>British Columbia: Where we learned it’s OK we have opposite personalities.</h2><p>On an early morning ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, my mom, an extrovert, wanted to talk about all the scenic gulf islands in real time. I, an introvert, preferred to methodically process the blue waters and soft breeze by dipping out for a while and coming back. This was travel day 7 and the time bomb was ticking: "I love you but sometimes I need space," I said. "I'm like this with everybody." She said OK. And we held hands instead.</p><h2>Bruges: Where we learned chocolate heals everything.</h2><p>Belgium means all the chocolate things everywhere: designer chocolate, hot chocolate, waffles with molten chocolate, and even chocolate museums. Chocolate is a universal bonding experience. To chocolate!</p><img alt="Monet's garden at Giverny, France. "src=""><h2>Giverny and the Normandy Beaches: Where we learned to stay positive.</h2><p>As my mom and I walked through stunning patches of yellow roses in Claude Monet’s restored gardens, we were informed by our tour guide that the famous painter was repeatedly rejected from almost all classical exhibitions for creating fake art… referred to as “impressions” of art. Monet nearly didn’t make it? We were stunned. Similarly, while standing on the beaches of Normandy, we looked out at the sea together and recounted how outnumbered the American soldiers were by Hitler’s army and, yet, went on to win the war. The two of us got emotional experiencing places where, historically, everyone beat the odds. Because if they did it... maybe after 13 years, we could, too. When we got back on the bus, my mom rested her feet in my lap. Then I put my head on her shoulder. And we fell asleep on the ride back to our hotel.</p><p>The two of us are already planning next year’s itinerary. Where should we go? Madrid? Tokyo? And what will we learn about each other next? The options are endless. And sure there have been bumps along the way but the process has been transformative. So thanks for this great suggestion, mom. And in case you were wondering… I still love <i>you</i> more.</p>
Categories: Travel

Massive Fire Reported at First All-inclusive Resort in the Florida Keys

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 16:18
<p>In December, the adults-only <a href="" target="_blank">Bungalows Key Largo</a> debuted as the <a href="" target="_blank">first all-inclusive in the Florida Keys</a>. Early Sunday morning, an inferno of flames ravaged the luxury property, making for a frightening end to many a relaxing vacation.</p><p>Sherry Conn, a resort guest on a girls’ trip from Raleigh, North Carolina, woke up to loud knocks on her door.</p><p>“We were in a dead sleep and I hear ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ ... I looked in the peep hole and it was our friend … and she said, ‘Get out! There’s a fire! There’s a fire!’ I felt the door and I felt like I was in a hot box,” Conn told <em>Travel+Leisure</em>.</p><img alt="Bugalows Key Largo "src=""><p>“You could hear it crackling and the entire thing was on fire,” she said. “I mean, from the beginning, where the tiki bar is, all the way to the end of the main pool. The entire building was in flames.” Firefighters warned her to evacuate as quickly as possible in order to avoid smoke inhalation from the billowing clouds.</p><p>According to witnesses, the fire broke out between four and five o’clock in the morning and burned for several hours. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but some suggest it may have originated in a food truck on site. The resort website states that a food truck called the Conch Cruiser, A.K.A. Largo Larry’s, is “coming soon.”</p><p>“Due to a fire this morning, isolated within the Beach House, all guests and associates were evacuated, all are safe and there were no injuries,” Bungalows Key Largo said in a statement. “No guest accommodations were affected. The state and local fire departments responded immediately. Our priority is for the comfort and safety of our guests and associates.”</p><p>Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.</p><img alt="Bugalows Key Largo "src=""><p>“The staff was amazing. They were running around on this golf cart trying to get people out of there,” Conn said. “They already had all the cars waiting, like all the people that drove, they were all lined up ... The resort did a phenomenal job of keeping everyone calm.”</p><p>The Beach House is the main clubhouse area of Bungalows Key Largo. It houses two restaurants, a bar, and a pool with cabanas. While it’s the main hub of the 12-acre resort, it actually takes up a very small section of the resort’s total acreage.</p><p>The attached spa — a bamboo-filled wonderland that seemed to teleport guests straight to Thailand — was also affected by the fire, according to Kathy Shirley, owner of <a href="" target="_blank">Key Largo Yoga</a>, sole yoga provider for the resort. She received news of the fire shortly before a scheduled sunrise yoga class at the resort.</p><p>“From what we know of the owner—his name is Jerry — he’s just an amazing human, and I really foresee he will work really diligently to get things cleaned up and moving forward and rebuilding as quickly as possible, for the community as well,” Shirley said.</p><p>The resort has the support of the Key Largo community, she said. “We’ve been doing yoga there now for six months and the feedback from the people staying there has been really amazing.” Trained in trauma-sensitive yoga, Key Largo Yoga has offered free memberships to anyone involved.</p><p>Luckily, this fire doesn’t spell the end of Bungalows Key Largo. If you were planning a trip of your own, consider it postponed, not cancelled. “Our operations team will be contacting guests with existing reservations to rebook for future dates,” Bungalows Key Largo said.</p><img alt="Bugalows Key Largo and owner, Jerry Johnson "src=""><p>In the meantime, nearby <a href="" target="_blank">Playa Largo Resort &amp; Spa</a> is a strong contender for alternative accommodations. It isn’t all-inclusive, and guests stay in rooms and suites rather than individual bungalows, but there’s an ocean-inspired spa plus water sports, pools, and a hammock garden.</p><p>In a tragically ironic twist of fate, this isn’t the first fire faced by Bungalows Key Largo owner Jerry Johnson. He was the former owner of <a href="" target="_blank">Cheeca Lodge &amp; Spa</a> in Islamorada, favored by the late President George H.W. Bush for bonefishing trips; Cheeca Lodge was razed by fire on New Year’s Eve 2008. It was later struck by Hurricane Irma in 2017 but reopened in early 2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

Commercial Tour Groups Will Be Banned From Parts of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — Here's What to Know Before You Visit

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 16:04
<p>An estimated <a href="" target="_blank">4.5 million people</a> visit the Statue of Liberty every year, but it seems the site’s popularity is starting to negatively impact visitor experience. In an effort to improve this experience, the National Park Service, which operates both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, is restricting organized tours at parts of both sites starting May 16.</p><p>The new regulations will ban commercial guided tours from the observation deck on the Statue of Liberty’s <a href="" target="_blank">pedestal</a> and from the long-awaited <a href="" target="_blank">Statue of Liberty Museum</a>, which opens the day the regulations go into effect. Guided tours are also banned from the <a href="" target="_blank">Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration</a>.</p><p>Officials from the National Park Service said <a href="" target="_blank">commercial guides</a> can still conduct tours on both islands and retain full access to the Statue of Liberty’s lobby and mezzanine. During inclement weather and during the slower season of November through March, guides can offer their groups “a brief site orientation” on the first floor of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.</p><p>The new regulations are being instituted due to challenges with overcrowding and the obstruction of pedestrian traffic due to the large tour groups. Jerry Willis, a spokesperson for the National Park Service, told <em><a href=";module=News&amp;pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></em> that these issues have “severely degraded the visitor experience in the park.’’</p><p>Visitors who want to access the banned areas can still do so, but must go without a tour group. Travelers can access the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal viewing area and both museums by buying the <a href="" target="_blank">Pedestal Reserve Ticket</a> ($18.50 for adults) from Statue Cruises, the official ticket seller. The rate also includes round-trip ferry access and an audio tour.</p>
Categories: Travel

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Baby Has Arrived — Here's What We Know So Far (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 14:48
<p>On Monday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed the newest royal baby, a boy in the early morning.</p><p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared on their Instagram account that the baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces, at birth. They'll be sharing more details in the “forthcoming days.”</p><p>“It was amazing, absolutely incredible,” Prince Harry told press. “I’m so incredibly proud of my wife.”</p><p>“I’m just over the moon,” the new father added.</p><p>In October, Meghan and Harry announced they were pregnant with their first child, just a few months after their lavish <a href="" target="_blank">royal wedding</a>. By that time, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was at least <a href="" target="_blank">12 weeks pregnant</a>.</p><img alt="Duchess Meghan of Sussex "src=""><p>At the time, Kensington Palace shared in a social media post, “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.” It added, “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”</p><p>Fans were able to closely follow Meghan’s entire pregnancy as she stayed highly active with her royal duties for the last several months. In fact, when her pregnancy announcement was made, <a href="" target="_blank">Meghan and Harry had already begun their fall tour</a> of Australia, New Zealand, and the Fijian Islands.</p><p>Now, all that’s left to learn is the baby’s name. In October, the private bookmakers <a href="" target="_blank">Fitzdare</a> said they favored the name Alexander for a boy with 2/1 odds, and Alice for a girl at 5/2. The Duke and Duchess will likely share the name they've chosen in the coming days.</p><p>The royal family shared that Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, is with the new parents at Frogmore Cottage.</p><p>Meghan and Harry's new son automatically becomes a lord at birth. He will have the last name Mountbatten-Windsor.</p><p>However, Queen Elizabeth could also step in and gift the child with a title of prince for his birthday.</p><p>But, even without a title, this bouncing baby boy will certainly be living a charmed life. Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Now, go get some sleep before reality sets in.</p>
Categories: Travel

This $14 Passport Wallet Comes in 35 Colors and Has Over 2,600 Rave Reviews on Amazon

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:30
<p>There's a high chance we just found the perfect travel wallet to accompany you on your next trip. That’s no exaggeration; we really do mean perfect. In addition to its minimalist design, myriad of card slots, and many other essential features, this <a href=";tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0179BOLWU&amp;linkId=f9f770f7e944697c433807a518a882a1" target="_blank">Zoppen travel passport wallet</a> has over 2,100 five-star reviews on Amazon. Plus, it’s found its way to the top of <a href=";pg=1&amp;_encoding=UTF8&amp;tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;linkId=f40daf82aa43b4f2551cef937f365fad&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325" target="_blank">Amazon’s Most Wished For list</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Most Wished-for Travel Bags on Amazon</a></p><p>If you’re unfamiliar with <a href=";pg=1&amp;_encoding=UTF8&amp;tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;linkId=f40daf82aa43b4f2551cef937f365fad&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325" target="_blank">Amazon’s Most Wished For page</a>, it’s an ever-changing list of items that have been most added to Amazon users’ wish lists. It’s also a gold mine for <a href="" target="_blank">great gift ideas</a> and a fun place to see what people are dying to get their hands on.</p><img alt="Best Travel Passport Wallet "src=""><p>Currently, the <a href=";tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0179BOLWU&amp;linkId=f9f770f7e944697c433807a518a882a1" target="_blank">Zoppen travel wallet</a> is one of the <a href=";pg=1&amp;_encoding=UTF8&amp;tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;linkId=f40daf82aa43b4f2551cef937f365fad&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325" target="_blank">most wished-for items in the travel category</a>, and we can certainly see why. Not only can it fit dollar bills and credit cards, this multi-purpose wallet can also hold a passport, airline tickets, and other important travel essentials (there’s even a sim card pouch). What's more: this wallet features RFID-blocking technology that’ll shield important information, such as credit card numbers, from electronic scanners and protect you from identity theft. Oh, and the sleek and chic design and 33 color options certainly add brownie points.</p><img alt="Best Travel Passport Wallet "src=""><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0179BOLWU&amp;linkId=f9f770f7e944697c433807a518a882a1" target="_blank"></a>, from $14</p><p>Head to <a href=";tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0179BOLWU&amp;linkId=f9f770f7e944697c433807a518a882a1" target="_blank"></a> to shop the <a href=";tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0179BOLWU&amp;linkId=f9f770f7e944697c433807a518a882a1" target="_blank">Zoppen travel passport wallet</a> for $14 and see what other items made the <a href=";pg=1&amp;_encoding=UTF8&amp;tag=tlmostwishedfortravelwallet-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;linkId=f40daf82aa43b4f2551cef937f365fad&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325" target="_blank">Most Wished For list</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel