Travel

You Can Take a Llama to Lunch in Colorado

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 10:46
<p>If you’re going to Colorado, now’s your chance to spend time with the best lunch buddies in the world.</p><p><a href="http://paragonguides.com/" target="_blank">Paragon Guides</a> in Vail, Colorado offers various types of llama treks, including ones that allow you to take the animals on a day hike while stopping for a mid-day meal with your new friends.</p><p>The <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33676-d5963991-Reviews-Paragon_Guides-Vail_Colorado.html" target="_blank">tour company</a> offers three options for llama lovers: the Arrowhead Llama Lunch based out of the Arrowhead Ski Area, the Backcountry Llama Lunch on a local hiking trail, and Wine and Cheese with Llamas, also based out of the Arrowhead Ski Area.</p><p>The <a href="http://paragonguides.com/take-a-llama-to-lunch/" target="_blank">Arrowhead Llama Lunch</a>, running from July to early October, includes a half-day hike with a red-checkered picnic table lunch, snacks, and water all included. It’s especially great for families who want to connect with nature, as it takes you along trails with aspen trees, evergreens, and wildflowers. This package has a $415 base fee that covers the first two people in your party. After that, it's $89 per additional person, or $79 each if there are eight or more people in your group.</p><p>Or, if you’re headed to Arrowhead, you can opt for an early-evening wine and cheese hike.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/alpaca-dancing-classes-canada" target="_blank">You Can Take Dance Classes With Alpacas at This Canadian Farm</a></p><p>At Backcountry Ski Area, more experienced hikers can spend a full day hiking with their llamas, including lunch, snacks, and water along the way. The package, which runs from mid-June to late October, also includes transportation from your home or hotel and transportation to a local trailhead.</p><p>The Backcountry package has a $545 base fee for the first two people, and an additional $89 per person (or $79 each if eight or more people are in the group). Kids under five are free, and the company is currently advertising 15 percent off if you book for June.</p><p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/london-zoo-tiger-llama-monkey-snow" target="_blank">Llamas</a> are gentle, genuinely curious pack animals that can carry up to 80 pounds. According to Paragon Guides, they make excellent trail companions and can also help carry some gear if needed.</p><p>The company reminds any potential visitors that llamas should never be ridden, “no matter how much grain we feed them.”</p><p>More information on taking a llama to lunch can be found on the <a href="http://paragonguides.com/take-a-llama-to-lunch/" target="_blank">Paragon Guides website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The One Packing Rule Every Woman Should Follow, According to a Designer and Hotelier

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 10:30
<p>Silvia Tcherassi has been a household name in her native Colombia for more than 25 years but has remained a relative insider on the worldwide fashion scene. But with the fall 2017 launch of her eponymous line on luxury e-tailer <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.net-a-porter.com/us/en/Shop/Designers/Silvia_Tcherassi" target="_blank">Net-a-Porter</a>, the secret is officially out on her elegant statement blouses and feminine, ruffled frocks. Now we’ll all get to buy into Tcherassi’s dreamy South American flair, just in time for our spring travels.</p><p>Traveling has always been a large part of Tcherassi’s design process. She also owns <a href="http://www.tcherassihotels.com/" target="_blank">two namesake hotels</a> in Cartagena — the first of which made <em>Travel + Leisure</em>'s <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-new-hotels-2010#18" target="_blank">2010 It List</a> when it opened — making her an expert in the worlds of both style and travel.</p><p>We asked her a few questions about her travel routine, favorite cities, and packing essentials (they’re not what you’d expect).</p><p><strong>T+L: You’ve been a fashion designer for more than 25 years. Where do you get your inspiration?</strong></p><p><strong>Silvia Tcherassi:</strong> “Art, architecture, feelings, objects, and powerful and iconic women such as Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, and Ann Truitt. Fabrics are always the starting point of my creative process and my last Fall/Winter 2018 collection is a tribute to them.”</p><p><strong>What inspired you to open hotels?</strong></p><p>“The need to express my vision, my point of view, beyond fashion. My style is casual luxury–oriented, eclectic, non-pretentious, and focused on fine, little details. My hotels and my home collection are also platforms to express this.”</p><p> </p><p><strong>Why did you decide to open hotels in Cartagena?</strong></p><p>“Cartagena is a real movie set ready to be admired and appreciated. The city is vibrant and full of energy and has developed a new dynamic in the last decade. The opening of new restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques has created a unique environment welcoming interesting and cosmopolitan tourists.”</p><p><strong>If you could open another hotel in Colombia, which city would you choose?</strong></p><p>“Bogotá. The city has a very dynamic cultural, gastronomic, and shopping scene. Indeed, the first Tcherassi Hotel was originally planned for Bogotá, but we decided that Cartagena was the best option to introduce the concept.”</p><p><strong>You’re originally from Barranquilla. What is the one thing travelers should know about your home city?</strong></p><p>“Barranquilla has a pioneer soul. The city opened its gates to immigrants from different parts of the world, bringing with them a distinguished entrepreneurial spirit. A fun fact for travelers: Barranquilla had a very important role in the history of commercial aviation. Also, my city is the hometown of many well-known Colombians such as Julio Mario Santodomingo, Sofia Vergara, Shakira, and Nina García.”</p><p> </p><p><strong>How do you approach packing? What do you never go on vacation without?</strong></p><p>“I try to accommodate everything in a carry-on and a large bag to avoid delays and lost luggage. Believe me, I learned my lesson many years ago. The secret is to choose garments that are easy to mix and match and pack statement accessories to transform any look on the go. During the summer, <a href="https://www.silviatcherassi.com/shop/dress/selvino-dress-1?id=531839811630" target="_blank">the Selvino dress</a> is a very versatile piece, it goes easily from the day to night, from casual to party.”</p><img alt="selvino dress "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522779551/selvino-dress-SILVIA0418.jpg?itok=JgyIMAeo"><p><strong>Favorite city you’ve visited lately?</strong></p><p>“Paris. I have a lot of great memories: my fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in the Carrousel du Louvre, a meeting with the Balmain executives offering me the creative direction of the brand — I didn’t accept the offer and chose to focus on my own brand, my visits to Première Vision to choose fabrics for my collections. In addition, I have a special connection with France because the government named me Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters 15 years ago.”</p><p> </p><p><strong>What are your favorite shopping cities?</strong></p><p>“I am very familiar with Milan. For interior design and fashion, it is 'the place.' Since opening my boutique in Madrid almost three years ago, I have rediscovered the city as a shopping destination. London also surprises me with its originality and non-apologetic approach to style.”</p><p><strong>What is the one packing rule every woman should follow?</strong></p><p>“To reduce wrinkling, fold everything with tissue paper!”</p><p><strong>What city are you hoping to visit in 2018?</strong></p><p>“Hong Kong.”</p><p><em>Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

How Hotel Slippers Led Police to a Burglar in Manhattan Beach

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 08:39
<p>Police were able to use an unlikely clue to find the suspect of a recent string of robberies in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/resort-hotels-in-california" target="_blank">California’s</a> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/manhattan-beach-guide" target="_blank">Manhattan Beach</a>.</p><p>The suspect, whose identity has not been released, was wearing a pair of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/most-comfortable-slippers" target="_blank">slippers</a> he had taken from the hotel he was staying in, helping police determine where they could locate him, Manhattan Beach police officials <a href="https://local.nixle.com/alert/6496568/" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>.</p><p>According to Manhattan Beach Police Department officials, they were called to investigate reports of car robberies in the neighborhood on Sunday, April 1, when one of the victims said she had video surveillance of the suspect loitering by the vehicles.</p><p>The video showed the man, in slippers, walking towards the car and trying to open the front door before he realized it was locked, moving on to take items from other cars down the street.</p><p>“Due to the suspect wearing slippers in the video, the officer had the foresight to check a local hotel near the crime scene to see if the suspect was staying there,” Sergeant Tim Zins <a href="https://local.nixle.com/alert/6496568/" target="_blank">said in the statement</a>.</p><p>Police then went to the hotel to further investigate the scene, installing surveillance to watch the suspect as he went in and out of the property. They were eventually able to confirm he was the same individual committing the thefts, at which point they took him into custody.</p><p>The man, who stole several items from the cars, was arrested for attempted residential burglary, theft from a motor vehicle, and possession of stolen property.</p>
Categories: Travel

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Could Soon Make a Visit to the United States

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 08:36
<p>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-harry-wedding-invitations-compared-to-kate-william" target="_blank">aren’t even married yet</a>, but that isn’t stopping Kensington Palace from planning out their every move post-wedding.</p><p>Kensington Palace announced on Thursday that Prince Harry would become the patron of “Walk Of America,” the latest expedition from the armed forces charity <a href="https://twitter.com/supportthewalk" target="_blank">Support The Walk</a>. As part of his duties, Harry will launch the expedition at an event in London on Wednesday, April 11.</p><p>The palace further explained that this summer a team of six veterans from the United States and the U.K. will walk 1,000 miles from the West to the East Coast of the U.S. in 14 weeks. During that time, the expedition will also raise vital funds for veterans both sides of the Atlantic.</p><p><a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/04/prince-harry-meghan-markle-international-tour" target="_blank">According to <em>Vanity Fair</em></a>, the walk will start in Meghan’s hometown of <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/los-angeles" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>. And though the palace didn’t announce if Harry or Meghan will be on hand, sources did confirm to Vanity Fair that the couple and their staff are already hard at work planning their first overseas trip, which may include a stop in to check on the walking troops.</p><p>But first, sources said, the newlyweds will pay a visit to Canada after saying their vows, just as William and Kate did following their 2011 wedding. And, at the time William and Kate also <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/kate-middleton-prince-william-california-royal-visit/story?id=14019103" target="_blank">tacked on a quick trip to California</a>, meaning it’s very likely Harry and Meghan will do the same.</p><p>“Canada is on the cards. There’s a lot of talk at a high-up level and among the powers that be that it will be the first country the couple visit,” a source told <em>Vanity Fair</em>. Another added that Meghan is keen to “take Harry home once they are married on a formal tour. It’s her home and she would love to go there with Harry after the wedding.”</p><p>Odds are Americans would be very happy to see their princess return home, too.</p>
Categories: Travel

Passenger Writes ‘Bomb’ on Bag, Prompting False Alarm at Airport

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 08:09
<p>A suspicious bag found on the baggage carousel shut down Brisbane International Airport in Australia on Wednesday. The black duffle bag had the words “Bomb to Brisbane” written on it, <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/39725570/afp-swarm-bag-labelled-bomb-on-brisbane-airport-carousel/">Yahoo 7 News reported</a>.</p><p>“The Australian Federal Police responded to reports of a suspicious item of baggage at Brisbane International Airport this morning,” a police spokesperson told Yahoo 7 News. “An area near a baggage carousel was cordoned off and the item was examined in accordance with routine protocols, and was not deemed to be suspicious.”</p><p>The bag, instead of being a nefarious threat, was actually a passenger’s simple (and careless) attempt at making sure their bag got to the right place.</p><p>The passenger traveling from Mumbai, India, which was also written on the bag’s note, wrote “Bomb” to indicate <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/flight-status-bomb-threat" target="_blank">Bombay</a>. Mumbai’s former name was Bombay and the city’s airport is still coded as “BOM.” So, the note saying “Bomb to Brisbane,” was actually just to indicate the bag was to go from Mumbai to Australia.</p><p>It’s unclear how the bag got all the way to Australia with the note attached to it without tipping off any other security measures. “How it made it all the way is beyond me, you’ve got to be pretty thick to do that,” the owner of the bag told Yahoo 7 News.”</p><p>Even though this bag ended up being an innocuous mistake, airport security must take any suspicious bag or possible threat with utmost sincerity. Even making <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/oliver-burkemans-blog/2012/nov/27/dynamite-advice-bomb-jokes-airports">jokes about bomb</a> threats can be <a href="https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/9jd/TacCert_pdfs/Dickerson_Docs/ETNARTICLE29.pdf">punishable by law</a>.</p><p>The confusion over Mumbai Airport has also caused confusion and false alarms before. Back in January, a man was <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/flight-status-bomb-threat" target="_blank">arrested for checking his flight status</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Cherry Blossoms Have Finally Hit Peak Bloom in Washington, D.C.

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 07:35
<p>It’s officially the best time to enjoy spring in Washington, D.C. The National Park Service announced the cherry blossom trees in D.C. hit peak bloom on Thursday, and the best time for viewing will continue for up to seven days.</p><p>This year’s peak bloom is the latest since 2014 and 2015, when the peak bloom hit on April 10, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/04/05/cherry-blossoms-reach-peak-bloom-after-six-weeks-of-wild-weather-photos/" target="_blank">The the <em>Washington Post</em> reported</a>. Considering the harsh, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/april-snowstorm-nyc" target="_blank">late-winter storms</a> that have hit the eastern seaboard in February, it’s no surprise that the flowers have taken their time to bloom.</p><img alt="A woman uses her cell phone to take a picture of cherry blossom trees as they stand in full bloom in Washington, DC, on April 4, 2018. "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1523029226/cherry-blossoms-dc-photo-PEAKSZN0418.jpg?itok=YtShtWPn"><p>The National Park Service’s <a href="https://cherryblossomwatch.com/peak-bloom-forecast/" target="_blank">initial report</a> for peak bloom was supposed to be between March 17 and March 20, and then to March 27 to March 30. The unpredictable, cold and rainy weather most likely delayed the bloom this year.</p><p>The National Park Service tweeted that under “ideal conditions” the trees could even hold their blooms for up to two weeks. Cherry blossom trees are very delicate and do best in sunny, mild weather, with no wind or precipitation.</p><img alt="Cherry blossom trees dip into the tidal basin as they stand in full bloom in Washington, DC, on April 4, 2018. "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1523029226/cherry-blossoms-dc-PEAKSZN0418.jpg?itok=87YE0RQg"><p>Over the next four to seven days, however, it’s unlikely that conditions will be ideal for the trees.</p><p>According to <a href="https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/USDC0001:1:US" target="_blank">Weather.com</a>, conditions on Friday will be warm and mild, but will become much cooler over the weekend, with the high temperature at 46 degrees on Saturday and 49 degrees on Sunday.</p><img alt="Guamaral Sod-Erdene, 5, poses for photos for her mother, near the Washington Monument on Easter where most of the trees are in full bloom, unlike the tidal basin Sunday April 01, 2018 "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1523029226/cherry-blossoms-dc-child-PEAKSZN0418.jpg?itok=-g6L2l3i"><p>On Monday and Tuesday, temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s with some rain, with winds from 5 to 20 mph. Midweek, the weather returns to being partly cloudy and a little warmer, with highs in the 50s on Wednesday and 60s on Thursday.</p><p>If the trees can hang on until Wednesday, locals and visitors may be able to enjoy the bloom with some very lovely spring weather.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Bald Eagle Family's Reaction to the California Earthquake Shows Just How Strong It Was

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 06:51
<p>The 5.3-magnitude earthquake that shook southern California late Thursday startled a lot of local residents, including the wildlife.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm" target="_blank">Channel Islands National Park</a> live nest camera, hosted on <a href="http://explore.org" target="_blank">Explore.org</a>, captured a bald eagle dad casually minding his own business with his little eaglets when the earthquake struck.</p><p>As the nest shook (but thankfully was undamaged) the dad immediately flew off, leaving his eaglets behind. While many people on the internet mistook this as an act of bad parenting, it’s actually a protective instinct for a male eagle to circle the nest in order to look for potential dangers, according to Explore.org.</p><p>So, don’t worry, everyone. This eagle didn’t abandon his babies.</p><p>In fact, around the :18 second mark, you can see a shadow of the eagle returning to the nest on the right-hand side.</p><p>The eagle family is doing fine now that the earthquake has passed. Anyone can check on them by <a href="https://explore.org/livecams/bald-eagles/channel-islands-national-park-sauces-bald-eagle" target="_blank">streaming the live camera</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Disneyland Is Getting Mobile Ordering, So No More Waiting in Line

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 06:11
<p>Bring your phone chargers — and your appetite — because <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/complete-guide-to-disneyland-resort" target="_blank">Disneyland</a> will soon let you purchase snacks, drinks and meals from your smartphone.</p><p>The California theme park resort announced today that restaurants throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will begin allowing mobile ordering. When the digital enhancement arrives to the Disneyland app, guests will be able to browse menus, place an order and select a time to pick up their meal, all without having to wait in line. After “checking in” upon arrival by pressing a button indicating they’re at the restaurant, one’s order will appear moments later at a designated window.</p><p>Mobile ordering is already in use at Walt Disney World quick-service restaurants across the four parks and it’s only a matter of time before <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/best-disneyland-food" target="_blank">famed Disney foods</a> like Mickey-shaped beignets and turkey legs can be ordered on the go at Disneyland, saving you from wasting the afternoon waiting for Instagram-worthy yummies. Though plenty of quick-service restaurants are bound to offer the service, there’s also a good chance mobile ordering will be put to use for Dole Whip, one of the most in-demand foods and longest lines at Disneyland. Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom in Florida already offers mobile ordering, and with two sides to Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar kiosk, all signs point to the pineapple treat being that much easier to obtain.</p><p>With the ability to skip lines for attractions with <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/disney-fastpass-update" target="_blank">MaxPass</a> and soon skip food queues with mobile ordering, Disneyland Resort is making it even easier to spend time within the parks.</p><p>Even better for locals, Disneyland’s forthcoming dining enhancement will automatically apply Annual Pass discounts, letting frequent visitors benefit even more from the program.</p>
Categories: Travel

Disney World Hotel Guests Will Soon Be Able to Unlock Their Hotel Rooms With Their Phones

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 16:59
<p>The <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/walt-disney-world-orlando-guide" target="_blank">most magical place on Earth</a> will soon offer guests the ability to unlock their hotel room with their smartphone.</p><p>It’s possible due to a “digital key” addition coming to the complimentary <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/disney-world-travel-tips" target="_blank">My Disney Experience</a> app, which links park tickets, hotel room reservations, and itineraries to one’s digital account. MagicBands — which are currently used in lieu of room keys — will still open doors, but once the digital key feature is integrated throughout all <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/best-disney-world-hotels" target="_blank">Walt Disney World resort hotels</a>, visitors will have the option of using a phone as well.</p><p>The program will begin at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and expand to other Disney-operated Florida hotels afterwards. When in use, digital room keys will unlock fitness centers, pool areas, elevators and even club-level lounges (with proper access) during one’s stay.</p><p>A <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/booking-a-disney-vacation" target="_blank">Disney vacation</a> is all about magic, and the new addition only enhances how dedicated Walt Disney World is to making the most annoying parts of traveling more seamless. With <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/disney-vacation-minnievan-airport-transfer" target="_blank">Disney’s Magical Express Luggage Delivery</a>, guests staying on property can check their bags at the airport and have luggage arrive in their hotel room a few hours after landing. Online Check-In already lets visitors skip the front desk entirely and receive a text message when their room is ready, and with the addition of a digital key, the arrival process will be that much more convenient.</p><p>Walt Disney World has been introducing digital enhancements to make park visits easier, too. With mobile ordering, guests can select and pre-pay for Dole Whip, Pandora’s cheeseburger pods and other meals at quick-service restaurants throughout the four theme parks.</p><p>Magic Bands will continue to be the go-to device for park admission, room charges and FastPass+ ride reservations, but a second option for opening one’s hotel room at the end of a busy park day is a welcomed change.</p>
Categories: Travel

Unseasonable Snow in April Could Mess Up Your Travel Plans This Weekend

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 16:56
<p>The calendar may say April but winter weather isn’t over for much of the country.</p><p>Snow and record-setting low temperatures are predicted for those in the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast regions through the weekend.</p><p>One meteorologist called it a “ridiculous late season arctic outbreak.”</p><p>Already in the Midwest, <a href="https://weather.com/forecast/national/news/2018-04-01-waves-of-cold-air-midwest-east" target="_blank">several cities set record low temperatures</a> for April, including St. Cloud, Minnesota (0 degrees), Eau Claire, Wisconsin (9 degrees), and Madison, Wisconsin (14 degrees). Minneapolis is expected to set an April record on Friday with a high of only 21 degrees.</p><p>Less than a week after one unseasonable dusting, snow will once again make its way from the Great Lakes through New England Thursday night into Friday. <a href="https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/old-man-winter-may-dish-out-heavy-snowstorm-in-northeastern-us-this-weekend/70004594" target="_blank"><em>Accuweather</em> is predicting snowfall</a> from one to three inches in the Northeast.</p><p>The storm is predicted to impact metropolitan areas from Washington, D.C. to Boston. Snow is also expected in the northern Rockies, central Plains and Ohio Valley on Friday. The greatest interruption to travel plans is expected Friday until early Sunday morning.</p><p>Weekend airline delays and cancellations are likely in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.</p><p>As of Thursday morning, no major U.S. airline has yet issued any weather alerts for the weekend. However, <strong>travelers should continue monitoring flight status</strong>. Sign up for notifications through your airline to receive updates when or if they happen.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airlines Are Trying to Outdo Each Other With Outrageously Expensive Champagne in First Class

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 16:01
<p>Airplane cabins are battle zones.</p><p>There’s the saga of the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/faa-must-investigate-shrinking-airline-seats" target="_blank">“incredible shrinking airline seat,”</a> the ill-fated history of the free meal in economy, and, of course, the never-ending crusade for control of the armrests. But now comes the battle to end all battles: the Champagne Wars.</p><p>Travelers should be alert aboard flights as “Champagne Wars” break out in first class cabins around the world. <a href="https://www.ausbt.com.au/cathay-pacific-reaches-for-top-shelf-with-new-first-class-champagne?utm_source=hero" target="_blank">According to <em>Australian Business Traveller</em></a>, Asian airlines are trying to outdo each other with older, bubblier, and more expensive champagnes.</p><p>This month, Cathay Pacific switched up its first class champagne offerings to a bottle of Krug 2004. <a href="https://www.wine.com/product/krug-vintage-brut-2004/343398" target="_blank">The $300 bottle of bubbly</a> is noted for its “radiant freshness” and “very elegant finish.”</p><p>The Krug is one of a new rotation of fine champagnes in Cathay’s first class, which also includes the 2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, the 2007 William Deutz Cuvee and the 2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare. These champagnes will be served in the first class cabin on flights to Boston, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, London Heathrow, Chicago and Vancouver, with “additional routes to follow later in the year,” according to the airline.</p><p>The change in selection is relatively unremarkable — except that <a href="https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2017/10/31/singapore-airlines-will-serve-300-vintage-krug-first-suites-class/" target="_blank">Singapore Airlines also began offering the 2004 Krug</a> to its first class passengers a few months ago.</p><p>Emirates is also giving its first class passengers a bubbly upgrade. Instead of serving the usual Dom Perignon, elite passengers on routes to Europe, the U.S. and Asia can sip on Dom Perignon 2000 P2 edition (an <a href="https://www.wine.com/product/254921?state=NY&amp;s=GoogleBase_CSE_&amp;cid=GoogleBase_CSE_254921NY_11084&amp;s=Googlebase_CSE&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_term=PRODUCT+GROUP&amp;utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_NY_Alpha&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw75HWBRAwEiwAdzefxJMLp-f2sm9kP9yR1OpuIWV7ENVWKJgG1_xTo1Cb007MO9qYvK1BmRoC9wAQAvD_BwE&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds" target="_blank">almost $400 bottle</a>).</p><p>First class passengers should be aware of the “champagne wars” as airlines try to outdo each other with more expensive, luxurious offerings to lure customers.</p><p>Meanwhile, back in economy, <a href="https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_HK/travel-information/flying-with-us/inflight-dining/cathay-pacific.html" target="_blank">Cathay Pacific offers free tea and coffee</a>, the champagne of hot beverages.</p>
Categories: Travel

When Exactly to Buy Your Next International Flight, According to a Study of 350 Million Fares

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 14:01
<p>When it comes to airfare, it's all about the timing.</p><p>CheapAir.com released the results from its <a href="https://www.cheapair.com/blog/when-is-the-best-time-to-buy-an-international-flight/" target="_blank">international airfare study</a> on Thursday, and the results could have serious implications for the next time you book a trip out of the country.</p><p>By analyzing 350 million airfares to more than 3,000 international markets, <a href="http://cheapair.com/" target="_blank">CheapAir.com</a> identified the “Prime Booking Window” (the period of time when tickets can typically be purchased within five percent of the lowest possible price) for eight popular regions abroad.</p><p>“International flights cost two and a half times more than domestic flights on average,” explained CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee in a statement. “So getting the timing right can really pay off.”</p><p>For travelers considering a Caribbean getaway, for example, CheapAir.com suggests booking flights 207 days prior to departure. Generally, the most inexpensive tickets will be available in January, after the holidays.</p><p>Canadian-bound travelers should book 66 days before departure, and for the best prices (on average, about $427 round-trip) consider heading to the Great White North in October.</p><p>Consistent with the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/cheapair-airfare-study-best-time-to-book-flights-2018" target="_blank">domestic airfare study</a>, CheapAir.com pinpointed 70 days out as the best time to book flights to Mexico and Central America. For trips to South America, however, travelers should be prepared to book flights 110 days in advance.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/when-to-book-major-holiday-flights" target="_blank">When You Should Buy Your Flights for Every Major Holiday</a></p><p>In addition to avoiding travel during the peak summer months (June and July) trips to Europe should be booked 160 days prior to departure.</p><p>Travelers looking at taking far-flung trips to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the South Pacific should be prepared to plan far in advance.</p><p>The best deals are typically found 120 to 199 days ahead of departure. Flights to Africa and the Middle East should be monitored with extra care, as fares can easily fluctuate by more than $100 — the most of any market included in the review.</p><p>Of course, travelers should always <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/how-to-save-money-on-flights-with-airfare-alerts" target="_blank">set airfare alerts</a> for their specific routes. And for an even more guidance, CheapAir.com’s <a href="https://www.cheapair.com/when-to-buy-flights" target="_blank">“When to Buy Flights” tool</a> can provide insight on the lowest historical ticket prices and the more broad Prime Booking Window, in addition to the best day to book.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Northern Lights-looking Phenomenon Lit up the Sky Over Palm Springs

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 11:16
<p>Though the Palm Springs area is well-known for its stunning sunsets, a new photo of the evening sky posted on Instagram by photographer Nathaniel Wood has plenty of people scratching their heads and asking, "What is that?"</p><p>“Driving back to my parents house in palm desert tonight. We experienced something I still can’t understand,” Wood wrote in the caption of the Instagram photo depicting the odd lights shining in the sky above Palm Desert. “This super intense aurora that lasted for about 15 minutes. Completely visible to the naked eye. I didn’t have a real camera with me, so I had to use my iPhone. I barely edited these images. it was so crazy!!”</p><img alt="Rainbow Cloud over Palm Springs "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522869940/rainbow-cloud-palm-springs-AURORALIKE0418.jpg?itok=lsFbqnAI"><p>Wood told <em>Travel + Leisure </em>he snapped the photos around 12:50 a.m. "I just wish I had been more prepared; it came out of nowhere when we were out getting food," he said. </p><p>People were quick to jump into the comments with a few guesses, and of course some suggested the rainbow-bright clouds were some sort of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/offbeat/alien-hunting-cultus-camp" target="_blank">message from aliens</a>.</p><p>“The aliens are coming for us!!,” one commenter wrote. “The truth is out there,” another added.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/see-northern-and-southern-lights" target="_blank">The 6 Best Places to See the Northern and Southern Lights in Person</a></p><p>Some, however, were also placing blame on Elon Musk, who has previously lit up the desert night sky with a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/23/technology/future/spacex-launch-trail/index.html" target="_blank">SpaceX rocket launch</a>.</p><p>But, a few others gave a more well-researched guess that the ghostly aurora was actually a Noctilucent Cloud. T+L reached out to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, who said they too believed it to be a Noctilucent Cloud, though they couldn’t verify it without independently observing it in real-time.</p><p>“Glowing silver-blue clouds – called <i>noctilucent</i> or <i>night shining</i> clouds – sometimes light up summer night skies,” <a href="http://earthsky.org/earth/night-shining-clouds-noctilucent-clouds-how-they-form-how-to-see-them" target="_blank">EarthSky</a> explained. </p><p>However, this sighting in Palm Desert is rather rare as typically the clouds are only seen at “high latitudes — say, about 45 degrees N. or S. — from May through August in the Northern Hemisphere,” EarthSky continued. They are, however, usually spotted in the Southern Hemisphere from November through February.</p><p>Others in the Southern California region were quick to jump on the Noctilucent Cloud theory, sharing more images of the stunning event.</p><p>So there you have it; it was almost certainly Noctilucent Clouds, but hey, there’s still a slight chance it was Musk's doing. Or, you know, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/american-airlines-pilot-saw-ufo-in-arizona" target="_blank">aliens</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Beckhams Spent Their Spring Break on a Yacht With Marc Anthony

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 11:02
<p>For most, celebrating Easter probably included dying eggs and spending time at home with family. But for David and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/victoria-beckham-best-makup-remover" target="_blank">Victoria Beckham</a>, Easter Sunday looked a little different.</p><p>The pair, along with their children — sons Brooklyn, 19, Romeo, 15, Cruz, 13, and daughter Harper, 6 — spent their Easter weekend attending superstar tennis matches, enjoying the company of their famous friends, and boarding a luxury yacht for a cruise around Miami.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shopping/meghan-markle-favorite-lipstick-charlotte-tilbury" target="_blank">Meghan Markle’s Favorite Lipstick Was Inspired by Victoria Beckham</a></p><p>The family kicked things off on Sunday by attending the Miami Open men's tennis finals. There, Romeo had the opportunity to meet with the pros and even had the chance to hit a few balls back and forth former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.</p><img alt="The Beckham family on vacation in Florida "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522856089/victoria-cruz-romeo-beckham-in-miami-BECKHAMVACAY0418.jpg?itok=7cqd39xb"><p>"Amazing night watching @romeobeckham hit with @carowozniacki in Miami X kisses x VB," Victoria captioned a video of her son playing with the champion. Romeo posted his own photo of his match, writing in the caption, "Thank you so much @carowozniacki!!"</p><p>Next, the Beckham family boarded a yacht alongside singer Marc Anthony for a Monday evening cruise. Beckham proudly showed off his soccer-toned body, wearing just swim trunks and a backwards hat, while his wife looked glamorous as ever in a chic black dress and oversized sunglasses. According to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/5969672/david-beckham-topless-yacht-family-miami-party/" target="_blank">The Sun</a></em>, the entire party spent about four hours on the yacht, splashing in the warm Miami water below, before heading back to dry land to watch the sunset.</p><p>The Beckhams will likely be spending even more time in Florida, as David announced his plans to bring a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/david-beckham-in-miami" target="_blank">Major League Soccer team to Miami</a> in January.</p><p>“There were times we sat back and said, ‘This is not going to happen. It’s too difficult. There are too many bumps in the road.’ But I don’t give up,” Beckham said during an event where he confirmed his new team’s 2020 entry into MLS. “I think Miami needs a star. You have to realize the audience we have and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/miami-best-resorts" target="_blank">Miami</a> would expect us to bring in a star. That’s what we plan on doing.”</p><p>Even if Beckman doesn’t deliver on his promise to bring a winning team, he’s at the very least brought all that star power to the Florida city already.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airbus’s New Plane Could Make It Much Cheaper to Fly to Europe

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 10:30
<p>Airbus’s first A321LR aircraft completed its first transatlantic test flight from Paris Le Bourget to <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/jfk-airport" target="_blank">New York City's JFK</a> <a href="https://airlinegeeks.com/2018/02/13/airbus-a321lr-completes-first-transatlantic-flight/" target="_blank">earlier this year</a>. It is the longest flight that the highly anticipated aircraft has completed so far.</p><p>When the aircraft is put in commercial operation — expected at the end of this year — aviation analysts expect that it will dominate the “middle of the market.”</p><p>The A321LR is at the center of an unofficial battle in the aviation industry: that between jumbo jets and smaller, more fuel efficient aircraft. Designed with transatlantic aviation in mind, the A321 can fly for 4,000 nautical miles (or about eight hours) before it needs to refuel. It is the longest single aisle aircraft currently in production and already being heralded as “<a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/airbus-a321lr-airlines-orders-routes/" target="_blank">the plane that could transform long-haul travel</a>.”</p><p>Airbus has more than 1,900 orders already placed from more than 50 different airlines, <a href="https://airlinegeeks.com/2018/02/13/airbus-a321lr-completes-first-transatlantic-flight/" target="_blank">according to <em>Airline Geeks</em></a>. And <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/31/news/companies/airbus-a321lr-first-flight-boeing-797/index.html" target="_blank">according to a report from CNN</a>, airlines like JetBlue are apparently eyeing the aircraft as they consider expanding service into Europe.</p><p>While jumbo jets may make sense for transport hubs like <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/los-angeles" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>, Beijing or Dubai, the <a href="http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/news/en/2018/02/airbus--a321lr-goes-the-distance-to-open-new-horizons-for-airlin.html" target="_blank">A321 is hoping to open up new routes and marketplaces</a>. Airbus sees the A321 connecting smaller cities that don’t have the demand for a twin-aisle aircraft. The manufacturer also believes that greater fuel efficiency will lead to cheaper operation costs which, in turn, will create cheaper airfare for passengers.</p><p>The model has worked well for budget airlines like Norwegian Air and WOW Air. Within the past year, the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/norwegian-air-cheap-flights-us-uk" target="_blank">low-cost airlines have opened new transatlantic routes</a> from places like Connecticut and Rhode Island to Belfast, Bergen, Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Edinburgh from $89. Norwegian has already <a href="http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2016/07/norwegian-selects-30-a321lr-for-first-transatlantic-routes.html" target="_blank">confirmed 30 orders for the A321LR</a> and is considering using the aircraft on <a href="https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/norwegian-names-possible-transatlantic-a321lr-market-445441/" target="_blank">transatlantic routes to and from Washington, D.C.</a></p><p>Meanwhile, orders for jumbo jets are stagnating. Last year, both <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/delta-final-747-flight" target="_blank">Delta</a> and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/airlines-retiring-boeing-747" target="_blank">United</a> retired their last Boeing 747 aircraft. The iconic plane — which transformed aviation in the 1970s as the world’s first wide-body aircraft — is no longer flown by any U.S. carrier. <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/airlines-airports/boeing-could-retire-747-airplanes" target="_blank">Boeing announced it could even shut down production</a> of the “Queen of the Skies.”</p><p>And earlier this year, the world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, was hanging by a lifeline and in danger of becoming extinct. The plane will remain in production for another 10 years <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/emirates-buys-more-airbus-a380" target="_blank">thanks to a large order from Emirates</a>. But its future beyond that it uncertain. Its sheer size limits the airports at which it can land and fuel costs make it expensive to maintain.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Are the Hotel Credit Cards That Earn You a Free Night Every Year

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 10:16
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/points-miles/credit-cards-are-paying-off" target="_blank">Hotel credit cards</a> can be a valuable tool in any traveler’s wallet. Not only do they offer large sign-up bonuses <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/hotel-loyalty-programs" target="_blank">and elite status perks</a>, they also often come with stellar earning opportunities to help cardholders rack up points, and thus free stays, even faster.</p><p>However, several hotel credit cards go one step further and give cardmembers an automatic free night at partner hotels each year they renew their card. The value of this benefit can be worth hundreds of dollars depending on where you redeem your free night – more than enough to offset the annual fees many of these cards charge.</p><p>Here are seven hotel credit cards that guarantee you at least one free night each year just for carrying them or spending a certain amount of money on them.</p><h2><a href="https://creditcards.chase.com/travel-credit-cards/hyatt-hotels" target="_blank">Hyatt Visa from Chase</a></h2><p>Every year you renew this credit card, your World of Hyatt loyalty program account is credited with a free night award that is good for up to a year and can be redeemed for one night in a standard room at Category 1 – 4 properties (out of a total of seven categories).</p><p>Using this free night is like redeeming points for an award night, meaning there has to be award availability, not just paid room rates. Some standout hotels that fit the bill include the tropical-luxe <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/peninsula-papagayo" target="_blank">Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo</a>, the historic <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/siem-reap/hotels/park-hyatt-siem-reap" target="_blank">Park Hyatt Siem Reap</a> in Cambodia and the trendy <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/shanghai/hotels/andaz-xintiandi-shanghai" target="_blank">Andaz Xintiandi</a> in Shanghai. Room rates at each can soar well above $400, making this card’s $75 annual fee more than worth it.</p><img alt="Bedroom at the Siam Hotel in Bangkok "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522701569/siam-hotel-bangkok-FREESTAY0418.jpg?itok=Xuk1Ygyu"><p>The Hyatt Visa is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $2,000 or more during the first three months. That’s enough for two more nights in a Category 5 property, or myriad other redemption possibilities. It earns three World of Hyatt points on purchases made at Hyatt hotels; two bonus points at restaurants, at car rental agencies and on airfare purchased directly from airlines; and one point on everything else. It also confers automatic elite status at the Discoverist level, which includes perks like bonus points, room upgrades and free high-speed in-room internet.</p><h2><a href="https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/ihg/aepdefault" target="_blank">IHG Rewards Club Card from Chase</a></h2><p>IHG Rewards is the loyalty program of brands like Intercontinental, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, among others, and includes over 5,000 hotels around the world.</p><p>Travelers who have the brand’s associated IHG Rewards Club Card receive a free night certificate every year they renew their card and pay the annual fee of $49. In the past, these certificates were good at any IHG hotel, including expensive ones like the Intercontinental Sydney and the Kimpton Canary Hotel in <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/santa-barbara" target="_blank">Santa Barbara</a> where room rates regularly top $500 and award nights run 60,000-70,000 points. However, IHG recently revised the terms so that certificates issued in May 2018 or later will only be good at properties where award nights range up to 40,000 points each. That means over 300 of IHG’s nicest hotels are now out, but cardholders can still use them at the rest, including the Crowne Plaza Auckland and the Intercontinental Bangkok.</p><p>The card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months (enough for another free night at most IHG properties). Cardholders earn five points per dollar at IHG hotels; two points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and one point per dollar everywhere else. Cardholders also get automatic Platinum elite status in the IHG Rewards Club program, and a 10% rebate on award redemptions, which helps stretch those points even further.</p><h2><a href="https://creditcards.chase.com/marriott/cardmember/premier_benefits/earn_points" target="_blank">Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase</a></h2><p>Folks who carry this card get a free night at a Category 1–5 (out of nine total) Marriott hotel each year after paying their annual fee of $85. Category 5 properties usually require 25,000 points per night for an award, and there are over 700 of them around the world, including the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/bangkok" target="_blank">Bangkok</a> Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit and the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/moxy-hotels-opens-united-states-new-orleans-tempe" target="_blank">Moxy</a> Amsterdam Houthavens.</p><p>This card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 or more during the first three months. It earns five points per dollar at Marriott hotels, two points per dollar at restaurants and on airfare purchased directly from airlines and one point per dollar on everything else. Cardholders get 15 elite night credits annually, which is enough for Silver elite status.</p><img alt="Bedroom at the Siam Hotel in Bangkok "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522701569/siam-hotel-bangkok-FREESTAY0418.jpg?itok=Xuk1Ygyu"><h2><a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/hilton-honors-aspire/" target="_blank">Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express</a></h2><p>Hilton recently ended its longstanding relationship with Citibank when it made American Express the main issuer of its co-branded credit cards in the U.S. and introduced a series of new Hilton cards in the process.</p><p>This is one of those cards, and it offers some considerable benefits, not least of which is the fact that you get one free weekend night reward (good Friday–Sunday nights) upon sign-up along with a bonus of 100,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months.</p><p>Plus, every year you renew your card, you get another free weekend night at almost any Hilton property worldwide. Before you get too excited, the card does have a $450 annual fee. But you can more than make up for it by redeeming that free night at expensive properties like the Conrad <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/koh-samui" target="_blank">Koh Samui</a> or the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/rome/hotels/rome-cavalieri-waldorf-astoria-hotels-resorts" target="_blank">Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Resort</a>.</p><p>The card’s slate of other value-added perks, like an annual $250 airline fee credit, a $100 property credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels and resorts and up to $250 in statement credits each year for purchases made during stays at Hilton Resort properties, also help offset that annual fee.</p><p>The card earns 14 Hilton Honors points on Hilton purchases; seven points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on direct airfare and car rental purchases; and three points per dollar on everything else. The Aspire also comes with Priority Pass Select airport lounge access and automatic Hilton Honors Diamond top-tier status, with benefits like room upgrades, executive lounge access and free premium internet during stays.</p><p>Now for some cards that offer free nights for hitting certain spending targets each year.</p><h2><a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/hilton-honors-ascend/" target="_blank">Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express</a></h2><p>Don’t want to pay $450 for the Aspire card? This version might be a better fit, with an annual fee of just $95. While the annual free night is not automatic, it’s relatively easy to earn. Cardholders who spend $15,000 each year receive a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors like the one earned with the Aspire.</p><p>This card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points and earns 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; six at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and three on everything else. It also offers Priority Pass Select lounge membership and confers automatic Hilton Honors Gold elite status, with benefits like room upgrades and free breakfast during stays.</p><h2><a href="http://www.clubcarlsonvisa.com/credit/visaPremierCard.do" target="_blank">Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature</a></h2><p>Club Carlson is currently being rebranded as Radisson Rewards, so it remains to be seen if anything changes about the program’s co-branded credit cards. For now, though, this card offers a free night each year to cardholders who make at least $10,000 in purchases during their account (not calendar) year. Like a regular award night, the free night is valid for a standard room at any participating Club Carlson property.</p><p>You get a bonus of 40,000 points each year for renewing your card, which has an annual fee of $75. Cardholders also receive automatic Gold status. New cardholders can earn a sign-up bonus of up to 85,000 points when they spend $2,500 within 90 days of getting the card, and then continue earning 10 Gold points per dollar at Club Carlson hotels and five on everything else.</p><h2><a href="https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/citi.action?ID=citi-prestige-card" target="_blank">Citi Prestige</a></h2><p>It’s not exactly an annual free night benefit, but this card comes with a perk that can be <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/citi-prestige-card-free-hotel-nights" target="_blank">worth so much more</a>. The Citi Prestige offers cardholders a complimentary fourth night on any hotel stay of four nights or more. The way it works is, you must book your stay through ThankYou.com or through the Citi Prestige Concierge phone desk and pay for it with your Citi Prestige card or a direct redemption of Citi ThankYou points. After your stay, you will be refunded the average nightly rate for one night of your bill minus taxes. Depending on your travel habits, this benefit alone can be worth thousands of dollars each year. Which is good news, because the card comes with a $450 annual fee. Though for that, you also get benefits like a $250 annual air travel credit, a Global Entry application fee waiver worth $100 and Priority Pass airport lounge access.</p><p>While sign-up bonuses of up to 100,000 points might get you to apply for a hotel credit card, ongoing benefits like an annual free night can be worth hundreds of dollars each year, and reason enough to keep the card in your wallet.</p>
Categories: Travel

6 Places Besides D.C. Where You Can See Cherry Blossoms This Year

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 10:01
<p>The <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/cherry-blossom-forecast-2018" target="_blank">Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival</a> is an international event that draws more than 1.5 million visitors to the capital every year. The three-week festival includes balls, tours and outdoor activities for families.</p><p>The annual display of cherry blossoms in bloom is fantastic, however the throngs of people can quickly become tiresome.</p><p>If you love seeing the trees in bloom but are tired of fighting the crowds around the Basin, try a smaller festival this year. These unexpected cherry blossom festivals around the country show off the same flowers — with room to actually stop and smell the blooms.</p><h2>Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival</h2><p><em>Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</em></p><p>Developed by the Japan America Society of Greater <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/philadelphia" target="_blank">Philadelphia</a>, this weeklong cherry blossom festival also introduces visitors to Japanese culture with music, art and food in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. <a href="http://subarucherryblossom.org/" target="_blank">The festival</a> will run April 7–15 this year.</p><h2>Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival</h2><p><em>Nashville, Tennessee</em></p><p>Over the past 10 years, <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/nashville" target="_blank">Nashville</a> has been planting cherry blossom trees. This year, the city has finally reached its goal of 1,000 trees planted and will celebrate with a daylong festival in Public Square. Entertainment will include martial arts performances, musical acts and a pet parade from the Nashville Humane Society. <a href="http://www.nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org/" target="_blank">This year’s festival</a> will take place on Saturday, April 14.</p><h2>Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival</h2><p><em>Newark, New Jersey</em></p><p>For one week, Newark’s Branch Brook Park transforms into a cherry blossom sanctuary, festooned in pink. The weeklong event includes a bike race, 10K run, guided tours and culminates with <a href="https://www.essexcountyparks.org/parks/branch-brook-park/calendar/2018-essex-county-cherry-blossom-festival" target="_blank">Bloomfest</a>, a day-long celebration of the cherry blossom and Japanese culture, on Sunday, April 15.</p><h2>Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival</h2><p><em>San Francisco, California</em></p><p>The <a href="https://sfcherryblossom.org/" target="_blank">Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival</a> attracts more than 220,000 visitors every year. Since 1968, the festival has honored Japanese culture in <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/san-francisco" target="_blank">San Francisco</a>’s Japantown. This year, the festival will run from April 14–22.</p><h2>Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden</h2><p><em>Brooklyn, New York</em></p><p>The Brooklyn Botanic Garden houses 26 different kinds of flowering cherry blossoms. For one weekend every year, the garden honors the blossoms’ Japanese heritage with music performances, dances and tea ceremonies. This year, <a href="https://www.bbg.org/visit/event/sakura_matsuri_2018" target="_blank">the festival</a> takes place April 28–29.</p><h2>International Cherry Blossom Festival</h2><p><em>Macon, Georgia</em></p><p><a href="https://cherryblossom.com/">Macon’s 10-day long festival</a> has been honoring the city’s 350,000 Yoshino tree blooms since 1982 with concerts, rides and parades. The festival already took place this year, but mark your calendars for March 22–31, 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Is the Best Sleep Mask for Travel — And It’s on Sale for $8

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 08:07
<p>I’ve got to admit — there are few things I love more than the ritual of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/ultimate-travel-essentials/essentials" target="_blank">preparing my travel essentials</a> before boarding a red-eye flight. I am not a good sleeper, but I give it my all every time. I drink a glass of water, pop an Airborne tablet in, load up on <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/beauty/skin-moisturizing-oils-serums" target="_blank">facial oil</a> and lip balm, and then voila, I am ready for a restful, upright-seated sleep — as restful as those can be. A good eye mask is always paramount to this process.</p><p>But I have to be honest. As much as I love the diva look that accompanies the delicate, black silk sleep mask I’ve been using for the past few years, I can’t say that I love the feeling of something touching my eyelids. In fact, it can even feel a little distracting as I try to fall asleep.</p><p>That’s where the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WNX21Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlbestsleepmask-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B000WNX21Y&amp;linkId=bf3ced3cca68097b1c79dfe3f83d4e4a" target="_blank">Bucky 40 Blinks</a> mask comes in, and it's arguably the best eye mask for sleeping that I’ve encountered. While it may not look as adorable as some of those Audrey-Hepburn-circa-Breakfast-at-Tiffany’s-type sleep masks, it makes up for its peculiar appearance with ultralight comfort and practicality.</p><p>Made of a smooth polyester and foam blend that completely blocks out any and all light, the 3.5-inch by 9.5-inch mask is contoured to fit over your eyelids, like two little cups, so nothing touches them. When I flew home on a red-eye from Los Angeles this past week, I fit the Bucky mask over my head (it has an adjustable Velcro strap for easy fastening) and enjoyed the sleep mask–enhanced benefits of a restful, pressure-free snooze. The five-hour flight felt like five minutes.</p><img alt="bucky sleep mask "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1522940642/sleep-masks-SLEEPFACE0418.jpg?itok=7yS44bQQ"><p>The mask is also convenient for those who want to nap without smudging makeup or disturbing long or false lashes. Heck, you could even slip some fresh cucumber slices under the eye contours and have yourself a cheeky little in-flight spa treatment.</p><p>My only issue with the mask was the Velcro bit on the strap. If you have long hair, be sure to carefully fasten the Velcro because it can tug if the two get tangled.</p><p>The Bucky 40 Blinks sleep mask usually retails for $13, but it's available for $8 right now at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WNX21Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlbestsleepmask-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B000WNX21Y&amp;linkId=bf3ced3cca68097b1c79dfe3f83d4e4a" target="_blank">Amazon</a> where it has more than 900 five-star reviews.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Are the Names People Are Betting on for the Third Royal Baby

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 07:58
<p>Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is just weeks, or perhaps even days away from giving birth to her third child. Though we don’t know her exact due date, rumor has it that the Duchess is expected to give birth sometime around April 24. At that time, she’ll be at the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/st-marys-hospital-preparing-for-kate-middleton-third-baby" target="_blank">Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital</a> in London and present the new little prince or princess to the world.</p><p>But, one big question remains: What will Prince William and Kate name their newest bundle of joy?</p><p>According to bookies in the United Kingdom, people are heavily betting that the newest member of the royal family will be a girl, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/royal-baby-duchess-cambridge-prince-william-name-girl-boy-mary-a8287246.html" target="_blank"><em>The Independent</em> reported</a>. Moreover, people are really betting that her name will be Mary. That name, <em>The Independent</em> reports, is coming in with three to one odds.</p><p>“By far the most popular name, in volume and size of stakes, is Mary,” bookmakers at <a href="https://www.paddypowerbetfair.com/" target="_blank">Paddy Power Betfair</a> told <em>The Independent</em>. “We’ve received thousands of bets on that being the choice of name – so much so that we actually had to suspend the betting a few weeks ago. The name was originally 20/1, and has since come right into 3/1.”</p><p>Following Mary are two other equally royal baby girl names, Alice and Victoria, which come in at five-to-one and eight-to-one odds, respectively. Elizabeth, Prince William’s grandmother’s name, also makes the list with 11-to-one odds.</p><p>Because the betting so far has heavily favorited girls <a href="https://www.paddypowerbetfair.com/" target="_blank">Paddy Power Betfair</a> said they have officially stopped accepting bets on gender. “As you can see from the odds, with Mary and Alice the top rated two, it’s clear our punters are all-but confirming the baby’s gender,” the spokesperson added.</p><p>But, if the baby is a boy, betters are favoriting Edward, which “has been by far the most popular selection at 8/1,” the bookmakers said, “with Arthur fancied too.”</p><p>Other names making the list include Frederick, Albert, James, Philip, and Alexander.</p><p>One thing that is already known is the new <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/prince-william-kate-middleton-third-baby-title" target="_blank">baby’s official royal title</a>.</p><p>If it’s a boy named Edward his rather lengthy title will be His Royal Highness Prince Edward of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If it’s a girl named Mary like people expect, her title would be Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.</p>
Categories: Travel

Survey Ranks the Best Customer Experience for Airlines

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 04/06/2018 - 07:53
<p>Sometimes traveling isn’t just about the best and cheapest airfare. It’s also about the best experience.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://temkingroup.com/temkin-ratings/" target="_blank">2018 Temkin Experience Ratings</a>, an annual U.S. customer experience survey of 10,000 consumers, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/domestic-airlines-in-us" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines reigns supreme</a> when it comes to giving travelers the most pleasant customer experience.</p><p>Nine airlines were included in this year's ratings. At the top, Southwest scored 76%, putting it at the top of all airlines included in the survey, and 51st of all companies from all industries.</p><p>Other industries in the survey were auto dealers, fast food, health plans, hotels, banks, wireless carriers and others.</p><p>Above 80% is considered excellent and below 60% is considered poor, according to the Temkin rating system. The survey rates three components of customer experience: success, effort an emotion. Other factors include forgiveness, trust, customer service rating and online rating.</p><p>Southwest has rated at the top of all airlines in the Temkin survey every year since 2011, with the exception of 2015, when JetBlue rose to the top, <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines/new-research-puts-southwest-on-top-for-customer-experience.html" target="_blank">according to <em>TravelPulse</em></a>.</p><p>After Southwest, the airline that came in next was Alaska Airlines (74%), followed by JetBlue (70%) and Virgin America (70%, and now part of Alaska). In ninth place, Spirit Airlines scored 44%.</p><p>Delta, United, and American Airlines all ranked above 60% but below 70%. Alaska Airlines gained the most points (6 points) from last year.</p><p>“Southwest Airlines continues to set the pace for customer experience in the airline industry, but Alaska Airlines is closing the gap,” Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, told <em>TravelPulse</em>.</p>
Categories: Travel

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