Travel

The Most Common Paranormal Beliefs in the U.S., From Ghosts to Aliens

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 05:30
<p>For every skeptical Scully in this world, there is an equally susceptible Mulder who always wants to believe.</p><p>According to a recent <a href="https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2017/10/11/paranormal-america-2017/" target="_blank">study by Chapman University</a>, those believers are willing to accept a range of paranormal phenomena, from aliens and ghosts to ancient civilizations and Bigfoot.</p><p>The study, which looked into the fears of <a href="https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/category/fear-index/" target="_blank">1,207 random Americans</a> across the United States, found that the most common paranormal belief among participants was the belief that ancient, advanced civilizations like Atlantis once existed, with 55 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing.</p><img alt="paranormal activity belief halloween "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509467596/paranormal-beliefs-infographic-PARANORMAL1017.jpg?itok=2sSMvS8G"><p>The next most popular belief, following closely with 52 percent of participants agreeing, was that <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/halloween/hanted-castle-hotel" target="_blank">places can be haunted</a> by ghosts and spirits.</p><p>From there, the percentage of believers takes a sharp dive to just 35 percent of people believing that <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/offbeat/alien-hunting-cultus-camp" target="_blank">aliens have visited Earth</a> in the ancient past. Even fewer (26 percent) think that aliens have come to Earth in modern times.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The beliefs held by the lowest percentage of Americans were that some people can move objects with their minds (25 percent), fortune tellers and psychics can see the future (19 percent), and that Bigfoot is a real creature (16 percent.)</p><p>The study found that 25.3 percent of Americans have no paranormal beliefs at all, with 20.8 percent of people believing in just one of the phenomena and 5 percent of people trusting in all seven <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-haunted-places" target="_blank">paranormal phenomena</a> listed.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Can't Wear High Heels at Ancient Sites in Greece

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 16:40
<p>Everywhere you go, you should always bring the right shoes — and this rule especially applies when you’re in Greece.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-walking-shoes-for-travel" target="_blank">19 Comfy, Travel-friendly Shoes Made for Walkin'</a></p><p>Some of the country's most famous ancient monuments do not allow visitors to wear high heels. Authorities put the ban in place in 2009, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/travel/22-bizarre-things-you-didnt-know-were-banned-or-illegal-around-the-world-a7863111.html" target="_blank">according to the <em>Independent</em></a>, since sharp-soled shoes were adding to the wear and tear of national treasures.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments,” Eleni Korka, Director of Greek Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, told <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1185063/Women-banned-wearing-stilettos-Ancient-Greek-sites-new-plan.html" target="_blank">the <em>Daily Mail</em> in 2009</a>. “These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must realise that.”</p><p>Luckily, there are plenty of stylish options when it comes to comfortable shoes. If you need inspiration, you can <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/celebrity-comfy-travel-shoes" target="_blank">get it from celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna</a>, who know how to be comfy <em>and</em> chic (and considerate of ancient monuments).</p><p>The “no heels” rule is not the only one tourists will run into while sightseeing in Greece, either. If you’re planning on going to some ancient sites, don't bring in any food or drink (and that includes gum).</p>
Categories: Travel

Barcelona Tourism Dropped in October — Here’s Why

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 16:33
<p>As turmoil grows over the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/catalonia-spain-vote" target="_blank">recent independence vote</a> in the region of Catalonia, the city of Barcelona has seen a sharp decline in tourism.</p><p>Flight reservations to Barcelona have dropped by 22 percent since the beginning of October, according to travel data analytics company ForwardKeys. Hotel reservations have also dropped, according to travel research firm STR, with occupancy dropping the most in the second half of the month.</p><p>“Domestic political unrest almost always deters visitors and that is what we are seeing now,” ForwardKeys CEO Olivier Jager <a href="https://forwardkeys.com/publication-single/catalonia-after-independence.html" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “This will also have a knock-on to other parts of Spain because many visitors arriving in Catalonia will travel around the country.”</p><p>“If the political crisis worsens, I fear we will see a further decline in bookings,” he added.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Catalonia held the referendum on declaring independence from Spain on October 1. The vote was marked by violent clashes with police and reports of voter suppression. Confusion ensued in the government following a shaky declaration of independence a week later, followed by an official declaration last Friday.</p><p>Following the Catalan government's move to officially <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/catalonia-spain-vote" target="_blank">declare independence on Friday</a>, the Spanish government used Article 155 of the Constitution to seize direct control of the region and oust its local leaders.</p><p>With protests from secessionists likely to continue, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/catalonia-independence-declaration-explained" target="_blank">many tourists have shied away from Barcelona</a>.</p><p>Tourism is one of the most important industries in Spain, accounting for approximately 11 percent of the nation’s GDP, <a href="http://www.travelweekly.com/Europe-Travel/Political-crisis-harms-Spain-tourism-economy" target="_blank">the Associated Press reported</a>.</p><p>Despite protests, travel industry experts said earlier this month that the region remained safe and welcoming to tourists.</p><p>“Most Catalonians are supportive of their tourist industry and so at this time I would advise that you should continue with your travel plans but maintain a continued assessment of the situation,” Frank Brehany, a travel consumer rights commentator, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/catalonia-protests-barcelona-safe-tourists-travel-advice-violence-latest-a7980786.html" target="_blank">told the <em>Independent</em>.</a></p>
Categories: Travel

President Obama Gets Summoned for Jury Duty, Just Like the Rest of Us

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 15:54
<p>Former President Barack Obama has already had quite the post-White House life.</p><p>From <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/obama-family-indonesia-vacation" target="_blank">traveling the globe</a> to signing <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/books/pete-souza-obama-photo-book" target="_blank">multi-million dollar book deals</a> to dropping off his <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/malia-obama-starts-freshman-year-harvard" target="_blank">daughter at college</a>, Obama has really packed it all in during these last few months. And now, he’ll add one more exciting item to his post-presidential experience: serving jury duty.</p><p>According to the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-obama-gets-jury-duty-20171027-story.html" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>, Obama has been called for Cook County jury duty — and will be showing up next month to serve.</p><p>Chief Judge Tim Evans told county commissioners that Obama, who owns homes in Washington, D.C. and Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, confirmed he will do his civic duty and show up for his assigned date.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“Obviously we will make certain that he has all the accouterments that accompany a former president,” Evans told the <em>Tribune</em>. “He made it crystal-clear to me through his representative that he would carry out his public duty as a citizen and resident of this community.”</p><p>This marks at least the second time Obama has been called for jury duty in Illinois. According to the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/10/27/citizen-obama-welcome-to-jury-duty/?utm_term=.ba7773165420" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>, Obama was summoned for duty in 2010. However, he had to decline as he was busy that week giving his State of the Union address.</p><p>And Obama isn’t the only famous face to ever make an appearance as a juror in Cook County: As the <em>Tribune</em> reported, both Oprah and Mr. T have also served as jurors in the courthouse.</p><p>While Obama’s presence will certainly be noteworthy he will not be the first former president to ever show up for civic duty. President George W. Bush also spent time in a jury selection pool in 2015. Although he wasn’t ultimately selected, he did stick around for several hours to take photos with other potential jurors.</p><p>Former President Bill Clinton was cut from a potential jury pool in 2003, according to the <em>Post</em>, and former Vice President Joe Biden was dismissed from duty in 2011.</p>
Categories: Travel

Women Lost at Sea for 5 Months Want to Rebuild Their Boat and Set Sail Again

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 15:33
<p>Being lost at sea has not deterred two sailors from planning to complete their travel plans.</p><p>Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava — alongside their two dogs — set foot on ground at a U.S. naval base in southern Japan on Monday after spending five months lost in the Pacific Ocean.</p><p>The pair had been at sea since they left Hawaii on May 3 on Appel’s sailboat, the <em>Sea Nymph</em>. They were bound for Tahiti, but never made it to their destination.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/offbeat/world-oldest-luxury-cruise-ship-rome-caligula" target="_blank">The World's Oldest Luxury Cruise Ship Could Be Hiding in This Lake</a></p><p>On May 30, the ship ran into bad weather. The storm flooded the engine and destroyed their mast and sails. Their satellite phone had gone overboard.</p><p>The pair attempted to turn back, believing they could finish the course by sail, according to <a href="http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=103056" target="_blank">a statement from the U.S. Navy</a>. But they veered off course and drifted aimlessly for 98 days, making unanswered distressed calls.</p><img alt="U.S. Navy Rescues Women Lost at Sea "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509372929/us-navy-rescue-women-lost-LOSTSEA1017.jpg?itok=YhVw9LGh"><p>Finally, last week, they crossed paths with a Taiwanese fishing vessel about 900 miles off the coast of Japan. The fishermen tried to tow the Sea Nymph to safety but were unsuccessful.</p><p>However, Appel and Fuiava were able to make a mayday call to the US Coast Guard. On October 25, the USS Ashland appeared on the horizon and rescued the two sailors and their dogs, Valentine and Zeus.</p><p>The pair survived because they had packed a year’s supply of dry foods, including oatmeal, pasta and rice. They also had a water purifier onboard.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/adventure-travel/heli-hiking-adventure" target="_blank">Heli-hiking Lets You Trek Above the Clouds</a></p><p>However, the experience hasn’t made the women swear off sailing. They’re hoping to recover and repair their sailboat. If not, they will build a new “unsinkable and unbreakable” boat and re-attempt the voyage to Tahiti.</p><p>“We still never got to see the 20,000 islands, so I think that would be the most fantastic trip for May of next spring,” Appel <a href="http://time.com/5001966/jennifer-appel-tasha-fuiava-navy-japan/">told Associated Press</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Don’t Cancel Your Wine Country Travel Plans

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 15:20
<p>As many people know, on the night of October 10, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/sonoma-valley-fire-update" target="_blank">wildfires broke out</a> in northern California’s wine country, wreaking havoc in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties.</p><p>What many people may not know, however, is that the fires are effectively extinguished, and now is actually a great time to visit the region. Though the fires burned across some 210,000 acres, the entire Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino region covers more than 4.2 million acres. Of approximately 1,200 wineries in the region, estimates suggest that fewer than 10 have been destroyed or heavily damaged.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/bus-train/napa-valley-wine-train" target="_blank">The Napa Valley Wine Train Might Be the Best Day Trip Ever</a></p><p>“The irony is that this is one of the most amazing autumns we’ve ever had,” said Catherine Bartolomei, the proprietor Sonoma County’s Farmhouse Inn. “The vines are red and yellow and gorgeous with fall colors, the skies are crystal clear, the sunsets are gorgeous.”</p><p>So get your wine-tasting shoes on, and get ready to go. Here’s the information you need.</p><h2>What to Expect</h2><p>The worst damage from the fires was in residential areas of Santa Rosa and in high hillside areas, not places typically frequented by visitors.</p><p>“I don’t want to diminish what people are going through there, which is awful,” Bartolomei said. “But overall, Sonoma County, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/napa-valley/things-to-do" target="_blank">Napa Valley</a> — people have heard it’s all burned to the ground, but 91 percent of the area is completely unaffected.”</p><img alt="Wine Country Vineyards, Lodging and Restaurants "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509128220/map-WINECOUNTRY1017.jpg?itok=QpAgRuLV"><h2>Transportation</h2><p>All roads are now open. That said, fires or not, having a designated driver is always a good idea when visiting several wineries in a day.</p><h2>Wineries and Tasting</h2><p>With the exception of the very few severely damaged places, wineries across the region are open and welcoming visitors. In fact, they’ll be thrilled to see you. Too many to count are donating portions of their proceeds to fire recovery funds, and here are a few top picks.</p><p>Along Napa Valley's Silverado Trail, <a href="http://www.robertsinskey.com/visit" target="_blank">Robert Sinskey Vineyards</a> is pouring their superb Pinot Noirs; as they note, “The hills behind the winery are a little singed, but if you don’t look up, you’d never know.” Or drop by <a href="https://www.grgich.com/" target="_blank">Grgich Hills Estate</a>, where 100 percent of the tasting bar fees during November are being donated to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. Similarly, <a href="http://www.charleskrug.com" target="_blank">Charles Krug Winery</a>, just up the road in St. Helena, is donating 20 percent of all its proceeds during the month of October to the same fund.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>In Sonoma County, between now and December, Pinot Noir-specialist <a href="http://benoviawinery.com/" target="_blank">Benovia Winery</a> near Healdsburg is waiving tasting fees for guests and instead donating $50 for each appointment made at the winery to relief efforts. If you fancy bubbles, head to <a href="http://ironhorsevineyards.com" target="_blank">Iron Horse Vineyards</a> and pick up a bottle of their new Gratitude sparkling rosé — $5 from each bottle goes to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.</p><p>Or, if big reds are your thing, make an appointment at <a href="http://limericklanewines.com" target="_blank">Limerick Lane</a> to taste their remarkable old vine Zinfandels, and then buy a bottle of their spicy 2014 Syrah/Grenache, 100 percent of the sales of which are going to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund.</p><h2>Hotels and Lodging</h2><p>Throughout the area, hotels are open for business, and hungry for it thanks to cancelations.</p><p>In <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/napa-valley/hotels" target="_blank">Napa Valley</a>, the completely renovated and remodeled <a href="http://www.vintagehouse.com/" target="_blank">Vintage House</a> opened its doors in Yountville only a day or two before the fires. Bad timing, but the property is gorgeous — the 80 bungalow-style accommodations tucked away behind Yountville’s main street feature elegant gray and lavender décor and quiet balconies good for sipping an end-of-day glass of wine, and are steps from top restaurants and wine shops.</p><p>In Sonoma County, <a href="http://www.farmhouseinn.com/" target="_blank">the Farmhouse Inn</a> near Forestville is a serene escape from the world at any time of the year, tucked away off River Road west of Highway 101 (the fires never came near here) five to 10 minutes away from many of Sonoma’s top wineries. The 25 airy rooms offer indoor/outdoor fireplaces and large, jetted bathtubs, and the Michelin-star restaurant is a do-not-miss.</p><h2>Restaurants</h2><p>Napa and Sonoma’s many great restaurants are all up and running—many of them fed first responders gratis during the fires, but now they are hoping regular business rises back to normal levels.</p><p>In the town of Napa itself, head to the recently opened <a href="http://complinewine.com" target="_blank">Compline wine bar</a> for its eclectic, well-priced wine list and tasty bar snacks (like lighter-than-air gougères and crunchy toast spread with duck liver pâté).</p><p>Up-valley, chef Michael Chiarello’s <a href="http://botteganapavalley.com" target="_blank">Bottega</a> restaurant in Yountville is still offering free dinners for first responders who helped fight the fires; for the rest of us, springing for Chiarello’s killer Tagliarini Bolognese or Pollo alla Diavaola is a delicious way to help them in this endeavor. Or keep going up to St. Helena and hit Acacia House, star San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino’s new restaurant in the luxe <a href="http://lasalcobasnapavalley.com" target="_blank">Las Alcobas hotel</a>; the Iberico pork schnitzel is a rightfully raved-about indulgence</p><img alt="Robert Sinskey Vineyard "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509121467/robert-sinskey-vineyard-WINECOUNTRY1017.jpg?itok=uVWu9Knq"><p>For Sonoma County visitors, the restaurant scene (and the county itself) is wide and varied. In Healdsburg there’s <a href="http://www.valettehealdsburg.com/" target="_blank">Valette</a>, talented chef Dustin Valette’s eponymous restaurant, which has become a recent star for dishes like his cocoa-nib-crusted Liberty duck breast (ideal with a local Pinot). Or, for a more causal snack, check out the terrific house-made charcuterie at the recently opened <a href="http://journeymanmeat.com" target="_blank">Journeyman Meat Co.</a></p><p>The western Sonoma area as you head toward the coast is one of the most gorgeous parts of wine country. After visiting a few tasting rooms, stop at <a href="http://handline.com" target="_blank">Handline</a> in Sebastopol for some of the area’s best-ever fish tacos. Located in a repurposed Foster’s Freeze, it’s a great place to sit outdoors and enjoy the spectacular fall weather.</p><h2>How Else to Help</h2><p>Bringing business to the region right now will only help the local economy, so one of the best things anyone can do is visit wine country and support local businesses. Visitors help offset the continuing economic damage that canceled trips and vacations are doing to livelihoods here.</p><p>That said, some of the hardest hit areas in the fires weren’t in tourist zones; more than 6,000 homes and businesses were lost, particularly in Santa Rosa. Many of the people who lived in those neighborhoods need all the help they can get right now. Two of the best charities to consider are the <a href="http://www.sonomacf.org/sonoma-county-resilience-fund/" target="_blank">Sonoma County Resilience Fund</a>, which is providing mid- to long-term help for those affected and the <a href="http://www.napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/" target="_blank">Napa Valley Community Foundation</a>. Also consider donating to the <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/vweheartofthevine/" target="_blank">Heart of the Vine Go Fund Me</a> campaign started by Vintage Wine Estates, which is specifically helping the needs of winery employees and families (as well as first responders) who lost their homes in the fires.</p>
Categories: Travel

Saudi Arabia Gave Richard Branson $1 Billion to Go to Space

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:38
<p>Saudi Arabia may be poised to become a world leader in commercial space travel. </p><p>Last week, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/26/kingdom-of-saudi-arabia-to-invest-1-billion-in-richard-bransons-space-companies/?utm_term=.2358a5981c10" target="_blank">announced that it would invest $1 billion in Richard Branson’s space companies</a>, including Virgin Galactic.</p><p>The Saudi crown prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said in a statement that the investment was to “enhance the role of innovative technology within the Kingdom’s blueprint for a modern, diversified economy.”</p><p>In return, Branson <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/business/saudi-arabia-is-open-for-business-but-not-everybodys-buying.html?_r=0" target="_blank">will contemplate building “one or two” hotels</a> in Saudi Arabia’s upcoming urban projects. <a href="https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/saudi-arabia-investment-our-space-companies" target="_blank">A statement from Virgin</a> also mentioned “the possibility to develop a space-centric entertainment industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Earlier this year, Branson said he hoped commercial space flights aboard Virgin Galactic <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/virgin-galactic-richard-branson" target="_blank">would begin by the end of 2017</a>. The investment will “accelerate our programme for trans-continental point-to-point space travel,” according to the company.</p><p>The announcement of the Saudi investment came during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh last week. The conference is meant to encourage foreign economic leaders to invest in Saudi Arabia.</p><p>During the conference, the crown prince also revealed plans for <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/saudi-arabia-mega-city" target="_blank">a futuristic megacity</a> in the northwest of Saudi Arabia that will run entirely on alternative, sustainable energy. The prince showed his plan for a modern city in a promotional video featuring men and women without hijabs working alongside each other in a co-ed office.</p><p>However considering Saudi Arabia only gave women the right to drive last month, some investors question how futuristic the proposed megacity could be. Women were also just given <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/10/30/saudi-arabia-will-allow-women-to-attend-sporting-events-in-stadiums/?utm_term=.09a9fbf15777" target="_blank">the right to attend sporting events in stadiums</a> over the weekend. They must still ask men for permission to travel and to marry.</p><p>Branson said in a statement that he “enjoyed a fascinating visit to Saudi Arabia, a country where great change is taking place step by step.”</p><p>The crown prince said that the government aims to increase female participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030. Current participation percentages are the eighth lowest in the world, <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS?year_high_desc=false" target="_blank">according to data from the World Bank</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Get a First Look at This Year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:08
<p>Before the clock has even struck midnight on Halloween, Rockefeller Center is already ushering in the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/christmas-travel/romantic-christmas-getaways-for-couples" target="_blank">Christmas season</a>.</p><p>The 2017 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been selected, and will grace the streets of <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/new-york-city" target="_blank">New York City</a> with its dazzling array of lights in just a few short weeks. The massive Norway Spruce hails from State College, Pennsylvania, about 239 miles away from its final destination in the Big Apple. It will be cut down on Thursday, November 9.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>According to Rockefeller Center, the tree will arrive in the city on November 11, where it will be decorated with 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star.</p><p>The tree will, as always, be lit during the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/when-to-see-rockefeller-christmas-tree-lighting" target="_blank">live broadcast</a> of “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” which this year is on Wednesday, November 29. The tree will then remain on display for holiday travelers and locals to enjoy until Jan. 7, 2018.</p><img alt="rockefeller center christmas tree new york city "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509394845/pennsylvania-state-college-christmas-tree-ROCKTREE1017.jpg?itok=yHqk6o0N"><p>Rockefeller Center revealed their selection to the public through a series of rhyming tweets, invoking the spirit of some of your favorite <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/best-christmas-movies-netflix-2017" target="_blank">Christmas stories</a> as they encouraged fans to guess the location of the highly anticipated tree.</p><p>Last year’s tree, <a href="http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Rockefeller-Center-Christmas-Tree-2017-454115833.html" target="_blank">at 94 feet tall</a>, was the second largest ever chosen for the holiday celebration. While we don’t yet know the exact size of this year’s selection, here’s hoping its towering size gives last year’s tree a run for its money.</p>
Categories: Travel

Taste Rums From Around the World at This Gorgeous New Resort In Belize

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:01
<p>Itz’ana Resort & Residences in Placencia, Belize, <a href="http://www.itzanabelize.com/" target="_blank">is now accepting reservations</a> for stays beginning December 15 — and is promising guests much more than a luxurious stay.</p><p>In addition to offering deluxe hospitality and high design, the resort is also committed to giving guests authentic experiences “that sustain the region’s indigenous culture and natural environment.”</p><img alt="Placencia, Belize Resort "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509123135/placencia-hotel-belize-terrace-BELIZEHOTEL1017.jpg?itok=4MM1Vq-h"><p>“We’re committed to going above and beyond what’s expected of a beachfront resort,” Colin Hannan, co-founder and managing director at Itz’ana Resort & Residences, said in a statement to <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. “We believe that giving back to the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/weather/caribbean-open-for-business-after-hurricanes" target="_blank">local community</a> and environment while also offering an enhanced luxury experience will make Itz’ana unlike any other hotel.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/world-shortest-flight-orkney-islands" target="_blank">This Is the Shortest Flight in the World</a></p><p>At the heart of the resort is the Great House, an Ernest Hemmingway-inspired property where guests can dine and celebrate special events. The Great House is home to the resort restaurant, Limilia; a cocktail bar, Biblio Bar; and a specially designed Rum Room, which boasts one of the largest selections of rum in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/all-inclusive-resorts/all-inclusive-resorts-belize" target="_blank">Belize</a>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><img alt="Placencia, Belize Resort "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509123135/placencia-hotel-belize-lounge-BELIZEHOTEL1017.jpg?itok=7sk36gzq"><p>There are 16 deluxe suites and two beachfront suites, and an additional 32 resort suites — including two penthouses — will be completed in 2018, along with 46 waterfront residences.</p><p>Each guest room includes a king-size bed, natural cotton linens, a custom mural, and a view of the water.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-caribbean-bermuda-bahamas-resorts" target="_blank">The Top 25 Resort Hotels in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas</a></p><p>The tropical resort was designed by architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro, combined with interiors by New York City-based interior designer Samuel Amoia. The rooms feature custom furnishings produced by local artisans and rare vintage pieces sourced from markets throughout Central America.</p><img alt="Placencia, Belize Resort "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509123135/placencia-hotel-belize-bed-BELIZEHOTEL1017.jpg?itok=xko05mZ3"><p>Room rates start at <a href="http://www.itzanabelize.com/" target="_blank">$325 a night</a> for a deluxe suite.</p>
Categories: Travel

Forecasts Predict Winter Will Arrive Late and Leave Early This Year

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 08:30
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/winter-vacations" target="_blank">Winter</a> has been arriving later, bringing milder conditions, and staying for shorter periods of time over the past several years, and this year is set to continue the trend.</p><p>The first freeze of the year has been steadily moving later, with the first thaw arriving earlier as well, making winters shorter and milder, according to data from <a href="http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/us-winter-outlook-noaa-forecasters-predict-cooler-wetter-north-and-warmer-drier-south" target="_blank">NOAA's Climate Prediction Center</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/20-holiday-getaways" target="_blank">A warmer winter</a> can be more favorable to growing conditions, but it can also damage plants that need lower temperatures while raising water levels and potentially causing flooding, <a href="https://apnews.com/664a16182cbc4e3e9a26957f3cddc927" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a>.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Last year’s first freeze arrived two weeks later than the 20th century average, making it “way off the charts,” Ken Kunkel, a meteorologist at NOAA told AP.</p><p>Two thirds of the U.S. is predicted to see warmer-than-average temperatures this winter, including the entire east coast, Hawaii, and even Alaska.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/syndication/hurricane-season-harvey-irma-jose-maria" target="_blank">How This Year's Hurricane Season Compares to Past Years</a></p><p>The warmer temperatures are due in part to the effects of climate change, including an increased level of carbon dioxide, according to Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center. Forecasters also pointed to the potential effects of weather system La Niña in changing precipitation levels and temperatures.</p><p>“It does, undoubtedly, play a role,” he said in a call with reporters. “The increase in CO2 factors into our model forecast.”</p><p>Last year ranked as the sixth warmest winter on record, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/10/19/climate-change-at-work-weather-service-calls-for-third-straight-mild-winter/?utm_term=.a1fb23eb3e2e" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em> reported</a>. This winter is expected to be slightly cooler than last year’s.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Spa in Iceland Would Disappear Into the Surrounding Volcanoes

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 07:38
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/how-to-travel-to-iceland" target="_blank">Iceland</a> is famous for its unique landscapes.</p><p>Soon, visitors to the country could be able to book luxury accommodations without feeling like they’ve left the outdoors. The design firm Johannes Torpe has proposed an Icelandic spa and resort that disappears into its surroundings.</p><img alt="Red Mountain Resort Iceland Renderings "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509120215/Red-Mountain-Spa-Sauna-ICELANDRES1017.jpg?itok=C9SahxeW"><p>Upon entry, visitors wouldn’t see the Red Mountain Resort until the last possible second. It’s hidden by mountains and volcanoes until it “magically” emerges from the land, <a href="http://johannestorpe.com/projects/the-red-mountain-resort" target="_blank">according to Johannes Torpe</a>, the design studio behind the building.</p><img alt="Red Mountain Resort Iceland Renderings "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509120215/Red-Mountain-Walkway-ICELANDRES1017.jpg?itok=D2gGiKN7"><p>“We wanted to create the illusion that one is entering another world when they arrive at the resort,” <a href="https://www.dwell.com/article/a-proposed-icelandic-resort-celebrates-wellness-and-its-magical-surroundings-dff7b38e" target="_blank">Torpe said</a>. “It is a world that awakens and stimulates your senses in ways everyday life doesn’t have the capacity to do.”</p><img alt="Red Mountain Resort Iceland Renderings "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509120215/Red-Mountain-Suite-ICELANDRES1017.jpg?itok=0lqwtKgq"><p>The resort faces Snæfellsjokull, a glacier-covered stratovolcano where, according to Icelandic legend, a man named Barður Snæfellsás moved when he wanted to leave behind civilization and live in solitude.</p><img alt="Red Mountain Resort Iceland Renderings "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509120215/Red-Mountain-Lagoon-Birdeye-ICELANDRES1017.jpg?itok=g1rmB8qf"><p>The resort will include a 150-room hotel, artist residences, 20 bungalows and a restaurant. But the resort’s main draw will be <a href="http://johannestorpe.com/assets/spa_and_wellness.pdf" target="_blank">an expansive spa</a>, designed to bring guests through a “transformational journey” akin to that of Snæfellsás.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-places-to-see-the-northern-lights" target="_blank">The Best Places to See the Northern Lights</a></p><p>The spa experience starts in a steam room where, through the fog, guests may feel lost. They are then guided through states like contemplation, clarity and enlightenment. The “journey” features showers of rain, hot and cold baths and a floating salt bath.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The relationship with nature and Icelandic lore will continue throughout the resort. A natural lagoon flows into the reception area; rooms look out at the landscape through floor-to-ceiling glass windows; red-pigmented concrete will blend into the surrounding area, making the hotel appear to fade into the land.</p><p>The developer is currently making ground tests in the resort’s proposed location, <a href="https://www.dwell.com/article/a-proposed-icelandic-resort-celebrates-wellness-and-its-magical-surroundings-dff7b38e" target="_blank">according to <em>Dwell</em></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines Passengers Delayed for 24 Hours Tried to Get Hamilton Tickets for Compensation

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 07:19
<p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-places/best-cities-for-pizza" target="_blank">Pizza</a> makes everybody happy, right?</p><p>In order to pacify almost 300 passengers during their two unscheduled diversions, American Airlines fed everybody a slice of pizza.</p><p>After flight crew aboard an American Airlines flight from Milan to Miami on Saturday noticed a crack in the windshield, <a href="http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2017/10/29/american-airlines-777-cracks-windshield-diverts-twice-gets-everyone-pizza/" target="_blank">they made an emergency diversion to Stephenville Airport</a> in Newfoundland, Canada.</p><p>While the aircraft was taken out of service for repairs, the airline had a two-part plan. One: fly an alternate plane up to Newfoundland to collect the 287 passengers. And two: feed them pizza.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/flight-volunteering-compensation" target="_blank">How One Woman Made $11,000 Off of Delta Flight Delays</a></p><img alt=" "src=""><p>After eating pizza at Stephenville Airport, passengers boarded an alternate plane 10 hours later. However, instead of flying down to Miami, the plane went to New York’s JFK airport. A spokesperson for the airline told <i>Travel + Leisure </i>that due to crew time and customs availability, they were unable to fly the passengers directly from Canada to Miami.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/phil-duncan-pizza-instagram" target="_blank">The Best Places for Pizza, According to Someone Who Travels to Eat It</a></p><p><a href="http://avherald.com/h?article=4b04ae7e&amp;opt=0" target="_blank">One commenter on AVHerald.com</a> who claimed to be a passenger onboard the flight said that although the “flight crew was awesome and professional,” they were frustrated to have a second unscheduled stop. He “suggested AA could make it up to passengers with Hamilton tickets. Unfortunately they decided a slice of pizza was a better customer service gift.”</p><p>But all the Broadway shows were long over by the time passengers <a href="http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL9244/history/20171028/2255Z/CYJT/KJFK" target="_blank">reached New York at 11:50 p.m. on Saturday night</a>. Passengers spent less than 12 hours there and took off from <a href="http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL9245" target="_blank">JFK Airport at 10:30 a.m.</a> on Sunday. They arrived in Miami around 1:45 p.m., about <a href="http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL207/history/20171028/0910Z/LIMC/CYJT" target="_blank">24 hours after their original landing time</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

OKC Thunder Players Surprised to Find Huge Dent in Plane After Landing

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 05:45
<p>NBA players from the Oklahoma City Thunder got a surprise when they got off their flight in Chicago this weekend: The front of their aircraft was badly dented after likely colliding with a bird during the flight.</p><p>Although the giant dent in the nose cone looks scary, none of the passengers or crew were injured. The status of the bird, however, is probably not good.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>After the collision, many of the players wondered what could have possibly hit the plane to cause such damage. One player, Steven Adams, even jokingly tweeted to NASA, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye for some guesses.</p><p>Another player, Carmelo Anthony, wrote on Instagram, “What possibly could we have hit in the SKY at this time of night?”</p><p>The plane landed safely, and Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolf confirmed in an email to the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-oklahoma-city-thunder-s-plane-dented-during-flight-to-chicago-20171028-story.html" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a> that the accident was likely caused by a bird.</p><p>Bird strikes are not uncommon, and this is definitely not the first time a feathered friend has made an impact. Last year, an American Airlines flight was forced to turn around after <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/airlines-airports/plane-receives-dent-after-striking-bird" target="_blank">hitting a large bird mid-flight</a>. That incident left similar damage to the aircraft.</p><p>Thunder Coach Billy Donovan said that the collision caused “some turbulence” and caused the plane to drop, according to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Queen's Secret Airport Security Info Was Found in a USB Stick Lying on the Street

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 05:29
<p>Heathrow Airport officials have launched an internal investigation after a memory stick containing sensitive security information was found simply lying on the street.</p><p>The information on the card, which was found by a member of the public, reportedly contained maps, restricted documents, and even information about the detailed security measures used to protect the Queen when she travels through the airport.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/prince-harry-meghan-markle-airport-arrangements" target="_blank">How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Sneak Out of Heathrow Airport</a></p><img alt=" "src=""><p>After finding the USB stick, the citizen first gave the information to the <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terror-threat-heathrow-airport-security-11428132" target="_blank"><i>Sunday Mirror</i></a>, which in turn alerted authorities. According to the <em>Sunday Mirror</em>, the stick contained a total of 76 folders with maps, videos, and ­documents about the airport. It was not encrypted and did not require a password to access. It also reportedly included detailed maps and information about the Royal Suite, which is used by the Queen as well as cabinet ministers when they travel through the airport.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/queen-elizabeth-purse" target="_blank">How Queen Elizabeth Uses Her Purse As a Secret Code</a></p><p>“In the wrong hands this would represent a profound threat in terms of terrorism or espionage,” a security source told the paper. "Aviation security is under the microscope because of the desire by terrorists to bring planes down in a spectacular fashion. Security services would not want this leaked or sold to hostile parties.”</p><p>And while the stick has been recovered and delivered to authorities, it may be too late for the information to be contained.</p><p>“The fear is that this information could have been downloaded and disseminated God knows where,” a police source noted to the <i>Sunday Mirror</i>. "The worry is it ends up on the dark web and used by bad guys to pick holes in airport security.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/queen-elizabeth-travel-demand" target="_blank">Queen Elizabeth Refuses to Travel Without One Very Specific Snack</a></p><p>However, Heathrow officials appear to be unfazed by the discovery of the memory stick, telling <em><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/29/europe/heathrow-airport-security-usb-stick/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a></em>, "We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure...We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future."</p>
Categories: Travel

Clear Pumpkin Pie Is Here to Make Your Thanksgiving Even More Awkward

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 05:24
<p>This is not your grandmother’s pumpkin pie.</p><p>Frankly, pumpkin pie — or <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/pumpkin-spice-week" target="_blank">pumpkin-flavored foods</a> in general — can spark quite a debate. There seems to be no middle ground: You either love it or you hate it. But what do you do when your beloved (or despised) food gets a total makeover?</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Enter clear pumpkin pie.</p><p>It’s chic. It’s surreal. It’s so very Instagramable. And it will give many people mixed feelings.</p><p>The pie concoction was created at Chicago-based <a href="https://www.alinearestaurant.com/" target="_blank">Alinea</a>. In an Instagram video, Alinea chef Simon Davies holds a tiny piece of gelatin pie with a seemingly normal crust and itty-bitty dollop of whipped cream on top.</p><p>“Pumpkin pie for the fall menu. #surrealism,” it says in the caption.</p><p>Davies explained in the comments how the pie is made with a “distillation of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.”</p><p>“Texture is very important to us. This melts away,” he added. “If it were over-gelled it would not be worth serving. The main texture that brings on nostalgia is from the pate brisee.”</p><p>When he puts it that way, it sounds delicious.</p><img alt="clear pumpkin pie dessert dish grant achatz alinea restaurant chicago "src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1509375268/clear-pumpkin-pie-alinea-dessert-dish-chicago-CLEARPIE1017.jpg?itok=VTxrGabF"><p>Despite it being a little unconventional, the pie does remind us a little of the equally Instagramable “<a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/raindrop-cake-almost-too-beautiful-eat" target="_blank">rain drop cake</a>” that took the internet by storm a few years ago. If we can love our gelatin as a cake, surely we can love it as pie.</p>
Categories: Travel

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