Travel and Leisure - Msn Feeds
Updated: 12 min 12 sec ago

You Can Rent a Private Pool Wherever You Are With This New Site

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 11:01
<p>Sure, a private Airbnb is nice, but what about something for those days when you just want to lounge by the pool?</p><p>Well, there’s a site for that, too.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Swimply,</a> also known as “the Airbnb of pools,” is an online marketplace where you can search for privately owned swimming spots for you and your friends to chill and work on your tans.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">25 Rooftop Pools to Dream About While You Sit in the Office</a></p><img alt="Swimply Pools Available "src=""><p>Even though the warm summer weather is over for many people, there are still plenty of perpetually hot places where staying poolside is pleasant all year round. Or, you can always look for an indoor pool.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">19 Hotel Pools Around the World With Incredible Views</a></p><p>Just like Airbnb, a pool owner lists their pool with images and price per hour (sometimes the price varies based on the day), and notes details about their space. Customers can leave and read reviews as well as book directly on the site.</p><p>Swimply founder Bunim Laskin told <em><a href="" target="_blank">Lonely Planet</a></em> that “owning a pool can be expensive, enjoying one doesn’t have to be.”</p><p>The idea for the start-up came to him when he decided to ask a neighbor to use their pool and pay them to cover costs. Soon, other kids in the neighborhood started doing the same thing.</p><img alt="Diving into a pool "src=""><p>“When my neighbor expressed gratitude for introducing the concept, Swimply was born,” Laskin said.</p><p>Swimply lists all kinds of pools, including ones that have hot tubs, grills, cabanas, and other activities available with them. The company has listings in 20 states and Canada, but availability can be sparse, since the company is still new.</p><img alt="Swimply Pools Available "src=""><p>According to <em>Lonely Planet</em>, listings in New York City and Los Angeles can range between $50 and $200 per hour. The only pool listings in New York City are currently in Brooklyn, but Swimply also has an option to contact them if you don’t see your location.</p><p>More information on booking a pool can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Swimply website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Lake Tahoe Has a New Underwater Trail That Lets You Explore Over 100 Years of History

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 17:23
<p>A new underwater trail lets explorers discover <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Tahoe’s</a> marine past.</p><p>Starting Oct. 1, visitors to California’s <a href="" target="_blank">Emerald Bay State Park</a> will be able to explore an underwater world filled with historic features dating back to the early 20th century. </p><p>While divers could previously explore two large barges in the Historic Barge Dive Site located on the bay, the new <a href="" target="_blank">Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail</a><strong> </strong>will allow them to explore three new additional sites and an array of ships that rest under the bay’s surface.</p><p>These include a wooden fishing boat dating back to the early 20th century at a depth of 35 feet and an early 20th-century hard chine skiff located at a depth of 60 feet.</p><img alt="Historic vessels sit on the newly opened Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail. "src=""><p>The new trail also includes the earliest and largest vessel that was part of the fleet of recreational ships used at the Emerald Bay Resort, a simple family resort in the park that was a popular vacation destination before being removed in the 1950s to make way for campgrounds.</p><p>The 27-foot-long vessel, known as Florence M, was built in 1915 and used for excursions around the lake. Traces of its paint are still visible on its hull.</p><p>Visitors will also find several historic small vessels that were likely sunk at their moorings some 30 to 60 feet deep. These vessels include a metal kayak, a day sailor, wooden fishing boats, rowboats, and motorboats.</p><p>The creation of the new attraction marks the first time <a href="" target="_blank">California State Parks</a> have opened an underwater maritime heritage cultural trail to the public, inviting history buffs to dive through recreational watercraft and barges used in the park’s past. The collection is also the nation's largest and most diverse group of sunken small craft known to exist in their original location, according to park representatives.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">These Underwater Scooters Are Basically Like Being In Your Own Submarine</a></p><p>Part of what makes exploring the underwater terrain so memorable is how well preserved these vessels are, in some cases after more than 100 years.</p><p>This is due to the water's cold temperature, which can average from 43 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the deepest parts of the bay and from the mid-60s to below freezing during the winter and early spring in the top 12 feet, park representatives told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. </p><p>Divers and snorkelers will find underwater interpretive panels placed at the dive sites to give context about each location, and waterproof interpretive cards can also be found at the park’s visitor centers, local dive shops, <a href="" target="_blank">on the park’s website</a>, or on the <a href="" target="_blank">Sierra State Parks Foundation’s website</a>.</p><p>Park representatives recommend fall as the best time for diving thanks to warm temperatures and calmer waters in comparison to the summer, when recreational boats are in the area. </p>
Categories: Travel

Hersheypark Is Adding a 'Hypercoaster' As Part of a $150-million Expansion

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 13:59
<p>If the two things you can't get enough of in life are chocolate and roller coasters, make plans to visit Hersheypark.</p><p>On Wednesday, the park made its “biggest announcement ever”: It will undergo a $150-million renovation to open a new 23-acre expansion called “Chocolate Town” within the next two years.</p><p>“Chocolate Town” will include Hersheypark’s 15th roller coaster, which the park calls its "longest, tallest, and fastest to date." Details about the new coaster are expected to be released in the summer. From what we know so far, the ride will be a “hypercoaster” because <a href="" target="_blank">it will stand more than 200 feet tall</a>.</p><p>Chocolate Town will also include a flagship Hershey’s store, ice cream parlor, kettle corn stand, and the parks’ largest restaurant, bar and patio.</p><p>“We are incredibly excited to enter this next chapter in the rich history of Hersheypark,” John Lawn, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment &amp; Resorts, <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement. “This will be a definitive project for Hersheypark, HE&amp;R and our destination.”</p><p>Construction on the new plaza will begin in January 2019. Next summer, the park will re-introduce the Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge as the Reese’s Cupfusion. In the game, riders must protect the Reese’s factory as the League of Misfit Candy tries to take over.</p><p>It may defy conventional wisdom to marry (literal) tons of chocolate and an epic roller coaster. But it sure looks fun.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Have Your Face Carved on a Pumpkin While Sipping Champagne at This NYC Hotel

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 13:02
<p>Table service has never looked this spooky.</p><p>In honor of the Halloween season, The High Line Hotel in New York City is offering exclusive <a href="" target="_blank">Pumpkin Service plus Bottle Service</a> every Thursday and Friday in October, starting October 4.</p><p>Guests in the hotel’s front garden are treated to a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label NV and get their own pumpkin, carved to order, by master carver in residence Brent Heuser.</p><p>And by “carved to order,” they literally mean carved to order. You can get any design you wish. A portrait of yourself, your loved one, your pet, or perhaps your favorite cartoon character, your business logo, or even a perfect likeness of the Mona Lisa. You name it.</p><p>In addition, <a href="" target="_blank">The Bar at the High Line Hotel</a> has tons of seasonal cocktails, beer, wine and exclusive Pinhook small-batch bourbons to celebrate the fall season. The hotel also hosts a Halloween Dog Costume Parade on Sunday, October 28, so you might say this place has the holiday on lock.</p><p>Each pumpkin and bottle service reservation lasts for 45 minutes and costs $125 per session. Reservations are available from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays in October.</p><p>For more information on how to get your own boo-tiful pumpkin, visit the <a href="" target="_blank">High Line Hotel website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where to Shop in Auckland, According to the City’s Hottest Fashion Designer

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 12:01
<p><a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand</a>’s gateway to North Island <a href="" target="_blank">adventures</a> is a destination in its own right, with great food, a bevy of museums and galleries, and chic shops that showcase homegrown talent. We turned to wunderkind Maggie Hewitt — the designer behind women’s clothing brand <a href="" target="_blank">Maggie Marilyn</a> and the first Kiwi ever short-listed for the LVMH Prize — to get the lowdown on the best stops for style-minded travelers.</p><img alt="Muse boutique, in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><img alt="Shopping in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><p>"One of my favorite places to shop is Ponsonby, a neighborhood with plenty of boutiques and concept stores. Muse (264 Ponsonby Rd.; 64-9-378-8850) is a multi-brand shop from owner Olivia Vincent. She stocks international labels like Stella McCartney along with local names like Georgia Alice, who is known for her impeccably cut, easy-to-wear designs. From there, I’ll pop in to the flagship of <a href="" target="_blank">Harman Grubiša</a><i>,</i> a brand that specializes in minimalist silhouettes with feminine details.</p><p>"Nearby concept store the <a href="" target="_blank">Shelter</a> holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first to carry my line. I’ll browse the racks of new and established labels like Wynn Hamlyn and MM6 Maison Margiela, then grab a juice at its café. If I want to treat myself, I’ll pick up a candle or fragrance at <a href="" target="_blank">Curionoir</a>, a small-batch Kiwi perfumery that produces only a handful of scents at a time.</p><img alt="Curionoir perfumery in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><p>"For a more laid-back retail experience, I’ll head to Takapuna, on the North Shore. The area is known for its beach, so it makes for a scenic shopping trip—especially on a sunny day. <a href="" target="_blank">The Department Store</a> was a collaboration between legendary New Zealand designer Karen Walker and local fashion entrepreneur Dan Gosling. The multilevel space has a beauty counter, a hair salon, a café, and an impressive array of Aussie and Kiwi clothiers like Georgia Jay and Deadly Ponies. After, I’ll drop in to the Takapuna outpost of <a href="" target="_blank">Superette</a>, a long-standing New Zealand retailer. This location has a fun, quirky vibe and offers a crowd-pleasing selection of wardrobe staples<i>."</i></p><img alt="Watches at Superette, in Auckland, New Zealand "src="">
Categories: Travel

Can You Pronounce the Name of This European City? — Research Says Most People Can’t

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:31
<p>Most travelers know that learning a new language can be tough, but there are some words out there that can really throw you for a loop.</p><p>Especially when they’re the names of places that you’re trying to get to.</p><p>Research conducted by cruise agent <a href="" target="_blank">Bolsover Cruise Club</a> found that the Slovenian city Ptuj is the world’s hardest city to pronounce, with 92% failing to know the correct pronunciation.</p><p>For the record, no, it’s not pronounced “pooj” or “put-ooj.” It’s actually pronounced “<a href="" target="_blank">p-too-ee</a>,” according to the cruise company website. We get it. It’s a little confusing if you don’t speak the language.</p><p>People also struggled to pronounce the names of <a href="" target="_blank">Guimarães</a> (88%), <a href="" target="_blank">Rijeka</a> (84%), <a href="" target="_blank">Skopje</a> (80%) and <a href="" target="_blank">Oaxaca</a> (76%).</p><p>In addition, the research studied different tourist destinations, landmarks and foods that non-native speakers have difficulty pronouncing. One particularly tricky landmark is <a href="" target="_blank">Eyjafjallajökull volcano</a> in Iceland, which 98% of non-Icelanders simply cannot wrap their heads around.</p><p>It’s pronounced: “<a href="" target="_blank">Ay-yah-fyad-layer-kuh-tel</a>.” Clear as day.</p><p>Michael Wilson, Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club, commented on the research in a press release, “Mastering the national language when heading abroad is always a great way to impress the locals, however, it seems many of us don’t always get it right.”</p><p>But with a name like Eyjafjallajökull, can you blame us? </p><p>Learning the language is all part of the world travel experience. Ff you are having trouble, it’s always good to have a handy translation dictionary in your bag.</p><p>More information on the study can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Bolsover Cruise Club website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

A New Study Says Taking a Vacation Can Help You Live Longer (Video)

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:00
<p>It turns out taking a vacation can be as important to your physical health as exercising and eating your fruits and veggies.</p><p>In a 40-year study that will be <a href="" target="_blank">published by the <em>Journal of Nutrition, Heath &amp; Aging</em></a>, the University of Helsinki, Finland had recruited over 1,200 businessmen between the ages of 40 and 55 in 1974 and 1975. Each participant was at risk for cardiovascular disease, the risk factors including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight.</p><p>Participants were randomly placed in one of two groups: an intervention group and a control group. In the intervention group, the investigators advised the men every four months for five years to exercise, eat healthy foods, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and to quit smoking. Some of the participants in this group were also given drugs to lower blood pressure and lipid levels.</p><p>The men in the control group, on the other hand, did not receive advice from the investigators, but were provided their usual healthcare.</p><p>As one would expect, the men in the intervention group reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent after five years. When the researchers followed up with the participants 15 years later, however, they found that more men from the intervention group had died than those in the control group.</p><p>These findings led the investigators to follow up with the participants again in 2014, at which point they examined national death registers and what had been "previously unreported baseline data on amounts of work, sleep, and vacation."</p><p>The results from the research showed that up until 2004, the intervention group had a higher death rate than the control group. From 2004 to 2015, the death rates in both groups were the same.</p><p>After studying the baseline data on work, sleep, and vacation, the researchers noted one significant piece of information that could explain these findings: participants in the intervention group had a 37 percent higher risk of dying if they took three weeks or less annual vacation compared to those who took more than three weeks between 1974 and 2004.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">9 Signs You Need a Vacation</a></p><p>"In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention," said professor Timo Strandberg. "Don't think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays. Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress."</p><p>While the amount of vacation that participants in the control group took did not affect their risk of death, Strandberg believes that "the intervention itself may also have had an adverse psychological effect on [men in the intervention group] by adding stress to their lives."</p><p>Strandberg emphasized that the results from this study do by no means suggest that health education is "harmful" to one's health. "Rather, they suggest that stress reduction is an essential part of programs aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle advice should be wisely combined with modern drug treatment to prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk individuals."</p><p>Now go ahead and book that much-needed vacation. Your life could be at risk.</p>
Categories: Travel

Fly Round-trip to Europe Starting at $272 If You Book This Weekend

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 08:30
<p>Despite the seasons just recently changing to fall, there are already signs of winter coming. To everyone’s chagrin, the department stores have already started displays with signs of Thanksgiving. In the most egregious cases, Christmas candy canes are popping up.</p><p>Although it may seem too early to think about the end of the year, if you want to book a European holiday getaway, now is the time to book. Round-trip flights to major European cities are now available starting in the high $200s.</p><p>Fly from New York City to Paris for <a href="*/m/05qtj./m/02_286.2018-12-12;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$272 round-trip</a> or to Amsterdam for <a href="*/m/0k3p./m/02_286.2018-11-15;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$320</a>. If you’re flying out of Denver, you could hop to Brussels and back <a href="*/m/02rnbv.DEN.2018-10-24;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">for only $382</a> if you book for November. Flights from Detroit to Amsterdam are available <a href="*/m/0k3p./m/02dtg.2018-10-24;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">for $340 round-trip</a>.</p><p>While it's unlikely you'll find cheap flights right around Christmas or New Year's, there are several cheap travel dates available throughout November and December, all the way to March 2019.</p><p>More European destinations to consider include Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich, Rome, Vienna and Zurich. Travelers out of New York, Minnesota, Alaska, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Nebraska, California, Florida and more can all find cheap flights to Europe (as long as they're a little flexible on travel dates).</p><p>Spend some time <a href="" target="_blank">searching around</a> — there are even better deals to be found.</p><p>Note restrictions on fares, and if your preferred flight is on a budget airline (WOW Air, Norwegian, Level), be sure to check on any additional fees for seat assignments or baggage. There's no need to be surprised at the airport.</p><p>If you need motivation to book, just consider it an early holiday present to yourself. After all, travel is the gift that keeps on giving.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why New York Is Becoming One of America’s Best States for Wine Lovers

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 08:20
<p>There are days when life makes you feel as though you’ve been poured into a blender and whizzed into a froth of nervous exhaustion. As a resident of New York City, I find this happens to me with disconcerting frequency. But when it does, I have a solution: hightail it 200 miles northwest, to the <a href="http://The Perfect Three-day Weekend in the Finger Lakes" target="_blank">Finger Lakes</a>.</p><p>A patchwork of vineyards, <a href="" target="_blank">apple orchards</a>, hiking trails, and small, thriving towns, this <a href="" target="_blank">bucolic region of New York State</a> takes its name from 11 narrow glacial lakes between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse that run north to south, like the fingers of an extremely unusual hand. The five largest lakes, where you’ll spend most of your time in the region, are Seneca, Cayuga, Skaneateles, Canandaigua, and Keuka. They are quite deep (more than 600 feet, at some points), and because water warms and cools more slowly than air, their immense volume helps moderate the surrounding temperatures. Grape varieties like Riesling and Pinot Noir in turn can flourish, despite the bitter winters.</p><p>Add the region’s rocky soil and a new generation of ambitious winemakers to the mix, and you’ve got the ingredients for truly exciting wine. While there are still a fair number of uninspiring bottles produced for the bus-tour crowds, several top-flight wineries have opened over the past decade or so. (Note: when winery hopping, consider bringing along a designated driver or, if you’re going solo, enlisting the <a href="" target="_blank">help of Uber</a>.) Most are open year-round, but fall is the ideal time to visit. It’s harvest season, and the weather is cool and breezy. Here’s how to spend three perfect days exploring the region.</p><h2>Friday</h2><p>A 1½-hour flight from LaGuardia brought me to Rochester, the easiest entry point to the Finger Lakes. I headed 35 miles southeast to the town of Canandaigua for a quick lunch at <a href="" target="_blank">New York Kitchen</a> <em>(entrées $12–$21)</em>, a nonprofit culinary center that highlights the work of Empire State farmers, brewers, and vintners. I tried a few Pinots in the tasting room, then dug in to a decadent “Adirondack” — a pizza named for the mountains to the east, with wild mushrooms, grilled ham, Gruyère, and fresh pea shoots.</p><p>I decided to kick off my wine tasting in the place where quality bottlings in the Finger Lakes got started — <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Konstantin Frank</a>, on the western shore of Keuka Lake. In the 1950s, this winery’s eponymous founder proved that the region could grow classic grape varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. I skipped the main tasting room and headed down the road to my reservation at the serene 1886 Reserve Room, which offers a more personal experience, as well as older vintages and food pairings.</p><img alt="Scenes from New York's Finger Lakes region "src=""><p>A quick swing around the southern tip of Keuka Lake took me to <a href="" target="_blank">Domaine LeSeurre</a>, part of a new wave of ambitious wineries driven by young vintners convinced of the region’s potential. Here, French expats Céline and Sébastien LeSeurre fashion dry, elegant wines that hover between old and new world in their sensibility — case in point, their thrillingly precise, Chablis-like 2015 unoaked Chardonnay.</p><p>I next checked in to <a href="" target="_blank">Geneva on the Lake</a> <em>(doubles from $245)</em>, a grand resort in the lively burg of Geneva. It’s an excellent home base, since Geneva’s downtown has become the region’s restaurant and bar nexus thanks to places like the <a href="" target="_blank">Linden Social Club</a> <em>(small plates $5–$7)</em>, which is renowned for its cocktails. Despite my abiding love of wine, I couldn’t resist the Prescription Julep (Cognac, rye, Jamaican rum, and mint). Was it the perfect pairing for the “farmers’ market tostada,” made of marinated and grilled zucchini and yellow squash? No idea, but the duo seemed like an ideal balance of indulgence and health.</p><h2>Saturday</h2><p>To navigate around the lakes and avoid endless north-south shuttling, it’s best to concentrate on one body of water a day. For Saturday, I chose Seneca. Stretching for 35 miles between Geneva and Watkins Glen, it’s the largest of the five main lakes and is ringed with a number of good wineries. A to-go cappuccino from <a href="" target="_blank">Monaco’s Coffee</a> fueled my drive down Route 14 to my first stop, <a href="" target="_blank">Forge Cellars</a>. A partnership between local talents Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette and acclaimed Rhône vintner Louis Barruol, Forge focuses on terroir-expressive Pinot Noir and Riesling. Their wines could go head-to-head with those from anywhere in the world. I stocked up on the smoky 2016 Forge Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">How to Have a European Wine Bar Experience Without Leaving the U.S.</a></p><p>After Forge, it was time for lunch at <a href="" target="_blank">F.L.X. Wienery</a> <em>(entrées $3–$18)</em>, a roadside shack serving excellent house-made hot dogs and brats. There’s also a surprisingly extensive wine list that features everything from the house Riesling at $5 a glass to a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche for $2,500 a bottle — a classic pairing with a chili dog, right?</p><p>Dozens of wineries line Route 14, so it’s important to choose wisely. One of my favorites is <a href="" target="_blank">Ravines Wine Cellar</a>, just south of Geneva. Winemaker Morten Hallgren’s stony Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling is not to be missed, nor is the winery’s Ravinous Table wine-pairing experience. This season’s dishes might include a 2008 Blanc de Blanc with a tart of potato and hazelnuts or a 2016 Cabernet Franc with pork loin and plums smoked over grapevine trimmings.</p><img alt="FLX Table restaurant in Geneva, New York "src=""><p>I drove back to Geneva for dinner, as I had scored a much-coveted reservation at <a href="" target="_blank">F.L.X. Table</a> <em>(tasting menu $59)</em>, arguably the region’s best restaurant. Owned by the couple behind F.L.X. Wienery — Master Sommelier and chef Christopher Bates and his wife, Isabel Bogadtke — the restaurant has only 14 seats at one long dining table. In addition to sampling dishes such as wild salmon with a red-pepper-and-olive panzanella, you can’t help getting into a lively conversation with your fellow diners.</p><h2>Sunday</h2><p>I started my day with a two-mile hike through the rock gorges at <a href="" target="_blank">Watkins Glen State Park</a>, where the leaves on the trees were at their scarlet-and-gold peak. Afterward, I nipped around the southern end of Seneca and over to tiny Bellwether Wine Cellars (bellwetherwine​, on the western shore of Cayuga Lake. Winemaker Kris Matthewson is one of the region’s up-and-coming stars, and bottles like his violet-scented Sawmill Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir make it clear why.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-notch Wines</a></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca</a> <em>(entrées $9–$26)</em>, a short drive west, is modeled on a classic Austrian wine tavern and probably the only place on the planet where you’ll find a “Viennese bento box” on the lunch menu. And yet the combination of classic Austrian sausages, spaetzle, and tapenade served Japanese-style somehow makes perfect sense.</p><p>On the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, <a href="" target="_blank">Heart &amp; Hands Wine Co.</a> is another cult, boutique producer. Husband-and-wife team Tom and Susan Higgins make a tiny amount of Pinot Noir and Riesling from their own estate vineyard. The wines come and go as they sell out, but if their fragrant, top-of-the-line Mo Chuisle (pronounced ma-<em>cush</em>-la) Pinot is there, grab a few bottles to take home.</p><img alt="Inns of Aurora EB Morgan House, in the Finger Lakes region "src=""><p>For my final night, I checked in to the <a href="" target="_blank">Inns of Aurora</a> <em>(doubles from $165)</em>, on the eastern side of Cayuga Lake. Owned by Pleasant Rowland, the creator of American Girl dolls, this quartet of historic buildings has been stunningly restored in recent years. Which of the inns you choose is a matter of personal taste — the furnishings in the Aurora Inn itself are classic, while Rowland House has a more contemporary feel. But no matter which you pick, be sure to sit by the lakefront firepit and have a glass of wine at sunset. Any last vestiges of stress you might feel, from a life anywhere in the world, will soon dissipate.</p>
Categories: Travel

Book a Flight to Turks and Caicos This Winter for As Little As $224 Round-trip

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 07:10
<p>Dreaming of a beach getaway? If you’re looking to escape the changing seasons or the idea of the upcoming cold is sending a chill down your spine, you’ll be happy to know you can get a cheap flight to Turks and Caicos between now and next spring.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Scott’s Cheap Flights</em></a> found great deals on flights to the islands — on <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a>, Delta, and Jetblue — with airfares from major U.S. cities from $200 to $400 round-trip. In some cases, it's half of the typical price.</p><p>And, if you aren’t already convinced, some routes are available close to holiday weekends including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.</p><p>Flights are starting at <a href="*PLS./m/02_286.2019-01-11;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$312 round-trip</a> from New York City, <a href="*PLS.MIA.2019-03-19;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$224 from Miami</a> and Fort Lauderdale, <a href="*PLS.ABQ.2018-11-17;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$351 from Albuquerque</a>, <a href="*PLS.LAX.2019-01-14;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$416 from Los Angeles</a>, <a href="*PLS.MSP.2018-12-13;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$434 from Minneapolis</a> — and on and on. <a href="" target="_blank">Check your home airport</a> to see what fares are available to you this fall and winter.</p><p>As is always true with cheap flights in this day and age, additional fees may apply for assigned seats, baggage and in-flight amenities. Check the airline's policies and fees before booking to make sure you're happy with the deal.</p><p>And if you are ready to look for a low cost winter vacation, you should act fast. Cheap flights to white sand beaches and clear blue waters don't last long when the temperatures cool down in the northern hemisphere.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Hotels Are Making Guests VIPs If They Agree to Put Away Their Phones

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 06:01
<p>Wyndham Grand wants you to <a href="" target="_blank">stop using your phone on vacation</a> — and they’re going to start holding you accountable.</p><p>At select locations throughout the country, the hotel brand will implement “phone-free zones” at pools and restaurants.</p><p>But before your fingers start shaking from phone withdrawal, consider the stats. According to the hotel, at the Mills House Wyndham Grand in Charleston, 87 percent of poolside guests were on their phones and not in the water over the weekend. "Today, adults and kids are so glued to their devices that we've had to add more pool chairs to accommodate all the poolside swiping,” Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer for Wyndham, said in a statement.</p><p>Reps for the hotel pointed out that, on average, we check our phones once every 12 minutes while we’re on vacation, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults</a>. And, according to the same survey, more than half of all travelers use their phone the exact same amount when they’re on vacation as when they’re in their working lives.</p><p>The phone ban is not mandatory (don’t worry) but there are several incentives for opting in. In addition to being more present and mindful while on vacation, those who opt in could have the opportunity to win prizes.</p><p>Yondr provides guests with a locking phone case so they won’t be tempted to check their technology. Those who use the lock boxes will be eligible to partake in VIP area treats (special off-menu items, exclusive pool floats or books) and have the chance to win 75,000 Wyndham Rewards Points (enough for a five-night vacation).</p><p>The phone-free zones will be at five Wyndham Grand Hotels — including the Wydham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort, Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront, The Mills House, and the Hotel Galvez &amp; Spa — through Nov.12.<br /><br />The brand’s commitment to <a href="" target="_blank">digital detoxing</a> runs deep. Earlier this year, select Wyndham hotels offered <a href="" target="_blank">a five-percent discount to guests</a> who agreed to keep their phones locked away during their stay.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Should Add This Glamorous Tented Camp in Luang Prabang to Your Bucket List

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:55
<p>As a British expat living in <a href="" target="_blank">Bangkok</a>, I often travel to <a href="" target="_blank">Luang Prabang</a>, Laos, to escape the madness of my adopted city. I’ll spend my days writing on the outdoor terraces of the restaurants lining the Mekong River, and settle into a different rhythm. On my latest visit, I stayed at the <a href="" target="_blank">Rosewood Luang Prabang</a> — a departure from the hotels I have come to know in the former Laotian royal capital, and a pleasant surprise.</p><p>Luang Prabang is one of the few remaining cities in Southeast Asia that retains its physical connection to the past as a royal city. The Buddhist temple complexes are interconnected by pathways; there are no vast roadways. The city is not overshadowed by skyscrapers; rather, one feels close to the mountains and the life of the river. This feeling only grows more pronounced at the Rosewood, located a few miles outside the city center.</p><p>The resort is a sprawling park of paths and wooden suspension bridges that run past torch ginger flowers, frangipani, and other structures until they reach a series of six safari-style tents. Each is raised on stilts and floats above the tree canopy, with views of emerald mountains receding to the horizon. Within 10 minutes of arriving at my tent, I drank a pot of jasmine tea on the balcony and became so relaxed that I fell asleep.</p><p>Three hours later, I woke to the sound of the rushing river below and the sight of the moon strangely obscured by violent rain.</p><p>The Rosewood was designed by Bill Bensley, the famed architect responsible for many properties throughout Southeast Asia, including the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and his own Shinta Mani brand hotels in Cambodia. “We wanted to re-create a Lao villa of the French period,” Bensley told me over the phone from Bangkok during my visit. “A house that could easily have been that of the consul general in the 1890s.” Indeed, the resort, which can accommodate up to 46 guests in its various rooms, suites, villas, and tents, is a reincarnation of the home of Auguste Pavie, France’s first vice-consul in Laos. This is not the first Luang Prabang hotel to resurrect French-colonial chic in a Lan Na context: the Amantaka and the Avani, both set in historic buildings, have done so quite successfully. But the Rosewood takes the genre to new heights.</p><img alt="Interior of a Waterfall Pool Villa at the Rosewood Luang Prabang, in Laos "src=""><p>The main lobby, a cool, open-air structure known as the Great House, rises from the driveway path atop a series of steps, and inside this central space huge chandeliers with elephant motifs illuminate the dinner tables. From here, eating a dinner of excellent pork curry and river fish with banana flowers, I could look out at the small shaded swimming pool and, behind it, a waterfall feeding into the little river.</p><p>To one side of this structure stands the wood-paneled Elephant Bridge Bar, where I would head for a cocktail made with herbs from the garden. Laotian sweets were set on the open counters, waiting for passersby. As I sat on the extended balcony of my tent, the staff crossed the bridges with buckets of champagne and platters of sticky rice in woven containers. Only the small driving range carved out of the jungle below my balcony seemed incongruously touristic. But that became invisible as the night closed in.</p><p>The atmosphere is more private house than resort; the idea is that you should feel as if you are a guest of Pavie’s. There are several framed portraits of the Frenchman, leaving the visitor to ask: who exactly was he? Born in Brittany in 1847, Pavie spent time in <a href="" target="_blank">Cambodia</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Vietnam</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Thailand</a> before moving on to Laos, where he won the confidence of Oun Kham, the aging king of Luang Prabang. By the time the king died in 1895, Laos had become a French protectorate, with Pavie as its consul general. He also launched a series of explorations of Indochina, including remote areas of Laos, and these ethnological and geographic surveys are celebrated throughout the Rosewood. In most rooms there are both tribal artifacts and ghostly photographs of the early French explorers posing in their rakish, wide-brimmed hats.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Southeast Asia</a></p><p>Sitting outside at dusk as the rain forest came alive with frog song, I felt that this nostalgic framing had been achieved thanks to the considerable work that went into the details: the handmade furniture, the lacquered chairs, the escritoires with their antique telephones. The world of my great-grandfather, faithfully rendered. It is a style derived from a selective-romance perspective of the colonial venture, which chooses not to address the darker aspects of French rule.</p><p>Indeed, many hotels in this part of the world are returning to the past as the futures of their countries brighten. I was recently at the Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li, which artfully harks back to the French Concession days of that city. The new JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, in Vietnam, also designed by Bill Bensley, similarly references the French-colonial aesthetic.</p><p>That era has become a source of renewed inspiration in Asia, and the reasons are no doubt complex. Perhaps the French presence feels distant now, supplanted by the threats and concerns of the modern world. Perhaps the French were just brilliant architects. For me, beyond the impeccable design, it was the sense of quiet and solitude that made the Rosewood so beguiling — that, and the feeling that the trees are not devoid of their own spirits.; doubles from $820.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Human-like Video of a Corkscrew Riding a Roller Coaster Is Kind of Genius

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:27
<p>Everyone loves a good thrill ride. Even inanimate objects.</p><p>Comedian <a href="" target="_blank">Sam Fletcher</a> captured a video of Mr. Bottle Opener (yes, he’s literally a wine bottle corkscrew) “riding” a <a href="" target="_blank">roller coaster</a> and posted it on Twitter. Clearly, Mr. Bottle Opener is having a great time, raising his arms with every peak and valley. And the best part is, we get to go on this journey with him.</p><p>Of course, he’s not really on a roller coaster. The ride that the corkscrew is on is actually just a video that Fletcher played for him, but it looks thrilling nonetheless. And anyway, Mr. Bottle Opener seems to be having fun. </p><p>Hey, as long as our kitchen utensils are having a good time, that’s all that matters. Frankly, this little object sums up the thrill of being at your <a href="" target="_blank">favorite amusement park</a> better than most roller coaster videos out there.</p><p>Who knew a corkscrew could be so relatable?</p>
Categories: Travel

Richard Branson Found Himself 'Seconds Away From Certain Death' on His Latest Adventure

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:01
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson</a> is perhaps one of the most adventurous people in the world. But, with all that climbing, sailing, and <a href="" target="_blank">space travel</a> comes plenty of risks, which proved to be true in late September, when the billionaire and his son, Sam, came within seconds of death on one of the world’s highest peaks.</p><p>“At the end of our first day climbing <a href="" target="_blank">Mont Blanc</a> for the Virgin Strive Challenge we found ourselves trapped on the side of the mountain as a huge rock fall caused boulders the size of small cars to fall on us,” Branson shared on his <a href="" target="_blank">blog</a>. “We are lucky to be alive. Three seconds earlier we would all certainly have been killed.”</p><p>According to Branson, the team had enjoyed a lovely day of climbing before approaching the last section and heading to their base camp. The section — a 100-yard crossing known as Gouter Couloir or the "Gully of Death" — can be treacherous to say the least. However, the guides on the hike thought it may be safe to cross.</p><p>“Climbing in teams, myself, Sam, Susie Ma and James Benamore and guides were the last group to traverse the crossing,” Branson wrote. “Within seconds of getting across we heard the most horrible sound. A side of a cliff had broken away from the mountain further up and seconds later huge boulders the size of small cars were bouncing towards us. Rocks rained down on us from every angle. I am not exaggerating when I say four of our team were seconds away from certain death.”</p><p>To escape, the entire team had to dive behind a small boulder and wait for the rockslide to pass. One small rock even clipped Sam’s helmet. Sam filmed the event and shared it on Instagram.</p><p>The team came to rest that night at base camp with tears streaming down their faces after they all made it out. The team eventually made it to the summit, and in the process raised more than $1 million toward their Big Change partners and projects. As Branson explained, that money will go toward projects that help young people thrive in life.</p><p>“It’s been a fantastic challenge that has seen us cycle, sea kayak, hike and climb 2000km across Europe, to the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe,” Branson added. “We’ve experienced every human emotion at their extremes, but every time we’ve heard that little tempting voice in the back of our heads saying ‘why not call it a day’, we’ve pushed through together and reminded ourselves why we’re doing this in the first place.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Google Assistant Will Now Let You Hail a Car Just by Asking

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 17:00
<p>Even if you aren’t a top-level executive, you can still have a personal assistant. It may be in your pocket and it may not be human, but it’s getting a bit smarter every day.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Google Assistant</a> — which is available for iPhone, Android, and the Google Home — can now call you a car.</p><p>If you say “Hey Google, get me a taxi to Los Angeles International Airport,” the assistant will show a list of ride services — including Uber, Lyft, Ola and several others — along with estimated prices and wait times. (You can also override this step by saying “Hey Google, book an Uber to the airport.”) Select the ride service and the app will open to confirm the ride.</p><p>The feature will be especially useful when you’re running late, with no free time to spare to compare rides. Being able to see all wait times and prices in one place without having to switch back and forth between apps could be the difference between you making it on time to the meeting or walking in sheepishly late.</p><p>Google Assistant is becoming a nifty hands-free way to plan your vacation. The assistant can <a href="" target="_blank">teach you a foreign language</a>, find you flight options, and help you pack with information about the weather. Earlier this year, Google introduced a feature that allows Assistant to <a href="" target="_blank">book restaurant reservations and salon appointments</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Bar Was Just Named the Best in the World — and You Better Go Soon Before It Closes

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 16:48
<p>In a lavish ceremony in London, bartenders and restaurateurs from all over the world gathered to find out what bar had been named the best in the world by the <a href="" target="_blank">World's 50 Best </a>organization. </p><p>This year, <a href=";utm_medium=Website%20Button&amp;utm_campaign=London" target="_blank">Dandelyan</a> in <a href="" target="_blank">London</a>, owned by Ryan Chetiyawardana and Iain Griffiths, took home the prestigious award. Described as a "high-end but accessible" spot on the World's 50 Best Bar's website, with "trendy pink, green and gold décor", the bar offers "relaxed but emotionally intelligent service and cocktails that make you think." The American Bar at the Savoy in London which was named the top bar in 2017 came in second this year.</p><img alt="Dandelyan World's Best Cocktail Bar Mondrian Hotel London UK "src=""><p>In a surprising twist, it was <a href="" target="_blank">announced earlier this week</a> and reiterated during the acceptance ceremony that Dandelyan will be closing their doors after four years in operation. While no closing date was officially announced, those who would like to try the inventive cocktails need to make their way to the celebrated bar fast. </p><p>“I made an announcement to a lot of you on Monday that we’re going to kill Dandelyan, we’re going to close it,” Chetiyawardana said during his acceptance speech. “It feels so wonderful to do it at this point. To then move on to what we can do next.”</p><p>Chetiyawardana made no mention of what his future plans would entail.</p><p>London establishments made a strong showing this year with four in the top 10, including Bar Termini (#6), Connaught Bar (#5), and American Bar (#2). According to organizers, the winners were chosen by a panel of 510 judges (cocktail aficionados) who had to adhere to a set of guidelines when voting. Each voter must have visited the establishment within the previous 18 months, votes are based on personal best bar experience, temporary or guest bar experiences are not eligible, and voting is carried out on a secure site.</p><p>The World's 50 Best organization is also known for their annual list of the <a href="" target="_blank">best restaurants in the world</a>, which is highly regarded in the industry. This year, <a href="" target="_blank">chef Massimo Bottura</a>'s Osteria Francescana in Italy <a href="" target="_blank">took home the top prize</a>. </p><h3>The full list of the World’s 50 Best Bars:</h3><p>50. Lost Lake – Chicago, USA</p><p>49. Bar Benfiddich – Tokyo, Japan</p><p>48. Buck and Breck – Berlin, Germany</p><p>47. Salmon Guru – Madrid, Spain</p><p>46. Swift – London, UK</p><p>45. Fifty Mils – Mexico City, Mexico</p><p>44. Trick Dog – San Francisco, USA</p><p>43. Schumann’s – Munich, Germany</p><p>42. Candelaria – Paris, France</p><p>41. BlackTail – New York, USA</p><p>40. Tommy’s – San Francisco, USA</p><p>39. El Copitas – St Petersburg, Russia</p><p>38. Indulge Experimental Bistro – Taipei, Taiwan</p><p>37. Paradiso – Barcelona, Spain</p><p>36. La Factoría – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico</p><p>35. Happiness Forgets – London, UK</p><p>34. 28 HongKong Street – Singapore</p><p>33. Little Red Door – Paris, France</p><p>32. Linje Tio – Stockholm, Sweden</p><p>31. Tales and Spirits – Amsterdam, Netherlands</p><p>30. Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia</p><p>29. Three Sheets – London, UK</p><p>28. Scout – London, UK</p><p>27. Central Station – Beirut, Lebanon</p><p>26. Employees Only – New York, USA</p><p>25. Lost &amp; Found – Nicosia, Cyprus</p><p>24. Le Syndicat – Paris, France</p><p>23. Operation Dagger – Singapore</p><p>22. Baba Au Rum – Athens, Greece</p><p>21. Sweet Liberty – Miami, USA</p><p>20. Speak Low – Shanghai, China</p><p>19. Himkok – Oslo, Norway</p><p>18. Coupette – London, UK</p><p>17. Oriole – London, UK</p><p>16. The Dead Rabbit – New York, USA</p><p>15. Attaboy – New York, USA</p><p>14. Florería Atlántico – Buenos Aires, Argentina</p><p>13. Native – Singapore</p><p>12. Bar High Five – Tokyo, Japan</p><p>11. Licorería Limantour – Mexico City, Mexico</p><p>10. The Old Man – Hong Kong, China</p><p>9. Dante – New York, USA</p><p>8. Atlas – Singapore</p><p>7. The Clumsies – Athens, Greece</p><p>6. Bar Termini – London, UK</p><p>5. Connaught Bar – London, UK</p><p>4. The NoMad – New York, USA</p><p>3. Manhattan – Singapore</p><p>2. American Bar – London, UK</p><p>1. Dandelyan – London, UK</p>
Categories: Travel

The Iceland Tour Game of Thrones Fans Have Been Waiting For

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:01
<p>Winter was coming. Or, rather, I was coming for winter.</p><p>Long before dawn in late January, I took a bumpy, twin-prop flight from Reykjavík into the bleak darkness of <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>’s north. When the plane touched down on the icy airstrip of Akureyri Airport at 8 a.m., the sky was still inky black. And, though I was wearing more wool than most sheep, I was still freezing.</p><p>A bit like <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Game of Thrones</em></a> hero Jon Snow, who trekked to the north of  Westeros, I was on a quest to northern Iceland — where the TV show filmed its most frigid scenes. <em>Travel + Leisure</em> had challenged me, an amateur photographer and professional pop-culture obsessive, to study landscape photography on a guided <em>Game of Thrones</em>–themed tour. I hoped to return with my grail: publishable photographs and a sense of how the Land of Fire and Ice inspired the books that inspired the show, George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series <em>A Song of Ice and Fire</em>.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Ultimate 'Game of Thrones' Travel Guide</a></p><p>Since the birth of pop culture, fans have flocked to Hollywood and New York to see Sunset Boulevard or Manhattan; to Dyersville, Iowa, to see the real Field of Dreams; or even to Austria, to see the place that inspired <em>The Sound of Music</em>. But over the past few decades, as our TV and movie franchises have become bigger and travel has become more affordable, there has been a boom in entertainment travel, drawing fans like me to the locations of <em>Lord of the Rings</em> in New Zealand or the ensorcelled England of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Harry Potter</em></a>. Over the years, Iceland has played host to scores of production crews, providing the backdrop for everything from The Empire Strikes Bac<i>k</i> to Batman Begins. But the local travel industry has seen nothing like the impact of<i> </i><em>Game of Thrones</em>. Since the show launched in 2011, <em>GoT</em> fans have descended on Iceland from all over the globe.</p><p>On my personal quest, I was accompanied by a band of merry companions: six British photography enthusiasts, eager to shoot the <a href="" target="_blank">aurora borealis</a> and the rugged, untouched landscapes that lie outside Iceland’s well-trodden Golden Circle. We met at baggage claim in Akureyri Airport, where I quickly surmised that I was the group’s most knowledgeable <em>Game of Thrones</em><i> </i>fan and least experienced photographer — in both cases, by far.</p><p>Luckily, I had a mentor: our tour guide, photographer Niall Benvie. A soft-spoken, thoughtful Scot, Benvie greeted us warmly in the tiny airport café and, over coffee and hot chocolate, broke down a few basics. The short Arctic days, he said, are not as limiting for photographers as one might imagine. Since the sun barely rises above the horizon at this time of year, we wouldn’t lose hours to midday glare, and would have extra time to shoot during dawn and dusk, when the sun hovers below the horizon for nearly an hour.</p><p>Briefing over, we headed out into the wilderness. Driving northeast along the coast, I watched the sky slowly brighten, revealing a world of endless snow. A couple of hours later, Benvie pulled off the highway and parked our van at the foot of a hill. As we loaded up our cameras, he issued a final safety lesson: “It’s dangerous out there. Pay attention to what’s outside your viewfinder, or you could slip off a cliff and into an icy chasm.” As we set off up the hillside, stamping fresh footprints into virgin powder, his warning immediately made sense. Around us there was no contrast, no horizon, just a disorienting scroll of white landscape bleeding into a bright, white sky.</p><img alt="Steaming sulfur pits in Iceland "src=""><p>Then, at the top of our climb, we came to a cliff edge. Peering over, we saw a giant tear in this blank page, where water thundered over a huge semicircle of black cliffs. This was Goðafoss falls, one of the most spectacular locations in the whole of Iceland. I was convinced I’d seen the falls on <em>GoT</em>, but it turned out the series never filmed there; these waters were legendary long before the show came along. The name means “waterfall of the gods” and was coined sometime around the year 1000, when a pagan priest named Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði converted to Christianity and declared it the religion of the realm. At Goðafoss, he obliterated the old Norse gods by casting their statues into the falls.</p><p>I stepped back from the brink, feeling woozy. Bundled up in winter gear and whipsawed by gusts of wind, I clumsily unzipped my new camera bag. I had never used anything but an entry-level DSLR, but just as Jon Snow wielded the extraordinary sword Longclaw, I had borrowed my own Excalibur: the Sony a7R III, a state-of-the-art mirrorless DSLR. Excited to try out my new equipment, I began snapping away. But when I reviewed the photos, the waterfall of the gods looked puny — more like a birdbath of the gods. I told Benvie that I didn’t know how to capture the scale of it all.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Travel the Seven Kingdoms by Visiting the Filming Locations of 'Game of Thrones'</a></p><p>Speaking over his breath-frosted scarf, he suggested that, since I was feeling overwhelmed, I should start by zooming in and grounding my framing with foreground detail. “Don’t try to get it all,” he said. “Pick the story you want to tell.” It was good advice. Setting up my tripod for the first time and swapping lenses with freezing fingers, I took hundreds of photos. I framed rocky outcrops against the falls and zoomed in tight on the cliffs. I even slowed the shutter speed down to blur the water and get that misty effect — though, I admit, it mostly looked cheesy.</p><p>The rest of the day’s journey passed in a movie-montage rush of jagged mountains, lunar craters, whistling snowy gales, and empty horizons. Like all adventurers, we suffered early setbacks: next to the intimidating Ytri-Selbunga mountain, we attempted to shoot a group of Iceland’s photogenic wild horses, but they galloped away before we could grab our cameras. And though I had lost sleep watching <a href="" target="_blank">“How to Photograph the Northern Lights”</a> videos on YouTube, the Icelandic weather service’s aurora forecast (a local news fixture, like Oahu’s surf forecast) was dismal. Due to cloud cover, the northern lights would not be visible all week.</p><p>Later that night, I reviewed the absurd number of photos I’d taken — more than a thousand — and was disappointed by every one. Most were sharp enough, thanks to my camera, and plenty were serviceable in a “Hey, check out this crazy crater” kind of way, but they lacked the cinematic drama — the fantasy — that I had come to capture.</p><p>Closing my laptop, humbled, my <i>Game of Thrones</i> hero’s catchphrase echoed in my mind. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”</p><p><img src="" /></p><p>On our icelandic journey, base camp was a group of rustic wood cabins named the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, located on the shore of Lake Mývatn, a strange, shallow body of frozen water punctuated by jagged volcanic rocks and plumes of steam belching from submerged hot springs. Looking out at this eerie view the next morning, I breakfasted on local smoked fish and traditional Icelandic dark rye bread. As I ate, the innkeeper told me that the eighth Fast &amp; Furious movie had staged a chase on the frozen lake with a Lamborghini, a tank, a Hummer, and — thanks to CGI — a submarine. “It was crazy,” said the innkeeper. “Huge explosions!”</p><p>Fittingly enough, the snowy roads were so impassable that day, Benvie had to call in a vehicle that would have made the Rock proud: an American military-surplus Hummer fitted with giant snow tires. We rumbled off through pristine expanses of crystallized snow, glittering in the rising sun, toward the Dettifoss — the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It’s often called “the Beast,” in contrast to “the Beauty” — Goðafoss — though I knew it from the Ridley Scott sci-fi film <em>Prometheus</em><i>,</i> where the 150-foot-high waterfall looked so otherworldly that I imagined it had to have been a special effect.</p><p>But when we arrived at the edge of Dettifoss, after hiking about a mile through knee-high snow, I couldn’t see it. The geothermally heated water surging over the falls was so much hotter than the Arctic air that it threw off giant, rolling waves of steam that cloaked the falls entirely. Some of my companions were disappointed, but I found the strangeness exhilarating.</p><img alt="Geothermal park in Iceland "src=""><p>Catching this mystery on camera was confounding, however. I asked Benvie how to shoot when there was nothing but white snow, white steam, and black rock. He suggested I lean into it. Instead of looking for colors that weren’t there, he advised me to focus on the black-and-white extremes and embrace the high-key contrast. I took shots of waves of white steam cresting between black cliffs, and close-ups of the ice crystals that covered every rock and quivering leaf like a sorcerer’s spell.</p><p>The next day we visited Dimmuborgir, or the “Dark Fortress” lava field, which inspired the name of our cabins. It is also where Game of Thrones filmed scenes featuring the wildlings — the uncivilized “free folk” who live beyond civilization’s northernmost border. Hiking through this jagged labyrinth, I saw profiles of trolls and giants in the craggy rock faces, and tried to capture them on camera. Then I pulled out two faces of my own: <em>Game of Thrones</em> action figurines of Jon Snow and his wildling lover, Ygritte. I staged silly, cinematic shots of the two statuettes, imagining how the show’s directors shot their real-life avatars in this exact setting. Just then three Turkish tourists materialized, as if from thin air. They spoke very little English, but pointed at my figures shouting, “Jon Snow! Jon Snow!” One managed to ask me if I was working on the show; when I told her I was not, their grins disappeared, and then they did too, like fangirl Cheshire cats.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Photo Gear for Travelers</a></p><p>Over the next few days, Benvie led us from one photographic location to the next, like a hunting guide goosing the odds of our getting a great shot. We visited Námafjall, with its roiling geothermal mud pits that stank of the sulfur once mined for medicine and gunpowder. As we explored, I found that, despite the brutal cold, I was starting to enjoy the ritual of walking, hiking, and looking. Focus became more than a lens ring I twisted; it became a way of seeing the world.</p><p><img src="" /></p><p>On the last day<b>, </b>I decided to stay behind and edit photos on my laptop. Reviewing the small proportion of images I hadn’t deleted, I began to see some progress. Because I hadn’t been thinking about technique as much over the past few days, my photographs had begun to look a little less clichéd. My favorite was a group portrait of my fellow travelers, all lined up in a near-blizzard, appearing to photograph nothing but blank whiteness.</p><p>I looked up from my laptop to see Benvie’s wife, Charlotte, our cohost and an enthusiastic amateur photographer, walking in the direction of a nearby farm, camera in hand. Pulling on my coat to join her, I realized, in a panic, that Benvie had left with the van containing my bag and my magic camera. Reluctantly, I grabbed my six-year-old, entry-level Canon Rebel — and rushed to catch up with Charlotte, who was already shooting horses outside the farm.</p><img alt="Horse in Iceland "src=""><p>While I played around with my wide-angle lens, trying to exaggerate the horses’ features, the sky suddenly erupted in color over our heads. It wasn’t exactly a sunset; Benvie later explained it was a display of “polar stratospheric clouds” — the most intense example any of the locals could remember. The clouds were filled with ice crystals, which refracted the sinking sunlight into shards of green and pink and orange, sending them slicing across the horizon and reflecting off the lake.</p><p>All I knew was that it was the most spectacular sunset I’d ever seen, and I didn’t have my magic camera to capture it. I didn’t even have my tripod, so I had to wedge my camera into the snow. When my memory card filled up, I deleted photos; then my camera battery died, so I just sat and let the colors wash over me.</p><p>I admit, I had been skeptical about taking a <em>Game of Thrones</em> tour. I’d always cringed at tourists who treat whole countries like backdrops for TV-inspired selfies. But out in that field, I realized I’d never looked so closely at any place I’d visited. The camera helped me to see details I would otherwise have missed.</p><img alt="Detail of a birch tree in Iceland "src=""><p>As I watched the sky ripple with color, I remembered a blog post I’d read by George R. R. Martin. “Reality is mud brown and olive drab,” he wrote. “Fantasy is obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli…. We read fantasy to find the colors again.” As I watched the strange, iridescent sky turn dark, I realized I’d found the colors again. My quest was complete.</p><h2>How to do Northern Iceland</h2><p>Venture into the extreme landscape that inspired the frigid north in <em>Game of Thrones</em><i> </i>— either on a weeklong photography tour or a regular sightseeing trip.</p><h2>Getting There &amp; Around</h2><p>Fly into Keflavík Airport outside Reykjavík and spend a day taking in the sights of the capital. From there, it’s a 45-minute flight to Akureyri, on the northern coast. In winter, weather can be extremely unpredictable, so if you decide to rent a car, make sure it’s a four-wheel-drive with snow tires. An even safer option is to use a local company like <a href="" target="_blank">Geo Travel Iceland</a><i>,</i> which can get you around the island in everything from a Hummer to a dogsled.</p><h2>Akureyri</h2><p>Make Iceland’s second-largest city your jumping-off point. After snapping a few pictures of the oddly geometric <a href="" target="_blank">Akureyrarkirkja church</a> in the quaint downtown area, I picked up a collection of Norse mythology at the <a href="" target="_blank">Eymundsson bookstore</a>, some backup winter wear at the <a href="" target="_blank">66°North</a> shop, and an excellent coffee at Bláa Kannan Café (96 Hafnarstræti; 354-461-4600).</p><h2>Lake Mývatn</h2><p>In warm weather, this shallow lake is a haven for bird-watchers. In winter, it’s an icy base camp from which to explore the caves, waterfalls, and hiking trails of the region. We stayed at <a href="" target="_blank">Dimmuborgir Guesthouse</a> <em>(doubles from $116)</em><i>,</i> a collection of wooden cabins on the lake’s eastern shore. It offers spectacular sunset views and simple meals of local food, including some delicious smoked fish. It’s also a 10-minute drive from <a href="" target="_blank">Mývatn Nature Baths</a><i>,</i> one of the largest and best-reviewed hot-spring spas in Iceland.</p><h2>Tour Operator</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Wild Photography Holidays</a> offers a variety of guided photography tours to Iceland, including Northern Lights, Waterfalls, and Game of Thrones Locations. Instruction in the field is complemented by tutorials in photo development and editing back at base camp. <em>(Seven nights from $3,935 per person.)</em></p><h2>What to Pack</h2><p>Invest in a <a href="" target="_blank">solid camera kit</a>, including lenses, laptop, and plenty of absorbent cloths for wiping off snow. (Buy your gear before you leave; camera stores are not plentiful in Iceland.) Batteries die faster in the cold, so bring spares. If you’re hoping to shoot the aurora borealis, don’t leave home without a fast, wide-angle lens and a headlamp. Waterproof winter wear is very important: head-to-toe woolen thermals, sturdy walking boots, and tactical gloves for your camera hands are all highly recommended.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Emirates Flight Attendant Won Miss Scotland 2018 — and Then Got Right Back to Work

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:15
<p><em>This story originally appeared on <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p>Meet 24-year-old Linzi McLelland, who recently won Miss Scotland 2018 then went straight back to work as a flight attendant for Emirates airlines.</p><p>McLelland beat out 11 other contestants to win the coveted crown in <a href="" target="_blank">Glasgow this June.</a> She had previously <a href="" target="_blank">competed unsuccessfully in 2014</a>.</p><p>This week, the Dubai-based airline launched flights to Edinburgh — and McLelland has been at the forefront of their PR campaign.</p><p>Flights between Dubai and Edinburgh are now scheduled for one a day for the rest of the year, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Emirates Woman</a>.</p><p>McLelland has lived in Dubai for the last two years, but told <a href="" target="_blank">Scottish press</a> she is glad to be back in her homeland as the country's new poster girl.</p><p>"Being Miss Scotland is not just about outer beauty, it's about inner beauty too, and what you can do for others," she <a href="" target="_blank">said</a>.</p><p>"I also travel the world in my job and see how beautiful Scotland is."</p><p>The flight attendant regularly posts pictures of her travels on Instagram, even though much of her time is now spent on <a href="" target="_blank">Emirates' Promotions Team</a>. Here she is in Monaco...</p><p>...and Paris.</p><p>She recently climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland in support of the Scottish Association for Mental Health. She's also a Suicide Awareness Ambassador, according to her <a href="">Instagram bio</a>.</p><p>Alongside her day job at Emirates, McLelland is competing in the Miss World grand final held in China later this year.</p><p>McLelland is not the only notable member of staff Emirates has onboard.</p><p>Last week the airline announced that <a href="">a female member of the UAE royal family</a> had flown passengers to Italy.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Could Get a Free Flight to Hawaii If You Book a Norwegian Cruise (Video)

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:02
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Norwegian Cruise Line</a> really wants you to try their service from Hawaii. So much so that they’ll pay to get you there.</p><p>Travelers who book a trip on the cruise line’s Pride of America ship can get free or reduced round-trip airfare to the ports of Hawaii, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Travel Weekly</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>Those flying out of five gateway airports on the West Coast will be able to nab free round-trip airfare for their trip to Hawaii. Those coming from other western states will be able to get a discounted rate of $299. Travelers flying from Miami to Hawaii will pay $799 in round-trip airfare.</p><p>Norwegian is hoping that the airfare deals will lure travelers back to Hawaii. After the <a href="" target="_blank">eruption of the Kilauea volcano</a> in May, the state experienced a summertime slump in tourism numbers.</p><p>On Sept. 22, <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii Volcanoes National Park</a> reopened to the public after being closed for about four months. "The destination is open, we just need to spread the word," Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart told <i>Travel Weekly</i>.</p><p>The airfare credit is effective from Oct. 4 on all Pride of America cruises from Hawaii. Book quickly as the offer is a limited time deal. </p>
Categories: Travel

This 'Fake' Drew Barrymore Interview Might Be the Strangest Article Ever Published in an In-flight Magazine

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:44
<p>An airline magazine published a potentially fake interview with <a href="" target="_blank">Drew Barrymore</a>, wherein the actress was supposedly quoted about leaving acting to raise her daughters, how she lost weight after childbirth and why she has had several failed relationships.</p><p>The article starts off by saying, “Despite being unstable in her relationships most of her life,” and continues with the same tone throughout the piece, accounting her failed relationships to a lack of a steady male presence in her life.</p><p>The piece claims that Barrymore said “women exert tremendous efforts that men are incapable of exerting due to their numerous commitments and obligations” and that she encourages “every woman who is overweight to work on regaining her beauty and body, especially that it is not as hard as one may think; it is all about determination and following the appropriate diet under the supervision of a physician.”</p><p>The president of Barrymore Brands, Chris Miller, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Buzzfeed</em></a>, "I'm not aware of this and don't<em> </em>have any record of this interview happening." A spokesperson for Barrymore <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Huffington Post</em></a><i> </i>that the actress never had an interview with the writer and that her team is “working with the airline PR team.”</p><p>EgyptAir has denied any knowledge of the interview being false, saying on Twitter, “this a professional magazine interview conducted by Dr. Aida Tekla Former president of the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and one of the voting members of the Golden Globes.”</p><p>Miller went on to tell <em>Buzzfeed</em> that Tekla — who is known as <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly</a> professional — “did write the Q&amp;A portion of the interview based on what she says she heard Drew say at one of these [HFPA] press conferences." Tekla, who was at one point the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, claims she did not write the intro, but that she did interview Barrymore.</p><p>Whatever the truth is behind the article, this is the Drew Barrymore-EgyptAir drama we didn't know we needed. </p>
Categories: Travel