Travel and Leisure - Msn Feeds
Updated: 4 hours 48 min ago

New Details Emerge From Tragic Tour Boat Accident in Thailand

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:11
<p>A tour boat capsized off the resort island of Phuket in Thailand last week after encountering a heavy storm, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Guardian</em></a>. At least 41 people onboard were killed, and at least 15 others are still missing.</p><p>In a press conference over the weekend, Phuket’s governor, Norraphat Plodthong, told reporters that the boat capsized after it was hit by 16-foot waves. At the time of the storm the boat, named the Phoenix, was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists. Most of the tourists were Chinese, Plodthong said.</p><p>“It’s very difficult to see,” Philip Entremont, a rescue diver at the scene, told reporters. “It’s traumatic, it’s tragic but the best thing to do, our job as divers, is to bring back the bodies to their families.”</p><p>Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued a statement expressing his “sympathies and deepest condolences” to the families of the victims. He added that the local government will “exert all efforts to find those still missing and provide support to all survivors of this tragic event.”</p><p>Pongpanu Svetarundra, the permanent secretary for tourism, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Bangkok Post</em></a> that the Tourist Police Bureau and the Department of Tourism will jointly investigate the tour firm to see if it violated any rules leading to the accident. The <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a> the captain of the Phoenix has already been charged with “careless conduct leading to death.” He could face more than three years in jail.</p><p>According to the <em>Bangkok Post</em>, the Thai government will offer compensation to affected tourists in case of “deaths, losses of organs, eyesight or and disability.” The compensation payments, Svetarundra explained, will amount to one million baht ($30,000) each and medical payments of up to 500,000 baht ($15,000). Panas Theerawanitkul, an executive of Bangkok Insurance, which represents the Phoenix, will also offer victims additional compensation. According to Theerawanitkul, staff from the insurance company would be dispatched to the hospitals treating victims to help expedite compensation.</p><p>In a small ray of hope, the <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press</a> reported Monday that five people who were previously thought to have died in the accident were actually alive. It is unclear if the five people escaped the boat, or never got on it in the first place.</p>
Categories: Travel

JetBlue Flight Attendants Saved French Bulldog Who Couldn't Breathe on Flight

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:42
<p>Flight attendants on a JetBlue flight last week reportedly saved a French bulldog with an oxygen tank and breathing mask.</p><p>Darcy, a three-year-old French bulldog, started panting heavily on her flight from <a href="" target="_blank">Orlando</a> to Massachusetts last week. Her owner, Michele Burt, saw that the dog’s tongue and gums were blue, a sign of insufficient oxygen.</p><p>Darcy sat on Burt’s lap to calm down but she was still breathing fast. Flight attendants brought over ice packs to help. When Darcy continued her abnormal breathing, one flight attendant brought over an oxygen tank and a breathing mask. After Darcy breathed through the mask for a few minutes, she became alert and returned to normal.</p><p>“We all are affected by cabin pressure and oxygen fluctuations, human, canine and feline, etc., but the fact that the Attendants were responsive and attentive to the situation may have saved Darcy’s life,” Burt wrote on Facebook.</p><p>Burt confirmed that Darcy made a complete recovery and is fine post-flight.</p><p>“As a French bulldog owner myself, I knew the dog was overheating and needed some ice,” Renaud Fenster, one of the flight attendants, told <em>Good Morning America</em>. “I brought the dog some ice, and that didn't do anything. So I called the captain, and I told him, ‘I think I need to use some oxygen,’ and he said, ‘Go ahead.’ And right then and there, placed the oxygen on the dog and the dog revived like nothing else.”</p><p>“We all want to make sure everyone has a safe and comfortable fight, including those with four legs,” JetBlue <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement to <em>ABC News</em></a>. “We’re thankful for our crew’s quick thinking and glad everyone involved was breathing easier when the plane landed in Worcester.”</p><p>French bulldogs, like many other short-nosed dog breeds, are prone to respiratory problems. Several airlines ban these types of breeds from flying in cargo as the change in air pressure can cause severe breathing problems.</p>
Categories: Travel

Travel YouTubers Known for Dangerous Stunts Die After Falling Down Waterfall in Canada (Video)

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 07:20
<p>Three members of a YouTube travel vlog group died in Canada last week after they were swept away by a waterfall.</p><p>The members of the vlog collective High On Life were swimming in a pool system at the top of Shannon Falls in British Columbia on July 3, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Washington Post</em></a>. They were walking along the ledge of the pool when one of the vloggers, Megan Scraper, slipped and fell into the water. Her two companions, Ryker Gamble and Alexey Lyakh, dove in after to save her. But all three were swept away by a strong current and plummeted nearly 100 feet.</p><p>“The world has lost a great deal of light with their passing,” one member of the High on Life group said in a memorial YouTube video. “They lived every single day to its fullest. They stood for positivity, courage, and living the best life that you can. And they shared and taught their values to millions of people worldwide.”</p><p>The vlogging group is known for their adventurous videos, often filmed at the tops of precipices.</p><p>They have gathered more than a million followers on <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram</a>.</p><p>Last year, Gamble and Lyakh were <a href="" target="_blank">arrested and banned from U.S. public lands</a> for five years after walking off the boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park and taking a bicycle off the roadway at Death Valley National Park. A judge also ordered that they remove all social media posts documenting their “illegal activities” in the national parks.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Postal Service Accidentally Used a Photo of the Statue of Liberty in Vegas, and the Mistake Is Going to Cost $3.5 Million

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 06:31
<p>Everyone makes mistakes. Even, it seems, the United States Post Office.</p><p>This mistake, however, is a bit more costly than misplacing one of your packages. It turns out, the Statue of Liberty Forever stamps released by the U.S.P.S. in 2010 don’t actually show New York's Lady Liberty, and it’s costing the organization $3.5 million.</p><p>So, who is this faux Lady Liberty? She’s not too far off, depending on who you ask. She’s actually the Statue of Liberty replica at the New York New York casino hotel in Las Vegas.</p><p>Looking at the stamp, it seems like an easy mistake. After all, the photo does look a lot like the statue, except that it’s actually the wrong color and slightly different proportions.</p><p>The U.S.P.S. noticed the problem three months after the stamps were released. Over 3 billion were printed. Still, the organization wasn’t too bothered by the mistake, giving a sense that the replica and the original are fairly interchangeable.</p><p>“We really like the image and are thrilled that people have noticed in a sense..If you ask people in Vegas, they're saying, ‘Hey, That's great. That's wonderful.’ It's certainly injected some excitement into our stamp program,” a USPS spokesman told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>CNN</em> in 2011</a>.</p><p>Unfortunately, courts have recently ruled in favor of a suit filed by the replica’s sculptor, Robert Davidson, that requires the U.S.P.S. to pay him $3.5 million for copyright infringement.</p><p>According to <a href="">USA Today</a>, the suit states that the replica and the original are undoubtedly different. Davidson’s replica was made to be “more ‘fresh-faced,’ ‘sultry’ and even ‘sexier.’” than the original, therefore making it an original design.</p><p>A side by side comparison of the statues shows that they could be fairly distinguishable from each other. Besides the issue of copyright infringement, a commemorative stamp named “Lady Liberty Forever” becomes slightly ironic when it’s a photo of a Las Vegas replica that’s only two-fifths the size of the original.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Tiny Bridge Houses Are the Best Way to Enjoy the Amsterdam Canals

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 14:01
<p>Amsterdam’s canals are an iconic draw for travelers. Now, there’s an even better way to get the best view, even after you turn in for the night.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">SWEETs Hotel</a>, a collaboration between architects Space and Matter and the team behind Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam, has transformed small buildings, known as bridge houses, into tiny hotel rooms, each with its own distinct character, directly along the canal.</p><p>A total of 28 bridge houses are being renovated into luxurious, two-person suites while keeping the historical exteriors of the buildings preserved. So, a guest can book a suite that is totally equipped with modern, but small, comforts but housed within a building constructed in the 17th century.</p><p>“They all have a totally different character, both outside and now also inside. Not one is the same at all,” Space and Matter co-founder Suzanne Oxenaar <a href="" target="_blank">told CNN Travel</a>.</p><img alt="Amsterdam SWEETS Hotel "src=""><img alt="Amsterdam SWEETS Hotel "src=""><img alt="Amsterdam SWEETS Hotel "src=""><p>Of course, since these buildings are quite small and unique to each other, fitting in some amenities like bathrooms was a design challenge. There is typically no kitchen, but there is a mini fridge and coffee and tea makers.</p><p>The bridge houses themselves, which are all over the city, were built in different time periods, so staying in one offers a unique, architectural view of Amsterdam.</p><p>She added that many people choose their room based on the neighborhood the room is in, historical time period the building was built or just the view.</p><p>“Where can you experience something better than in a place that has a kind of history?” Oxenaar <a href="" target="_blank">told CNN Travel</a>.</p><img alt="Amsterdam SWEETS Hotel "src=""><p>Nightly rates begin at €160 (about $188 USD). About 11 suites are <a href="" target="_blank">available to book now</a>, and more suites will become available starting in fall of this year.</p>
Categories: Travel

5 Secrets to Getting the Most Out of a Trip to Toy Story Land

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 13:01
<p>Looks like Buzz Lightyear and Woody’s new adventure is to go on vacation. The ragtag group of toys have finally made their way to Walt Disney World where <a href="" target="_blank">Toy Story Land</a>, the latest expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is now officially open.</p><p>Three attractions and a restaurant populate the 11-acre toy-strewn backyard of Toy Story’s main character, Andy, and the beloved toys he holds so dear, and among the large-scale dominoes, checkers, and Babybel cheeses are more insider references and under-the-radar photo opportunities than you might expect.</p><p>From larger-than-life characters to a sneak peek of something kept deeply under wraps, here’s everything you should get excited about before heading to Disney World’s new Toy Story Land.</p><h2>Pixar and Disney Easter Eggs Hidden Around the Land</h2><p>At Toy Story Land there are just as many familiar faces as there are hidden secrets.</p><p>The queue for Alien Swirling Saucers circles around a massive laser gun, modeled after the one used on <a href="" target="_blank">Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters</a> at Disneyland Resort, and also has a nod to long-standing Easter egg A113 within the space-themed bays. Slinky Dog Dash’s line is filled with oversized toy boxes and packaging like the Dash &amp; Dodge Mega Coaster Kit made in Emeryville, California — the location of Pixar Animation Studios — and a sticker book wall with nods to Pizza Planet and Triple R Ranch, both of which have appeared as hidden surprises in Pixar films of their own.</p><p>And just before you board the speedy coaster, look to the right of the doodle backdrop; hidden among the cartoon sky is a Hidden Mickey in the clouds.</p><h2>Surprise Photo Ops</h2><p>Photos with characters aren’t the only snapshots you’ll want, and with so many photo opportunities, you’ll want to head in prepared.</p><p>Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear meet fans throughout the land, and are generally spread out with one near each attraction. Slinky Dog Dash ride photos are taken just before the end — be sure to look towards the camera on the right — and if you can’t get your picture in front of the towering Woody at Toy Story Land’s entrance, head towards the back where Buzz Lightyear is just as impressive and likely sporting a shorter queue.</p><img alt="Toy Story Land at Disney World "src=""><p>Don’t shy away from being inventive, either. Fans are already repurposing a popsicle stick wall, colorful block wall and the oversized Pixar ball in the land’s center as Instagram-worthy backdrops.</p><h2>Logistics</h2><p>Toy Story Land surrounds a lengthy pathway and its single restroom is way in the back, so pop into the one by the entrance before heading in. There’s minimal shade in Toy Story Land, too, so be sure to pack a hat and pile on the sunblock.</p><p>Two adorably themed merchandise carts are set up near the center — one even looks like a Fisher-Price Play Family Camper — but to get your hands on the full range of launching Slinky Dog Coaster toys and wind-up Alien Swirling Saucers cars, make your way towards to the corner of Beverly and Sunset Boulevard near the front of the park where a Pixar shop is stuffed with take-home goodies.</p><h2>An Unexpected Preview of Star Wars Land</h2><p>Dying to know when <a href="" target="_blank">Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge</a> is opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? No date has yet been confirmed, but you can guess for yourself from the top of Slinky Dog Dash’s second drop. The coaster, which is faster than guests anticipated but still child-friendly, reaches a height that gives a crystal-clear view of the rock work and architecture within the forthcoming Star Wars-themed expansion — that is, if you can manage to keep your eyes open.</p><h2>More Than a Daytime Attraction</h2><img alt="Toy Story Land at Disney World "src=""><p>Plot twist: Toy Story Land is just as good, if not better, come sundown. You’ll want to visit Woody, Buzz and friends during the day and also in the evening to get the full experience of this colorful new land, so plan your vacation schedules accordingly.</p><p>String lights, which are looped between TinkerToy towers, turn on at night for a festive backyard feel as attractions glow bright purple in the night sky. Slinky Dog Dash is even more thrilling in the dark — it’s quickly become one of the best evening rides — but it’s the coaster’s second launch, which glows like a real light-up toy, that makes it all the more exciting.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Artist Creates Remarkable 3-D Sketches of the World's Most Beautiful Landmarks

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 12:31
<p>Italian artist Pietro Cataudella is offering a new perspective of iconic historical landmarks with his series of half-sketch, half-photograph images, which he features on his Instagram account <a href="" target="_blank">CityLiveSketch</a>. (He's also on <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and has a <a href="" target="_blank">blog</a>.)</p><p>His technique seamlessly blends his sketch from a notebook into the landscape around him, creating a 3D-like image.</p><img alt="Pietro Cataudella @CityLiveSketch "src=""><p>Cataudella started his project in Sicily, where he lives, in 2014. In order to create the images, he sketches the landmark he wants to recreate and then takes a photo.</p><p>“The project is a combination of my passions for drawing, photography and travel. The goal is to show beauty in a different way, using only my skills, creativity and imagination,” Cataudella told <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Daily Mail</em></a>. “I never studied illustration, architecture or other related disciplines, my works are the result of hard work, passion and desire to improve myself.”</p><p>He has sketched the Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, castles in Gaeta, and the Colosseum in Rome. But his artworks are not just confined to Italy, he has also drawn the <a href="" target="_blank">Eiffel Tower</a> in Paris and Tower Bridge in London.</p><p>He sometimes likes to put an original spin on landmarks, like turning the Leaning Tower of Pisa into a coffee pot.</p><p>In addition to his breathtaking landmark drawings, he also posts adorable sketches of everyday objects like muffins transforming into corgis and mushrooms morphing into animals like swans, flamingos and giraffes.</p>
Categories: Travel

This State Has the Most Fast Food Restaurants Per Capita

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:00
<p>Even though the U.S. is famous for its burgers and fries, you won’t have the same fast food experience in every state.</p><p>According to a report by web data company Datafiniti, states can vary quite a bit when it comes to how many fast food restaurants are available to hungry diners.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Is the Only Fast Food Ina Garten Will Eat</a></p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">KFC's Low Odor Fried Chicken Would Make the Ideal Airplane Snack</a></p><p>Alabama came in first in the report, which ranked states based on the number of fast food options per capita, with 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents. Nebraska came in second, with 5.4 restaurants per 10,000 residents, followed by West Virginia and Oklahoma at 5.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents.</p><p>However, as you travel northeast, you might have more trouble finding your Big Mac fix. Vermont came in dead last with only 1.9 fast food restaurants per 10,000 people. New Jersey beat that just slightly with 2.0 restaurants per 10,000 residents, while New York and Mississippi have 2.1 restaurants per 10,000 people.</p><img alt="Mount Garfield and the city of Grand Junction Colorado "src=""><p>In general, the report showed that southern and central states had the most fast food joints per capita, with the exception of Mississippi.</p><p>The report also listed the cities with the most fast food stops per person, putting Orlando, Las Vegas, and Cincinnati in the top three, and New York City in last place.</p><p>And it may come as a surprise that those Golden Arches did not dominate the map. According to the report, Subway (18.5% of the data set) beat out McDonald’s (11.3%) as the most accessible chain. Burger King (5.7%) rounded out the top three.</p><p>More information on the report can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Datafiniti website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Stay in the Hotel Suite Where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio Once Lived

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 11:00
<p>Forget diamonds — this hotel suite is a girl's best friend.</p><p>In honor of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">The Lexington Hotel</a> in New York City has named one of its luxurious suites the Norma Jeane Suite.</p><p>The 600-square-foot suite uses Monroe’s birth name, Norma Jeane Mortenson. Monroe is said to have lived in that very suite with her husband at the time, New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio, while filming "The Seven Year Itch." The stars were married for just 274 days, from <a href="" target="_blank">January to October 1954</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Inside the San Diego Hotel That's Hosted Marilyn Monroe, Oprah — and a Resident Ghost</a></p><p>The design company, Fringe, remodeled the palatial room from top to bottom with gorgeous art depicting the actress, marble floors, a huge bathroom with a bathtub that even a movie star would love, and a walk-in closet decorated with Bloomingdale’s bags. The suite also features a 200-square-foot terrace for looking out at the <a href="" target="_blank">New York City skyline</a>.</p><img alt="The Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection, Norma Jean Suite, Marilyn Monroe "src=""><img alt="The Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection, Norma Jean Suite, Marilyn Monroe "src=""><p>The suite has a pink, gray, white, and black color scheme with little red accents scattered throughout — presumably a nod to Monroe’s signature red lipstick. You can also see some details dedicated to DiMaggio, like a baseball bat in the umbrella stand.</p><p>Even though it has a very vintage feel, the room also comes with all the modern amenities like a flat screen TV, microwave, Keurig coffee maker, Wi-Fi, iHome, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Fitting, since fans will remember how Monroe <a href="" target="_blank">loved her ice box</a> in the movie.</p><img alt="The Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection, Norma Jean Suite, Marilyn Monroe "src=""><img alt="The Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection, Norma Jean Suite, Marilyn Monroe "src=""><p>Of course, experiencing old Hollywood glamour in New York City requires a high budget. The room will set you back $1,200 per night.</p><p>For more information on booking, visit the <a href="" target="_blank">The Lexington Hotel website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Oprah's Favorite Espadrilles Are Perfect for All Your Summer Trips

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 10:30
<p>If there’s anyone you can trust when it comes to suggesting comfortable, stylish and cool travel shoes, it’s Oprah Winfrey. After all, she is a <a href="" target="_blank">pretty frequent flier</a>.</p><p>This year it appears the queen of daytime television has fallen head over heels for <a href="" target="_blank">Vionic</a>, a shoe company that creates beautiful styles using high-tech fabrics meant to make your traveling feet feel comfortable all day long.</p><p>“Feet were designed to walk on soft, natural elements like soil and sand, not the hard, flat man-made surfaces that make up so much of our modern world,” Vionic explained on its site. “Our shoes and sandals hug your arches like a natural footprint, giving you all-day support.”</p><p>Oprah <a href="" target="_blank">has been photographed</a> in the brand’s <a href=",Oprah%E2%80%99sCuteTravel-friendlySneakersAreActuallyOrthopedic,duongk,STY,ART,676954,201804,I/" target="_blank">espadrille-sneaker hybrid</a>, which comes complete with orthopedic support. And now, for the second time this year, Oprah graced the pages of her O Magazine wearing <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";psc=1" target="_blank">Vionic’s Valeri Espadrille Flat</a>.</p><p>The shoes, Vionic explained, come with stretch fabric uppers and are an easy slip-on style perfect for warmer destinations.</p><p>The shoe also comes with a removable, microfiber-lined EVA footbed that provides additional support and a durable outer sole that will last through all your travels. Best of all, the shoe weighs just 6 oz, meaning it will barely make a dent in your luggage.</p><img alt="Vionic Women's Espadrille Flat "src=""><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";psc=1" target="_blank"></a>, $34.99</p><p>Vionic also has a range of other styles including sneakers, booties, wedges and heels, which Oprah may or may not love, too.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Spring Creek Wildfire in Colorado Transformed Overnight Into a Fire Tsunami

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 16:58
<p>The Spring Creek wildfire in southern Colorado swelled into a 300-foot-tall “fire tsunami” this week, charring more than 103,000 acres of land.</p><p>No injuries have been reported, however more than 130 homes have been destroyed and another 110 damaged by the fire.</p><p>The blaze grew by more than 8,000 acres over Wednesday night, prompting local fire fighters to name the massive fire a “fire tsunami.” The fire in the San Luis Valley started on June 27 and has since grown to become the third largest wildfire in Colorado history.</p><p>“It was a perfect firestorm,” public information officer Ben Brack <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Denver Post</em></a>. “You can imagine standing in front of a tsunami or tornado and trying to stop it from destroying homes. A human response is ineffective.”</p><p>Winds have blown in and changed the fire’s course multiple times, making it particularly difficult for firefighters to battle. So far, the fire has engulfed more than 103,000 acres of land.</p><p>Rain on Thursday helped firefighters contain the flames. While the rain did not put out the fire, it helped stop spread. Residents are being warned that the rainfall could cause flash flooding.</p><p>The fire was unintentionally started last week by a man cooking on a firepit who did not completely extinguish the flame before going to bed. <a href="" target="_blank">He has been arrested for arson</a>.</p><p>The wildfire is one of <a href="" target="_blank">10 currently active in Colorado</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

New Details Reveal the 'Star Wars' Hotel at Walt Disney World Will Have Special Access

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 16:51
<p>Fans staying at <a href="" target="_blank">Walt Disney World</a>’s Star Wars hotel will have their own route to the park.</p><p>According to permits filed with the South Florida Water Management District, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Orlando Sentinel</em> reports</a>, guests of the new hotel will be able to make a short drive from the Hollywood Studios’ parking lot over a drainage canal to get to the main hotel entrance.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Secret Attraction at Disney World That Most Guests Don’t Know About</a></p><p>In addition to driving, pedestrians will be able to walk to a special entrance that will put guests between the Millennium Falcon and Battle Escape attractions.</p><p>According to plans <a href="" target="_blank">revealed on <em>WDW News Today</em></a>, the hotel itself will have limited on-site parking. However, it seems valet parking will be made available. The hotel will be located east of World Drive, on the south side of Hollywood Studios.</p><p>The unnamed hotel does not yet have a confirmed opening date, and so far, very few details have been released. Some renderings of proposed interiors like guest rooms and common areas have been released, but there have been no official photos.</p><p>But Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks &amp; Resorts, told the <em>Orlando Sentinel</em> that the hotel will be an innovative addition to the resort. And a real treat for fans.</p><p>“It’s unlike anything that exists today,” Chapek said. “It is 100 percent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Your Favorite Sunscreen May Become Illegal in Hawaii

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 15:59
<p>Your sunscreen may soon be illegal in Hawaii.</p><p>Governor David Ige is expected to sign a bill this week that will make Hawaii the first state to ban sunscreens containing harmful chemicals in an effort to protect marine life.</p><p>The chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, while effective at preventing skin cancer, could be contributing to bleaching of coral reefs, <a href="" target="_blank">according to several environmental studies</a>. The chemicals can also kill new coral growths.</p><p>It’s difficult to avoid these chemicals when purchasing sunscreen, as up to 70 percent of sunscreens currently on the U.S. market include oxybenzone or octinoxate. Major brands with the banned chemicals include Banana Boat, Coppertone, and Hawaiian Tropic.</p><p>The law will make it illegal to sell and distribute sunscreens with the chemicals. However, the law will not affect tourists who bring banned sunscreens from home. The ban will go into effect in 2021.</p><p>“When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the perfect place to set the gold standard for the world to follow,” state senator Mike Gabbard, who introduced the bill, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Honolulu Star Advertiser</em></a>. “This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health.”</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The island of Bonaire</a>, in the Caribbean, will also ban sunscreens with these chemicals, starting in 2021.</p><p>Mineral-based sunscreens that don’t come off in the water are among the best options for travelers who still want to protect their skin without harming the coral reefs. These sunscreens use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect sun away from the skin. For some options, check out our <a href="" target="_blank">list of reef-safe sunscreens</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

France’s Green Volcanoes Just Received UNESCO World Heritage Status

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 15:17
<p>There are some places in France that everyone knows are worth a visit: the city of Paris, the lavender fields of Provence, the cliffs of the Cote d'Azur. But fewer people know about the volcanoes in the center of the country.</p><p>The Chaîne des Puys, or volcano chain, in the Rhone-Alpes region of France was <a href="" target="_blank">granted UNESCO World Heritage status</a> this week.</p><img alt="Regional Nature Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne. An elevated view of the Chaîne des Puys viewed from near the summit of Puy de Pariou. "src=""><p>More than 35 million years ago, in the aftermath of the creation of the Alps, a tectonic rift in Western Europe formed the chain. The last known explosion was in 4,040 B.C. And in its almost 6,000 years of being dormant, the chain has grown into a lush patch of greenery.</p><p>The 25-mile-long chain features several dormant volcano structures like cinder cones, lava domes, and explosion craters. <a href="" target="_blank">According to UNESCO</a>, the chain is “an exceptional illustration of continental break-up – or rifting – which is one of the five major stages of plate tectonics.”</p><img alt="France, Puy de Dome, the Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne, Chaine des Puys, Orcines, the crater of Puy Pariou volcano "src=""><p>Located in <a href="" target="_blank">Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park</a>, the chain is a unique series of green volcanic peaks that visitors can hike for a spectacular panoramic view. <a href="" target="_blank">According to Auvergne Tourism</a>, the hike itself is “pleasant and simple, by means of recently built wooden steps.” It’s also possible to take part in horseback rides, motorcycle rides or fishing in the region.</p><p>The range is the first natural landmark in mainland France to be awarded UNESCO status.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Louvre Is Offering Jay-Z and Beyoncé Tours to See Every Artwork in Their Recent Music Video

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 15:05
<p>There is now one more reason to visit Paris (as if we needed one).</p><p>Members of the Beyhive will be delighted to hear that the <a href="" target="_blank">Musée du Louvre</a> is now offering 90-minute Jay-Z and Beyoncé tours after the couple filmed a music video their hit single, “Apesh*t,” at the museum.</p><p>The tours highlight the 17 artworks that were featured in the video, including Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait d’une négresse, Jacques Louis David’s The Coronation of Napoleon, Théodore Géricault’s The Charging Chasseur and The Raft of the Medusa, and of course, da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa.</p><p>One drawback: The tours are currently all in French and self-guided. So, hopefully you have a good translator in your group if you don’t already speak the language. The museum may add new languages soon, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Lonely Planet</em></a>.</p><p>The tours themselves do not seem to relate the works in the museum to the context in which they are used in the video. In most, if not all cases, the works represent an aspect of African American identity.</p><p>The music video is the first single off of The Carters’ album, Love is Everything, which is on Tidal.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Should Be Skeptical of 'One Room Left' Alerts on Hotel Booking Sites

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 11:30
<p>Alerts that there is only “one room left” on hotel booking sites are misleading and may not be true at all, according to a new investigation from a U.K. watchdog.</p><p>The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a government competition regulator, released a report last week with the results of an eight-month investigation into hotel booking sites.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Single Best Way to Save on a Hotel Room</a></p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Simple Request That Will Get You a Bigger Hotel Room for Free</a></p><p>The report called out booking sites for “pressure selling.” These buy-now-or-pay-more deals may create a false impression of availability or rush customers into making a speedy purchase.</p><p>“Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected, whether that’s securing the discount promised or receiving reliable information about availability of rooms,” Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”</p><p>The investigation also concluded that the order of search results can be skewed. Hotels may appear earlier in searches simply because they’ve paid the site more in commission.</p><p>Other times, booking sites will tack on last-minute fees so the advertised “low price” is not what customers will actually pay.</p><p>The CMA declined to name specific sites partaking in the practice.</p><p>The regulator has sent alerts to booking sites to ensure they are advertising fair prices that comply with customer protection laws. “Our next step is to take any necessary action – including through the courts if needed – to ensure people get a fair deal,” Coscelli said.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Couple's Travel Horror Story Is a Reminder to Never Put Your Passport in the Airplane Seat Pocket

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 11:00
<p>Next time you board an international flight, <a href="" target="_blank">double — no, triple — check that your passport is with you</a>. Otherwise, you may run the risk of ruining your vacation, just like 27-year-old couple Lewis Mundy and Kimberley Floyd did. </p><p>According to the pair, who spoke to the <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Daily Mail</i></a>, they had been planning a trip to <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Akti Hotel</a> on the island of <a href="" target="_blank">Kos in Greece</a> for some time. They excitedly boarded their plane at London Gatwick, which is where the trouble began.</p><p>You see, according to the couple, they both put their passports in the seat pockets in front of them, buckled their seat belts, and settled in for the flight. Upon landing, the two stepped off the plane only to realize they both forgot their passports on board.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why You Should Check Your Passport's Expiration Date Right Now</a></p><p>However, when they searched the plane with the crew members, their passports were nowhere to be found. So, according to the couple, they were not allowed into Greece as they had no identification. Instead, they were sent home to the United Kingdom on a flight 30 minutes after they had arrived. </p><p>“We were supposed to be sunning it up in Greece but instead ended up at Stansted,” Mundy told the <i>Daily Mail.</i> “There's no sign of our passports and we've had no help, no compensation, nothing. We've done everything we could but no one seems to care.”</p><p>To make matters worse, the pair said they also had to forfeit their $1,800 reservations at the hotel.</p><p>“They didn't care, they gave us a boarding pass and chucked us on the next flight, we didn't get a choice — it was disgusting,” Floyd said. “It was a nightmare, the biggest you could imagine,” Mundy added.</p><p>However, according to a statement by TUI UK, the airline the couple flew with, there was nothing they could do.</p><p>“We're sorry to hear of Mr Mundy and Ms Floyd's very rare experience on their flight to Greece,” a spokesperson said. “As a result of not having their passports they were not allowed into the country and were flown back to the UK. After searching the aircraft thoroughly we can confirm their passports were not found. We would like to remind customers, as we generally do before they leave the aircraft, to ensure they have all their personal possessions with them and to take responsibility of their personal items at all times.”</p><p>So, remember, when they say to make sure to bring all your personal belongings with you, they really, really mean it.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Spectacular Canadian Wildlife Reserve Is so Remote, You Can Only Get There Five Weeks a Year

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 10:40
<p>Canada’s Inuit people call the polar bear <em>nanuk.</em> In Torngat Mountains National Park, an Inuit-run nature reserve in the northernmost part of Labrador, I lost count of how many <em>nanuk</em>s I saw, often just yards away, in the space of four days. As I skimmed the bottle-green depths of the park’s spectacular fjords in a Zodiac, they appeared everywhere: prowling the coastline, paddling through the shallows, surveying their dominion from the barren mountainsides.</p><p>My guides were three senior members of the Inuit community: Jacko Merkuratsuk and cousins John and Paul Jararuse. They explained that polar-bear populations in northeastern Canada are not just healthy but may actually be on the rise, thanks to regional conservation programs. They pointed out a mother and her two cubs swimming across a bay, their snouts and little round ears poking out of the frigid waves. We were able to get so close we could hear them hissing, a warning sound not unlike steam escaping from an engine. After peering at us and huffing a few times, the creatures chugged toward land, leaped onto shore, and began lumbering away over the boulders at remarkable speed. I stared after them in astonishment: I had never seen wildlife of such grandeur before.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Places to See Penguins, Polar Bears, Narwhals, and More</a></p><p>The <em>nanuk</em> commands serious respect among Inuit people, and with good reason. On arriving at the Torngat Mountains Base Camp, every visitor has to watch a half-hour video about staying alive in polar-bear country. The film makes it clear that the bears are highly intelligent and, as the alpha predator in these parts, not to be underestimated. The recommended response to a surprise face-to-face encounter goes as follows: aim desperate punches at the animal’s nose and, as the narrator shouted into our screen, “FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!”</p><p>Fortunately, there’s a sizable team of rifle-bearing Inuit guards in the park, and no visitor is allowed to venture beyond the buffer zone surrounding the base camp’s fenced-in, electrified perimeter without being accompanied by at least one of them. Several years ago, I was told, a group of hikers who attempted an overnight trip without notifying the guards were attacked as they slept in their tents, and one was mauled nearly to death. The lesson was clear: in the Torngats, if it’s humans versus the wilderness, the wilderness will win.</p><p>Like many Canadians, I’m fascinated by the idea of the far north, and by the possibility of connecting with and learning from the people whose ancestors inhabited this land long before European settlers arrived. Labrador borders my home province of Quebec, yet no Quebecker I know has ever been to the region. That’s partly because it’s complicated and expensive to get there, but also because, until the Torngat Mountains National Park’s visitor-friendly base camp was upgraded in 2010, there weren’t many places to stay. The camp, which doubles as a research facility, is open for just four or five weeks of the year, from late July to late August — the only time it’s warm enough to visit. Guests spend their days taking guided expeditions into the wilderness: hiking is the way to explore by land, helicopter by air, and Zodiac by sea.</p><p>The name <em>Torngat</em> means Place of Spirits in Inuktitut, the Inuit language. In the past, Inuit shamans would venture into this mountainous, 3,745-square-mile wilderness to communicate with the spirit realm. The park is located in the far northern tip of the remote, rugged province of Newfoundland and Labrador, within the autonomous Inuit region of Nunatsiavut. Inuit lived there year-round until the completion of a government-led relocation effort in 1959. One of the Inuit community’s guiding principles is defined by the phrase, “You find what you seek.” Should you be the kind of traveler who seeks a profound sense of our planet’s majesty, you will find it there.</p><img alt="Sights and people in Torngat Mountains National Park, Canada "src=""><p>Some rocks in the Torngats are almost 4 billion years old, making them among the oldest on earth. Simply being on my feet felt like straddling history — I could sense a kind of primeval energy billowing up from the ground. The mountains are geological mille-feuilles striated with ancient minerals in layers of ocher, copper, and taupe. In the park cafeteria one morning, I met a geologist who told me about the origins of this extraordinary topography, explaining that, many millennia ago, continental rifts caused the earth’s mantle to burst through its surface. In a way, he said, this is what the planet would look like turned inside out.</p><p>The park isn’t simply one of <a href="" target="_blank">Canada’s most striking corners</a>; it also embodies the nation’s efforts at reconciliation with its aboriginal peoples. The Inuit and their predecessors have inhabited Arctic Labrador for millennia, but during the 1950s, the government forced those communities to relocate southward, mainly to the towns of Nain, Hopedale, and Makkovik, where they were cut off from their way of life and underwent the notorious traumas of Canada’s residential school system. As part of land-claim settlements signed in 2005, the federal government agreed to hand control of this territory back to the Labrador Inuit and, in 2008, delivered on its promise to protect the Torngat region by granting it full national park status.</p><p>Flying there takes anywhere from a day or two up to a week, depending on the weather. This is the Arctic: scheduling extra days for contingencies is recommended. A fisheries researcher I met on the trip told me he recently sat through 10 days of storms waiting for flights to resume. “A week and a half late! The wife back home was pretty furious, eh?”</p><p>I was luckier. Arriving at Labrador’s Goose Bay airport with my friend John Cullen, who took the photographs for this story, I found our flight was due to take off within a few hours of its scheduled departure time. Once the conditions were right, a Twin Otter took us to Nain, the province’s northernmost town, and then an hour or so north to Saglek Bay, just outside the park. The plane, though cold and cramped, delivered a series of mind-blowing glimpses of the landscape below. I watched a pod of porpoises skim through the turquoise surface of the Labrador Sea and moose roam through the swaths of coniferous woodland covering the rocky Canadian Shield. The terrain was broken up by mirror-gray lakes, violet waterways, and forest-green bays. Then the spruce trees began to get smaller and sparser, until there were no trees anymore. We were now above the tree line, in the <a href="" target="_blank">Arctic tundra</a>.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">This Breathtaking Landscape Is Canada's Newest Protected Area</a></p><p>Soon, we were out over the ocean, a wrinkled cerulean tapestry broken, here and there, by icebergs. Then we entered a patch of cloud. The air in the plane grew colder. When the mist began to part, huge shapes appeared in the distance, indistinct at first. I couldn’t tell if they were mountains or some kind of low-air-pressure-induced hallucination. These were the Torngats, their glacier-capped peaks protruding above the clouds.</p><p>“What an incredible flight!” I exclaimed to the pilot as we stepped out onto the gravel landing strip at Saglek.<br />“You haven’t even seen the really beautiful stuff yet,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”</p><p>Arriving at Torngats base camp must feel a little like arriving on the moon. Part of the reason for that is the accommodation: a series of extraterrestrial-looking green geodesic domes, each of which comes equipped with propane heaters — crucial for getting through the chilly Arctic nights. The outer-space effect is compounded by the fact that the archaeologists, naturalists, and other scientists who use the camp as a research station, as well as many of the Inuit staff, often walk around in full-body mosquito suits, moon boots, and snow pants to protect themselves against the elements and the bugs. You’re also cut off from the rest of the world. There is a satellite phone for emergencies, and a weak Internet signal can sometimes be accessed in the cafeteria, but that’s it. Guests become part of a tiny human enclave set within a vast, permafrost wilderness.</p><p>On our first afternoon, we set off to explore the coastline by boat. Within minutes, we came across a <a href="" target="_blank">massive iceberg drifting gently</a> through the doldrums of the Labrador Sea like a blazing white palace. Everyone knows that the majority of any iceberg is actually submerged, but there’s something transformative about seeing the mansion-size tip with your own eyes, and contemplating what lies beneath. We could hear what’s known as the “bergy seltzer” — a popping soda-like sound caused by thousand-year-old air escaping from pockets in the ice.</p><img alt="Polar bear in Canada "src=""><p>Beyond all the <a href="" target="_blank">polar bears</a>, I was amazed at how much wildlife we spotted from the water as we toured the park coastline, from caribou on the tundra to bearded seals frolicking off the ice floes. Looking down through gin-clear water to the ocean floor, we could see colonies of sea urchins everywhere — enough uni to last several lifetimes. At one point, we rounded a headland to see a minke whale breaching right in front of our boat, flashing its dorsal fin as if flirting with us.</p><p>I asked John Jararuse what went through his mind when taking in such sights. “Home,” was his simple reply. Later that morning, he steered our boat into another fjord to show us a little plateau of greenery just above the shoreline, with nothing but a soaring wall of rocks as shelter. “This is where I was born,” he said. We all bobbed there in silence for a moment, imagining the drama of birth in such an open environment, so far from a hospital or modern comforts of any kind.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">You Can Swim — and Sing — With Adorable Beluga Whales in Canada</a></p><p>Inuit livelihoods have changed radically over the past half-century. Hunting and fishing are still a way of life, but these days, Merkuratsuk and the Jararuses live in Nain year-round, traveling to the Torngats for seasonal work. John Jararuse spoke to us of the painful realities he had experienced during the resettlements, being separated from his home and loved ones. But all the Inuit I met on this trip shared a sense of optimism and relief that this place has been returned to its rightful custodians. “Now that this is a national park, it will be safe for other generations,” Paul Jararuse said.</p><p>As we navigated the coastline, our guides talked about the old ways, how their families had thrived on this land, of their own happy childhoods here. They’d lived in the Torngats year-round, spending winter in igloos and sod houses at first and, later on, in homes they’d built in a now-abandoned community named Hebron. To survive in such an extreme climate (it’s so cold that, in places, the ground stays frozen all year) they relied on skills developed by their ancestors centuries earlier. These included being able to identify the medicinal properties of an array of fantastical-sounding indigenous plants. Their pharmacopoeia included a medicinal cottony grass called suputaujak, whose fluffy white seeds can be inserted into ear canals to help with earaches or used to staunch a newborn’s bleeding navel. They’d chew a tundra flower called the river beauty to prevent nosebleeds and mix black crowberries with fish roe and seal blubber to make suvalik, a kind of Inuit ice cream. As kids, they’d rub the leaves of northern bunchberry plants on their faces and giggle at the tickling sensations they caused.</p><p>As we bounced around through the waves, every new vista brought a fresh astonishment, from the shock of sudden color on a mossy hillside to the tranquility of mist curling through the opalescent bays. The mountains seemed as imposing and impressive as cathedrals of stone. In places, erosion had caused some of them to shatter apart into piles of scree deposits, which in turn had gradually formed rivulets of what look like crushed Oreo cookies. We saw Mount Razorback, ridged with jagged points, and Blow Me Down Mountain. “The name describes it, I’d say,” Merkuratsuk offered. “It’s windy up there. People have gotten blown off mountaintops here and died.”</p><p>On our last night, two Inuit throat singers joined us around the campfire, chanting in transcendental tones. In the past, missionaries forbade these songs, branding them demonic. Fortunately, the tradition survived, and anyone hearing the singers today can’t help being transfixed by the way they emulate the sound of wind coursing past rocks or water rushing along a riverbed.</p><img alt="Northern lights in Canada "src=""><p>As they sang, the <a href="" target="_blank">northern lights</a> appeared overhead, bright green vectors arcing through the firmament like gigantic flashlights. As we stood there next to the bonfire, our heads craned upward, it felt like something, or someone, was shining immense tunnels of light through the sky in order to survey its territory.</p><p>“How can you not believe in spirits in a place like this?” asked Evie Mark, a throat singer and cultural liaison for the park. “I sing to them all the time — to the spirit of the elements, of the mountains, of the rivers.”</p><p>These elements are perhaps at their most breathtaking in the corridor of cliffs rising above Tallek Arm, off Nachvak fjord. We were lucky enough to take a helicopter ride to that part of the park and, from above, got a sense of how the minerals leaching out of the mountains affect the surrounding waters. Some rivers were deep black, while other bodies of water shimmered with iridescent tones ranging from magenta to jade. Near Little Ramah Bay, we spotted a lake the pale blue of milky sapphires.</p><img alt="Fishing for arctic char in Canada "src=""><p>On my final afternoon, I joined a group of the staff on a fishing excursion. After casting for a while, I sat down on the shore next to Andrew Andersen, the park’s half-Inuit, half-Australian visitor-experience coordinator. “Guests want to hike and see polar bears and icebergs — all that’s super, but we also like it when visitors want to engage with us Inuit,” he told me. “A lot of people come here without knowing that this culture — our culture — is here. Many of them say that coming here changed their life, that it made them think in different ways.”</p><p>Andersen’s father, William Andersen III, was the president of the Labrador Inuit Association during the nineties and early aughts, and he played a key role in the talks that led to the national park status for Torngats. Andersen told me how his father spoke of this region as the Inuit gift to the rest of Canada and, by extension, the rest of the world. For travelers lucky enough to come here, that gift brings with it the chance to see this place as the Inuit do: as a land alive with elemental forces.</p><p>When I mentioned this to Andersen, he said that the relationship goes both ways. “Seeing this place the way you see it — the way newcomers react to things we’re familiar with — is also a gift for us, because it constantly allows us to see our homeland through fresh eyes and to be reminded of how special this place is,” he said. “Like all true gifts, it benefits the giver as much as the receiver.”</p><h2 align="left">How to Visit Torngat Mountains National Park</h2><p align="left">Set aside a week for a trip to this icy, rugged wilderness. You’ll need to plan carefully, but the experience will be unforgettable.</p><h2>Getting There</h2><p>Air Canada flies to Labrador’s Goose Bay airport from major U.S. hubs. From there, Parks Canada will arrange a puddle-jumper to Nain and, from there, a private charter flight to the Torngat landing strip. Weather delays are common and can last several days, so schedule extra time for contingencies.</p><h2>Tour Operator</h2><p>The park is open to visitors for only five weeks a year, so book well in advance. Base camp accommodations—huts and fiberglass domes — can comfortably accommodate up to six people and come with electricity and propane heaters. It is also possible to camp within the fenced-in property, in either your own tent or one provided by the park. In all cases, bathrooms and showers are shared. The four- or seven-night Tuttuk package, available through the park authority’s website, includes lodging, meals, guided excursions, cultural activities, and flights to and from Goose Bay. <em><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; from $4,978 per person. Helicopter tours start at $750.</em></p><h2>What to bring</h2><p>Pack wool socks, hiking boots, long johns, and rainproof gear; a down jacket and pants may also come in handy. Sunscreen and bug spray are essential.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Small City in Southern France Has Roman Ruins to Rival Rome Itself

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 10:00
<p>The <a href="" target="_blank">South of France</a> has long been a traveler's dream for its epic coastlines and iconic lavender-covered hills. But a visit to the city of Nîmes, between the Mediterranean coast and the Cévennes mountain range, will transport you not just to another place, but to another time — 2000 years ago, in fact.</p><img alt="Roman amphitheater in the old town of Nimes in France "src=""><p>In June of this year, the city opened the <a href="" target="_blank">Musée de la Romanité</a> ("Museum of Romanity") — the new home base for tours of the city's expansive network of Roman sites. Once among the most important cities of the Roman Empire, Nîmes is home to incredibly <a href="" target="_blank">well-preserved buildings and sites</a> from the first centuries of the Imperial era, rivaling even <a href="" target="_blank">Rome</a> itself.</p><p>At the center of this walkable city of 150,000 residents sits the <a href="" target="_blank">Les Arènes</a> amphitheater, built in the 1st century CE as a gladiatorial arena. With its perfectly elliptical shape and interlocking stone construction, the arena was a testament to the prowess of the Empire and soon christened the city a destination of prestige.</p><img alt="Musee De La Romanite Opens In Nimes "src=""><p>Thousands of years later, the new museum is located just across from the amphitheater, bridging the present and the past with its ultramodern design and expansive green spaces. Inside, virtual reality exhibits bring the ancient world to life, transporting visitors to scenes such as the construction of the ramparts that once surrounded the town. Nearby, recently unearthed mosaics are displayed with projections of their original setting.</p><img alt="Musee De La Romanite Opens In Nimes "src=""><p>From now until the end of September, visitors can also explore<em> Gladiators: Heroes of the <a href="" target="_blank">Coliseum</a></em>, a traveling exhibition on loan from Rome that covers everything from arena design to the daily lives of fighters.</p><p>After exploring the new museum, travelers to Nîmes will have added context for touring the many amazing sites around town. This ancient city rose to prominence after sprouting up around a freshwater spring; at the <a href="" target="_blank">Jardins de la Fontaine</a>, the ruins around this ancient fountain include the <a href="" target="_blank">Temple of Diana</a>, a monument built for Emperor Augustus set among 37 acres of manicured gardens.</p><img alt="MAISON CARREE, NIMES, FRANCE "src=""><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Maison Carrée</a>, or “square house,” once anchored the Roman forum and is known as a remarkably well-preserved example of Vitruvian architecture. Also a must-see: the ancient arched aqueducts at <a href="" target="_blank">Pont du Gard</a>, still standing after more than 20 centuries.</p><p><em>Our series <a href="" target="_blank">Reasons to Travel Now</a> highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

The FAA Has Declined to Regulate Airline Seat Size

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 06:16
<p>Despite passenger complaints and a federal court case, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Tuesday that it will not regulate a minimum seat size on airplanes.</p><p>In <a href="" target="_blank">a letter to consumer advocate group</a>, the FAA said it found “no evidence that there is an immediate safety issue necessitating rulemaking at this time” regarding seat width and pitch.</p><p>Flyers Rights sued the FAA at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. last year, alleging that cramped seats were a safety issue in the airplane cabin. Last year, the court ordered the FAA to file a “properly reasoned disposition” regarding seat pitch and safety.</p><p>In its letter, the FAA said it had “no evidence that current seat sizes are a factor in evacuation speed” and that it believed “seat pitch is unlikely to go below 27 inches under current technology and regulations.”</p><p>As evidence, the FAA watched videos of tests from aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, and Embraer, which concluded that seat size does not slow down emergency evacuations.</p><p>In response to the decision, Paul Hudson, the lawyer for Flyers Rights, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>USA Today</em></a>, “If you don’t do the tests, obvious if you stick your head in the sand, you’re not going to have evidence.”</p><p>At the request of the House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, the Department of Transportation will audit the FAA’s evacuation standards. The audit could call for new testing, based on passenger size.</p><p>Since the airline industry was deregulated in 1978, both seat width and pitch (the distance between seats) has shrunk. There is still hope for passengers looking for more room, though. Last year, American Airlines announced it would reduce seat pitch on some aircraft to 29 inches — but the airline soon <a href="" target="_blank">reversed course after customers spoke out</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel