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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survey Ranks the Best Customer Experience for Airlines

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

This Couple's Story Shows Why You Always Need to Check Visa Requirements Before You Travel

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 07:32
<p>There’s a key step many people are missing on their way to their destination, and it could put a halt on their travel plans. That step? The all-important visa.</p><p>A British couple recently learned the hard way that it’s crucial to check visa requirements for your destination before leaving for the airport, <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/qantas-british-couple-visa-flight-ban-wrong-australia-china-compensation-beijing-a8287991.html" target="_blank"><em>The Independent</em> reported</a>. And it's just as important to print out the requirements and carry them with you.</p><p>Travelers Ian and Jane Swann were attempting to check in at Christchurch airport for their early morning Qantas flight to Sydney, with a connection to Beijing, when they were refused entry.</p><p>“They say we do not have a visa and their information is we require an approved visa prior to boarding flight,” Jane Swan told <em>The Independent</em>.</p><p>The pair, who had been in New Zealand visiting their son, also planned a stop over in Beijing, and didn’t have a visa for the stopover. They didn't expect to encounter any problems because a <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/china-visa-rules-transit-free-tourists-princess-cruises-shanghai-beijing-uk-a7873861.html" target="_blank">recent rule change loosened</a> immigration regulations there, allowing transit visitors to stay up to six days. However, it appears the gate agents weren’t aware the rule change had taken place.</p><p>The Swans were indeed in the right, and weren’t required to carry a visa. Still, the couple was forced to book an entirely new flight with Emirates through Dubai to get home.</p><p>“We spent some 54 hours in transit back home — an exhausting, stressful and expensive time for us, and not the way this trip of a lifetime should have ended,” the Swans said.</p><p>On the bright side, Qantas is admitting to their mistake. “We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the Swann family who were incorrectly denied travel from Christchurch to Beijing for allegedly not having the required visas,” the airline said in a statement. “We’re working with our check-in team to ensure this mistake doesn’t happen again and have reached out to the customer to offer compensation.”</p><p>While planning your next excursion check out <a href="https://www.visahq.com/citizens/" target="_blank">Visa HQ</a>, where you can search by your citizenship and destination to see what’s really required. Then print that page out to present to a gate agent so you can ensure you make it to your intended destination on time.</p>
Categories: Travel

Sesame Place Just Became the World’s First Certified Autism Center Theme Park

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 07:29
<p><a href="https://sesameplace.com/philadelphia/help/autism-resources/" target="_blank">Sesame Place</a>, the only theme park that’s dedicated solely to the popular children’s series <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/cookie-monster-eats-through-new-york-city" target="_blank">“Sesame Street,”</a> is now also the world’s first theme park to be designated a certified autism center.</p><p>The Langhorn, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/worlds-greatest-miniature-village-for-sale" target="_blank">Pennsylvania</a>, amusement park received the designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), which provides international autism certifications and works with travel destinations to create safe options for those affected by autism. </p><p>Sesame Place earned the designation, the park said in a release, because of training that enables employees to assist visitors with <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/autism-friendly-travel-destination-south-carolina">autism</a>, focusing on areas that include sensory awareness, communication skills, and motor skills. </p><p>The theme park, which has 25 attractions along with three live shows and daily parades, is also introducing two quiet rooms with adjustable lighting features for those with autism and creating a sensory guide so visitors plan which attractions to see based on how the condition might affecting their sensory reception. </p><p>The move, which comes during April's U.S. National Autism Awareness Month, puts Sesame Place in line with organizations like the Sesame Workshop, which had been looking to increases awareness on the topic through its <a href="http://www.sesameworkshop.org/what-we-do/our-initiatives/autism/" target="_blank">“See Amazing in All Children”</a> initiative. </p><p>"Sesame Street" made headlines in 2017 when the show introduced its first character with autism, a 4-year-old red haired, green eyed girl named Julia. The character also made her debut at Sesame Place last year.</p><p>The park will reopen for its 38<sup>th</sup> season on April 28. </p>
Categories: Travel

After Forgetting Her Passport, This Woman Turned to the Internet for Help — and It Delivered

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 06:54
<p>Over the weekend, Reddit user <a href="https://np.reddit.com/user/bibimbopbop" target="_blank">bibimbopbop</a> proved just how helpful the good people of the internet can be when she posted that she forgot her passport in <a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/tokyo" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>.</p><p>“Hello, being a complete idiot I left my passport in Kyoto at a hotel and now I have a flight from Tokyo narita at 630pm,” <a href="https://np.reddit.com/user/bibimbopbop" target="_blank">bibimbopbop</a>, a woman who wished to remain anonymous, wrote in a Reddit post. “Is there anyone that happens to be coming back to Tokyo in the next few hours that I could meet at the airport or anywhere in Tokyo? Such a long shot but I would eternally grateful and willing to compensate!!”</p><p>The comment <a href="https://np.reddit.com/r/JapanTravel/comments/88fds7/such_a_long_shot_but_emergency_passport_favor_in/" target="_blank">quickly received thousands of upvotes</a> on the Japan Travel subreddit, with many other redditors wishing the user luck in getting her passport back.</p><p>One user, OneForkShort, whose real name is Vincent Maggio, was ready and willing to go the extra mile to become a travel hero.</p><p>“What hotel. I’m in Osaka with nothing to do today and I feel like an adventure,” Maggio wrote on reddit.</p><p>“I really had nothing else to do that day, and someone needed help. It’s that simple,” Maggio told <em>Travel + Leisure</em> via email. “When the help request popped up on my reddit feed, I was actively trying to think of something to do that day that would be fun but let me avoid the crowds. The [poster] did me a favor honestly.”</p><p>Soon, the two reddit users connected, bibimbopbop’s friend called the hotel and set up the drop. The entire reddit community was then sitting on pins and needles wondering if Maggio would make it in time.</p><p>“If I make the 1:19 Shinkansen to Tokyo, I’ll get there at 3:35. Her flight leaves at 6:25, so she should have plenty of time believe it or not,” Maggio wrote.</p><p>“Alright redditors, the adventure begins. I’m on the limited express from Kyobashi to Kyoto,” Maggio added minutes later.</p><p>As Maggio explained on Reddit, the only way to get from Kyobashi to Kyoto in time was to do so by train, though luckily, Japan has one of the <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/japan-train-etiquette" target="_blank">best train systems in the world</a>. If you’re traveling to Tokyo and want to go outside the city, Travel+Leisure recommends purchasing a one week rail pass and using <a href="http://www.hyperdia.com/en/" target="_blank">HyperDia</a>, which lists the country’s train schedules. You can choose your routes and print them out before your trip, just like OneForkShort likely did.</p><p>A few minutes after saying he was on his way, Maggio shared some sad news with the reddit followers.</p><p>“Ummmm so do you want the good news or the bad news? Bad news: I’m not going to make the 1:19 to Tokyo.” But wait a minute, he then added, “Good News: Because I’m on the 12:35.”</p><p>Phew!</p><p>In the end, Maggio was able to deliver the goods, with plenty of time to spare.</p><p>“This dude was so stand up that after thanking him profusely he acted like he had barely even done me a favor,” <a href="https://np.reddit.com/user/bibimbopbop" target="_blank">bibimbopbop</a> wrote, ending the reddit chain.</p><p>“This was seriously just a routine errand in my book, No biggie at all,” Maggio said. “I was just doing someone a favor that was fun for me too. It was certainly no chore. I’m really happy a bunch of people got to see the photos from the journey.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This App Will Hire a Local to Plan Your Entire Trip – for Only $25 a Day

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 06:49
<p>Those looking for an easy way to plan a trip that includes visiting <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-secret-beaches-on-earth#grand-haven-michigan" target="_blank">local gems</a>, this program may be the answer.</p><p>Through the travel app <a href="https://www.viahero.com" target="_blank">ViaHero</a>, you can pay $25 per day to get matched with a local based in the country they're traveling to. That host, which ViaHero calls a "hero," will build a custom itinerary for your getaway. </p><p>Once you share your personal vacation preferences (for example, whether you’re a beach lover or a <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/how-to-be-a-vegetarian-while-traveling" target="_blank">vegetarian</a>), you’ll be matched with a local who will create a full travel guidebook that you can access via the company’s app, both online and offline.</p><p>The host will also handle travel arrangements in advance of your arrival, including your flight, hotel, airport transfers, private dinners, and bookings with tour guides.</p><p>“It’s like having a local friend who has all the same interests as you plan your trip,” CEO Greg Buzulencia told the <a href="https://www.apnews.com/afs:Content:1883000008/Episode-48:-A-new-model-for-travel?-Pay-$25-a-day-to-have-a-local-plan-your-trip" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>.</p><p>Buzulencia, who has had a passion for planning vacations since he was a child, told the AP he created the company in 2016 after noticing the travel industry offering few options for travelers to focus on authentic, local experiences and personally curated itineraries.</p><p>The service is currently available in Cuba, Iceland, <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/japan-dessert-tour-four-and-twenty-blackbirds" target="_blank">Japan</a>, and Colombia, though the company is also planning to launch in Ecuador and several South American countries later this year, according to the AP.</p>
Categories: Travel

Just Showing Your Boarding Pass Can Get You Discounts While Traveling. Here’s How

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 17:41
<p>While you might not think twice about getting rid of your boarding pass after your next flight, keeping that piece of paper can be the key to savings.</p><p>A few airlines offer savings on tourist attractions, restaurants, airport transfers, and free wine tasting to people who keep their boarding pass. </p><p>Here are some of the airlines that offer deals to those who can present their boarding passes: </p><h2>Singapore Airlines: </h2><p>Travelers who keep their Singapore Airlines or SilkAir boarding pass can get discounts on hotels, car rentals, restaurants, boutiques, and shopping malls in Singapore and overseas locations like Hong Kong, Australia, and the Maldives within a month of their date of travel.</p><p><a href="https://www.singaporeair.com/microsite/global/BPP/sg-index.html" target="_blank">The deals</a> typically include discounts to attractions like the <a href="https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park/" target="_blank">Jurong Bird Park</a>, which is home to 400 species of birds (and 5,000 in total). Loyalty program PPS Club and frequent flyer program KrisFlyer members can take advantage of the perks all year long.</p><h2>Korean Air: </h2><p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/korean-air-787-dreamliner" target="_blank">Korean Air offers discounts through its</a> <a href="https://www.koreanair.com/content/koreanair/global/en/offers-promotion.html#_" target="_blank">Excellent Boarding Pass</a> program, which offers those entering South Korea anything from free drinks and seasonal entrees at upscale eateries to discounts on movie tickets, cell phones, limousine transfers, and car rentals within seven days of your departure.</p><p>Travelers who can present their boarding pass also get discounts off of popular attractions, including 30 percent off entry to the restored 1890s Jeju Folk Village and <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/worlds-most-visited-tourist-attractions#48" target="_blank">Lotte World</a>.</p><p>For those departing South Korea, the Excellent Boarding Pass Worldwide Pass program offers savings at shopping outlets, mobile Wi-Fi routers, and attractions like the Singapore Zoo, and the Madame Tussauds wax museum in <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/sydney" target="_blank">Sydney </a>within 10 to 20 days of a departure date.</p><h2>Asiana Airlines: </h2><p><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/airlines-airports/eva-five-star-airlines" target="_blank">Asiana </a><a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/airlines-airports/eva-five-star-airlines" target="_blank">Airlines</a> fliers who present their pass within seven days of boarding can get up to half off entry to South Korea’s museums, banks, city bus tours, and attractions. You’ll also get discounts on concerts, airport limousine transfers, and perks like free drinks and free dining for a guest at a variety of participating restaurants across the country.</p><p>Overseas travelers flying with the airline will find savings on restaurants, airport lounges, car rentals, and attractions in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and San Diego, California.</p><h2>Air Asia: </h2><p>Thrill seekers will enjoy <a href="https://www.airasia.com/us/en/promotion/hot-boarding-pass.page" target="_blank">Air Asia's boarding pass discounts</a>, which include bungee jumping off the Macau Tower and reduced entry to attractions in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan. Just present your Air Asia boarding pass seven days before your departure or seven days after your arrival to quality.</p><h2>Alaska Airlines: </h2><p>Alaska Airlines's <a href="https://www.alaskaair.com/content/deals/special-offers/wine-flies-free" target="_blank">Wine Flies Free Program</a> allows travelers to enjoy a complimentary wine tasting in Washington and Oregon as well as check a case of wine free of charge in participating California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington airports.</p><p>The airline also offers free skiing options, from sport package rentals to group lessons discounts, at <a href="https://www.alaskaair.com/content/explore/ski" target="_blank">12 resorts</a> when you show your boarding pass. </p><h2>Free Skiing Across a Variety of Airlines:</h2><p>Alaska Airlines isn’t the only airline you can score free skiing with. Some ski resorts, like Squaw Valley, let travelers <a href="http://squawalpine.com/tickets-passes/day-tickets/lift-ticket-deals" target="_blank">ski for free</a> when they present the boarding pass of any commercial airline that flies to the destination, including Delta, Frontier, Southwest Airlines, American, Alaska, United Airlines, Allegiant Air, and JetBlue.</p><p>Meanwhile, those headed to Colorado’s Steamboat Resort can grab free night skiing when they present an American Airlines, Via Air, or Alaska Airlines boarding pass. </p>
Categories: Travel

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