Travel and Leisure - Msn Feeds
Updated: 30 min 3 sec ago

Instagram Is Adding Interactive Polling to Stories

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 16:00
<p>As if scrolling through your friends’ Instagram Stories wasn’t addictive enough, the photo-sharing social outlet unveiled its newest, must-click activity on Tuesday: interactive polling.</p><p>According to Instagram, the new interactive poll sticker in its stories feature allows users to post a question for their followers and track results in real time as people vote.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How to Perfect Your Fall Foliage Photography</a></p><p>This means that for the first time ever Instagrammers will be able to actually interact directly through Instagram Stories with their friends and followers rather than simply relying on sliding into their fan’s direct messages.</p><p>As Instagram explained in its announcement the new sticker allows for two option polls in a snap.</p><p>Here’s how it works: Once you’ve taken a photo or video for your Instagram story, select the “poll” sticker and place it anywhere over the image. According to Instagram you can then write out your own question such as, “Where should I travel to next?” and customize customize the poll choices (like Paris, or <em>Travel+Leisure</em></a>’s best city in 2017, <a href="" target="_blank">San Miguel de Allende, Mexico</a>).</p><p>After sharing your poll, your friends and followers can immediately start voting and see real-time results.</p><p>To view your complete poll results, swipe up and open the viewers list for the part of your story containing the poll. You’ll be able to view both the winning choice and who voted on each answer.</p><p>So go ahead and ask your friends: “Which amazing place should we all plan a <a href="" target="_blank">group trip</a> to next?”</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Perfect Your Fall Foliage Photography

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:31
<p>When you find yourself in knee-high boots wanting a certain spiced coffee beverage, you know fall has arrived.</p><p>One of the most beautiful aspects of the season is the changing color of the trees. Photographing fall foliage doesn't have to be complicated, but there is some nuance to getting the perfect image.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">14 Fall Road Trips for Seeing the Best Fall Foliage — and a Whole Lot More</a></p><p>Here are some of <em>Travel + Leisure</em>'s photo editors best tips for your annual leaf peeping.</p><h2>Light</h2><img alt="Upstate New York in Fall "src="">Ideal light happens in the so-called “golden hour,” which actually happens twice a day: right after sunrise and before sunset. Plan to be outside at these hours for high-contrast vibrancy.Avoid high noon and direct sunlight.Look for light shining through from behind trees to get a nice, hued aura.<img alt="New York City in Fall "src=""><h2>Weather</h2><img alt="Hudson Valley "src="">Overcast days are not the worst days; gray skies can help the foliage feel even more saturated.If it's a chilly morning, you may luck out and get a misty haze along a waterfront.Use wind to your advantage. If it starts to blow too hard for a crisp foliage shot, embrace the movement of the leaves to create an impressionistic, motion-blurred image.<img alt="Brooklyn in Autumn "src=""><h2>Composition</h2><img alt="Glass House in Autumn "src="">Photograph the leaves in contrast to the surroundings that are of varying colors. For example, blue water against orange leaves, or red leaves amongst other greener leaves.In broad landscape scene, frame the trees with layers in foreground, the middle, and the background. For example, if the light is peeking over a hill or mountain, or through a row of trees, make the light your main point of focus in the composition.Utilize depth of field by making the background behind the subject slightly out of focus. If you’re shooting on an iPhone 7+ or newer, try shooting like this in Portrait mode.Frame your main subject slightly off centered using the <a href="" target="_blank">rule of thirds</a>.Find one tree that's turning a deep, red hue (maybe in a field or on a hill) and focus on that as the subject of the image.<p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the United States</a></p><h2>New Perspectives</h2><img alt="Upstate New York Fall "src="">Map out areas around the foliage like trailheads, hidden pathways or main roadways to get different angles for your photos.Focus on a single leaf against a rock or floating on water. Or zoom in to capture the veiny details.For a jaw-dropping image, set your frame with the rows of foliage reflected in water or against a glass structure.If you’re really looking to get creative, move your camera as you press the shutter to create a slight motion blur. Photographing from inside a train or a car, if you're not driving) can achieve this this fun effect, too.<p>Keeping these tips in mind when you’re in your foliage-filled destination will help you take some of the best photographs. When you’re done and have <a href="" target="_blank">edited and shared</a> on social media, consider <a href="" target="_blank">making prints of your works of art</a>.</p><p>And definitely share with #TLPicks for a chance to be on <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s Instagram</a>.</p><p><em>Digital Photo Researcher David Kukin and Assistant Photo Editor Kira Turnbull contributed to this article</em></p>
Categories: Travel

The Single Best Way to Save Money on Airfare

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:00
<p>The travel industry site <em><a href="" target="_blank">Skift</a></em> recently explained that travelers who check bags are often paying much, much more than they used to. </p><p>Skift pointed to a <a href="" target="_blank">report by the Government Accountability Office</a> that determined base airfare is actually lower than it once was. But because airlines achieved these ticket prices by unbundling their fares, travelers who choose to check bags will ultimately end up paying more than they did before the unbundling began.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Is Where Every Dollar of Your Airfare Goes</a></p><p>That is because now, most airlines make travelers pay for their ticket, baggage, reservation changes, and other services separately. In the earlier days of air travel, all of these fees were added together into the price of your ticket.</p><p>According to the GAO report, just by unbundling baggage fees and reservation changes, United States airlines' revenues increased from $6.3 billion in 2010 to $7.1 billion in 2016.</p><p>So how can you save? It’s simple: Do not pay for the extras and pack only a carry-on.</p><p>“As a result, customers who paid for checked bags paid more on average for the combined airfare and bag fee than when the airfare and bag fee were bundled together,” the report explained. “Conversely, passengers who did not check bags paid less overall.”</p><p>Of course, not everyone is pleased with being told to “pack only a carry-on."</p><p>“At this rate, passengers are going to have to start showing up with a suitcase full of clothes and a suitcase full of money just to get on the plane,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson — who requested the report by the GAO — said in a statement. “It’s high time the airlines rein in these outrageous fees.”</p><p>And while little can be done right now about the fees, Congress has passed legislation requiring airlines to provide immediate reimbursement for <a href="" target="_blank">lost or late luggage</a>.</p><p>In the meantime, try out a few of <em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s time-tested <a href="" target="_blank">hacks to packing smart and light</a>. You'll save more than a few bucks — and you'll get to your gate in record time.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Today Is the Most Popular Day for Booking a Ski Vacation

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:30
<p>Today and October 26 are two of the most popular days of the year for booking a <a href="" target="_blank">winter ski getaway</a>, according to new data from <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p>By looking at historical bookings, the online vacation rental marketplace determined that 50 percent of homes in ski destinations (with four bedrooms or more) were booked by mid-October in 2016 — meaning travelers looking to take ski trips with large groups or families should make plans quickly.</p><p>And by December, 50 percent of all in-season (between December and March) ski destination rental homes in HomeAway’s inventory were off the market.</p><p>“The challenge for travelers is that there’s a limited number of ski homes to rent, so planning ahead is necessary,” HomeAway’s family travel expert, Melanie Fish, explained in a statement. “With snow already falling, and forecasters predicting normal to above normal snowfall for the season, every indication is that last year’s preseason booking performance is poised to repeat, if not pick up steam.”</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">How to Take a Stress-free Ski Trip With Your Family</a></p><p>Ultimately, travelers who want to visit one of the country’s top ski destinations may find that vacation rentals sell out even quicker this year — particularly if they’re interested in Whistler, Beaver Creek, and <a href="" target="_blank">Park City</a>.</p><p>Last year, most HomeAway bookings in these upscale ski towns were finalized by mid-November.</p><p>According to, winter sports enthusiasts should have been planning their ski season trips as early as August.</p><p>“People often wait until they get into winter mode to start shopping for their holiday vacations,”’s vice president of marketing <a href="" target="_blank">recently told <em>Travel + Leisure</em></a>. “And at that point, it’s too late for many resorts.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Turks and Caicos Is ‘Open and Ready for Business’ Post-Hurricane Irma

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:25
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Turks and Caicos</a> has rebounded quickly following two powerful hurricanes that tore through the Caribbean in September.</p><p>Most restaurants, bars, gas stations, hotels, and tourists attractions have reopened, and the cluster of British islands is already welcoming vacationers back to its shores.</p><p>“Turks and Caicos is open and ready for business,” Ramon Andrews, Director of the Turks &amp; Caicos Tourist Board, told <i>Travel + Leisure</i> Tuesday.</p><p>The group of islands is <a href="" target="_blank">known for its fresh seafood</a>, natural beauty, and easy accessibility from the east coast — they are located only two hours from Miami by plane and three hours from New York City.</p><p>Turks and Caicos suffered the majority of its damage from Hurricane Irma, with some additional setbacks in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The destruction was not nearly as devastating as it was in some other Caribbean islands, however, such as Puerto Rico. Much of the damage in Turks and Caicos has been quickly repaired.</p><p>With waves <a href="" target="_blank">as high as 20 feet</a> during Hurricane Irma, many Turks and Caicos hotels, as well as the airport, suffered water damage. Structural damage was minimal, according to Andrews, and power has been restored to all major tourist locations with full power recovery expected in the coming weeks across the islands.</p><p>The port of Turks and Caicos suffered heavier destruction than some of the tourist islands, and the port authority is working quickly to restore the popular port for <a href="" target="_blank">cruise ship dockings</a>. It is expected to be operational for cruises some time in November, and many cruise lines have rerouted their ships in the intervening weeks.</p><p>Andrews urged travelers not to cancel upcoming trips to Turks and Caicos, noting the importance of tourism dollars in the Caribbean’s ongoing recovery.</p><p>“One of the best things you can do is to come to this destination,” he said. “It’s definitely going to help with the rebuilding efforts.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Los Angeles Wants to Replace Its Palm Trees With Something More Practical

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:32
<p>While <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> is working to <a href="" target="_blank">restore several of its historic landmarks</a>, one of the city’s most iconic sights could soon disappear.</p><p>City officials estimate that over the next five years, the region's palm trees will die so quickly that it could take at least 30, perhaps even 50, years to replace them all, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> reported</a>. And that replacement is unlikely to happen.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">40 Trips Based on 40 of the Greatest Movies Ever Made</a></p><p>Palm trees aren’t native to L.A. In fact, their history in the City of Angels only goes back to the 19th century.</p><p>In an effort to seduce newcomers as they moved west, city planners imported palms from all over the world. They blossomed along the sides of the city’s freeways and quickly came to represent L.A.’s decentralized layout. As southern California became the epicenter of film production, filmmakers began to use the palm tree as an emblem of the city.</p><p>The mission to plant palms renewed in the 1930s with the advent of the golden age of Hollywood. In 1931 alone, L.A.’s forestry division <a href="" target="_blank">planted an estimated 25,000 trees</a> throughout the city. Today, many of these same palm trees welcome visitors as soon as they step out of LAX and continue to escort them as they drive throughout the city.</p><p>However, in recent years, the South American palm weevil and Fusarium fungus have been attacking LA’s palm trees. The beetle crossed into southern California — where it has no natural enemies — in 2011 and wreaked havoc upon the flora. Several other types of fungi, along with old age, risk wiping out L.A.’s palm population.</p><p>But as temperatures in the city continue to climb and the price tag on palm trees soar (the most expensive can cost up to $20,000), local officials want to replace the plants with something more practical.</p><p>“Los Angeles is facing more and more heatwaves, so it’s important that we plant trees that provide adequate shade to protect people and cool the city down,” Elizabeth Skrzat, programme director for City Plants, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Guardian</em></a>.</p><p>Palm trees are, admittedly, not the best choice for a city looking to combat smog. In terms of mitigating the effects of pollution, palm trees act more like grass than trees. City officials have decided to replace them with native trees that need less water and add more oxygen to the air.</p><p>The argument has left many concerned about the future of the palm trees in L.A. Although they will likely remain in the city over the next few decades, within the next century, they could disappear.</p><p>Others are less cynical, believing that homeowners will continue to plant their own palms and keep the trees alive in the city. And while officials will not replace every palm tree that dies out, it has identified six historic areas, including Hollywood and downtown, where they will maintain the trees.</p><p>Preservation or practicality — L.A. and its residents have a choice to make.</p>
Categories: Travel

We Hope This Rabbit Riding the London Underground Isn't Late for a Very Important Date

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:21
<p>No, this isn't a Lewis Carroll novel. But you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be.</p><p>A white rabbit has been spotted at several locations riding on London’s public transit system, leading many <a href="" target="_blank">London</a> commuters to wonder if they might be the famous Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.”</p><p>The mystery of the rabbit is ongoing. No one is quite sure where the little furry creature came from, or where it’s headed. Hopefully not to see the Queen of Hearts.</p><p>Some people have, of course, made the assumption that the rabbit is on its way to a magical land of hookah-smoking caterpillars, tea-drinking hatters, and croquet-playing monarchs.</p><p>Others are worried about more earthly problems like whether the bunny has a ticket or a proper carrier.</p><p>But when you’re a world traveling rabbit-about-town, who needs a carrier? It also seems to be lacking any luggage or a map, though...</p><p>One person did manage to find the owner. The Twitter user described him as a “hippie” and said the bunny does this sort of thing all the time. So it’s okay, everyone. Clearly this rabbit knows what it’s doing.</p><p>Still, we’d be curious to see at what stop it hops off.</p>
Categories: Travel

What Your Age Says About Your Travel Habits

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:09
<p>Your age is likely to determine your travel style, according to <a href="" target="_blank">new research from Expedia</a>.</p><p>Although that conclusion may not seem ground-breaking, the exact information that travel companies derive from this study can determine the type of advertising that you see as you plan travel.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">'Vacation Shaming' Is Preventing Millennials From Taking Time Off</a></p><p>For example, Expedia’s research concluded that Generation Z (in this case, anyone born in 1994 or after) is the most adventurous age group. Not only are they the most likely to choose an international destination for a vacation, they’re also more likely to choose alternative accommodations, like <a href="" target="_blank">a homeshare</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">campsite</a>.</p><p>But that adventurous spirit doesn’t translate to finances: Generation Z is the most likely of any generation to stick to a budget (most likely because they’re younger and have less to spend).</p><p>Millennials (age 24 to 35) are the most likely to choose an all-inclusive vacation where they don’t have to plan anything. They also are the most likely to choose to spend their time on vacation outside. This generation is particularly targeted by companies because they’ve self-reported that they’re the most affected by advertisements.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Single Best Way to Save Money on Airfare</a></p><p>Older travelers, however, are more resistant to ads. Baby Boomers travel mostly to visit friends or family and often have a destination in mind before they even begin planning a trip. However, they’re also the least resistant to budget restrictions.</p><p>So while travel companies will not try to lure Baby Boomers to new destinations with social media, they may try to push an upgrade in accommodation or travel class.</p><p>Members of Generation X (ages 36 to 55) travel the least of any group, so marketers must be strategic when attempting to grab their vacation days. Generation X cares deeply about getting a good deal, but they’ll spend the most <a href="" target="_blank">on their hotel</a>. They also read reviews and will research before making a final booking.</p>
Categories: Travel

Qantas Now Has a Pillow Menu to Make First Class Even Fancier

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:42
<p>Now passengers on <a href="" target="_blank">Qantas</a> flights can make first class even classier by choosing from a menu of different pillows.</p><p>Starting this month, Qantas passengers on long-haul flights will be able to select one of three different pillows (from Australian luxury brand Sheridan) to make their sleep experience <a href="" target="_blank">just right</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blak">Spot This Man in the Airport and He’ll Give You His First Class Seat</a></p><p>The Ultimate Comfort Pillow will be the standard option laid out on seats before takeoff. But if passengers find that ultimate comfort is not comfortable enough, they can request either a memory foam pillow or one made from feather and down.</p><img alt="Qantas Airlines airplane first class cabin luxury bed Sheridan amenities pillow "src=""><p>The bedding refresh will also include a memory foam mattress. First class passengers will sleep inside Sheridan sheeting, including “a duvet cover made from soft-touch tencel, a 100% combed-cotton woven throw and a soft-touch bolster cushion,” according to Qantas.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The First Ever Nonstop Flight From London to Australia Will Take 17 Hours</a></p><p>The new bedding options will appear in Qantas’ first class suites onboard the A380 planes.</p><p>“A comfortable bed combined with our focus on in-flight nutrition and wellbeing are all part of our strategy to help our customers feel energised when they arrive at their destination,” Phil Capps, the airline’s head of customer product and service, said in a statement.</p><p>Qantas isn’t the only airline to place a renewed emphasis on better sleep in the skies. American Airlines <a href="" target="_blank">just last week announced a collaboration with mattress company Casper</a>. The sleep products — which include pillows, lumbar pillows, pillowcases, duvets, blankets, pajamas, and slippers — will be available to first, business, and premium economy class passengers on international and transcontinental flights.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Couple Is Traveling the World Naked and Sharing It All on Social Media

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:22
<p>Becoming an “accidental nudist” sounds more like the start of a joke than real life, but it truly is reality for one Belgian couple that stumbled into the lifestyle and never looked back. Oh, and they are happy to share their atypical way of life with their growing Instagram fan base, too.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, Nick and Lins, a couple in their mid-30s, became nudists after accidently booking some time in an all-nude sauna.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Places to Travel in November</a></p><p>Since that experience, they’ve traveled the world — totally in the buff — taking pictures of it all for social media.</p><p>“The liberation of taking off our clothes was extraordinary, it was pure freedom,” the couple explained on their blog, <a href="" target="_blank">Naked Wanderings</a>. They say their day job now consists of exploring and finding naked offerings and communities around the globe. This journey, the duo explained, “will take us through Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas and who knows where else.”</p><p>In additional posts the couple said that while they love the naked way of life, they only do so when it’s convenient, such as in a nudist resort, home alone, or somewhere they can be free without judgement.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">10 Nude Beaches to Celebrate International Nude Day</a><p>“You get to learn natural sensations which you’re not used to but which feel very good,” the couple noted of the virtues of going nude. “The feeling of lying naked in the grass, the feeling of a gust of wind passing your body, the sun everywhere on your skin.”</p><p>The couple also opened their site up to contributors to share their own stories of nudism around the world. However, as the <em>Daily Mail</em> pointed out, not everyone in the nudist community has such an easy time as Nick and Lins.</p><p>Madushan, a 23-year-old from Sri Lanka, explained in a post that nudism is still outlawed in his country.</p><p>“For our people, nudism is something inherently sexual and they don’t like to see it any other way. It’s quite a shame because we used to tolerate nudism much more in our history,” he wrote. “Even art, like local films, rarely feature any nudity, and even when they do, they always become topics of strong controversy within the society.”</p><p>And while the couple’s nudist project may make you giggle, it appears to appeal to at least some as the pair has amassed nearly 8,000 Instagram followers to date. Maybe it’s time we all got a little closer to nature with them.</p>
Categories: Travel

Newly Opened Areas of Rome's Colosseum Offer Never-before-seen Views

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:11
<p>The upper levels of <a href="" target="_blank">Rome's</a> Colosseum will soon open to the public, allowing visitors to pass through a connecting hallway that has never before been available to visitors.</p><p>Italian Culture Minister Dario Francheschini visited the 171-foot-high Colosseum on Tuesday ahead of the official opening slated for November 1, the <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press reported</a>.</p><p>The fourth and fifth floors would have been the cheap seats in ancient Rome, but now they offer some of the best views of the Colosseum.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>The Colosseum recently completed a three-year-long renovation to give a facelift to one of the city's most-visited monuments.</p><p>Initially completed in 80 A.D., the amphitheater was used as the site for different attractions, including famed fights between gladiators. The former stadium now sees some 7 million visitors annually, and the daily wear and tear can take its toll.</p><p>Visitors have also purposefully defaced the ancient structure, and in two separate incidents this year alone, tourists carved their names into the Colosseum's walls. In February, a French woman <a href="" target="_blank">used an ancient coin to deface the attraction</a> — she now faces charges of “aggravated damage to a building of historical and artistic interest.” Another tourist wrote his family's names <a href="" target="_blank">on the walls of the Colosseum</a> in April.</p><p>“Rome deserves respect. Whoever harms the Colosseum, harms all Romans and all who love the city,” Mayor Virginia Raggi wrote in<a href="" target="_blank"> a statement posted to Twitter</a> following the April vandalism.</p>
Categories: Travel

Proposed NASA Observatory in Cyprus Inspired By 'Star Wars'

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:07
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects</a>, an architectural studio with offices in Nicosia and London, have won the prestigious and exciting challenge of building an astronomical research center <a href="" target="_blank">on top of a Cyprus mountain</a>. The new observatory will provide NASA with important information about celestial phenomena.</p><p>But the new <a href="" target="_blank">Troodos Observatory</a> isn’t going to be a simple, run-of-the-mill science lab. The observatory's designers drew inspiration from their love of sci-fi.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About the Leonids Meteor Shower</a></p><p>“Elena and I drew inspiration from sci-fi when drawing up plans for this observatory — I was a ‘Star Wars’ fan growing up,” studio founders Nicodemos K Tsolakis and Elena K Tsolakis told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Dezeen</em></a>. “Of course the client didn't know this when they hired us. They were pretty surprised with where we took it but they love the ideas.”</p><p>The beautifully minimal, wedge-shaped space, featuring a with a dome roof at one end, and a cantilevered roof terrace at the other, catches the eye against the natural terrain on Cypress. And looks just like a base in a “Star Wars” movie.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Where to Find the Darkest Skies in the U.S. for Serious Stargazing</a><p>The designers say the observatory is “a foreign object within a very natural organic setting,” and should “inspire and excite anyone who sees it from afar or from up close.”</p><p>Built about three-quarters of a mile above sea level in Troodos Geopark, the observatory will contain two telescopes, one for daytime and the other for night, to collect celestial information for NASA between India and the <a href="" target="_blank">Mediterranean</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel