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Explore Italy With a T+L Editor and Stay at Some of the World's Best Hotels

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 14:47
<p>Every year, our knowledgeable <a href="https://wba.m-rr.com/home" target="_blank"><em>Travel + Leisure </em>readers vote</a> in the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best" target="_blank">World's Best Awards</a>, selecting their absolute favorite properties and places around the globe. We love these awards because they allow our readers to inspire each other (and us!) to travel to new places, and together we've discovered everything from <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-top-100-overall#four-seasons-bali-sayan" target="_blank">riverside villas in Bali</a> with personal rooftop lily ponds to a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-top-100-overall#ballyfin" target="_blank">hidden 18th-century garden cottage</a> at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Ireland.</p><p>But if there's one destination that enchants travelers time and time again, it's Italy. That's why we're kicking off our <a href="https://www.events.one10marketing.com/WorldsBestCollectionItaly" target="_blank">inaugural World's Best Collection trip</a> in Rome and Puglia, the perfect blend of big city excitement and coastal relaxation. </p><p>We're thrilled to take the World's Best Awards to the next level and turn them into expertly curated trips to the places and hotels our readers love most, with our very own editors as guides. </p><p>On our Italy experience in September 2019, guests will stay at the iconic Hotel Eden overlooking Rome's Villa Borghese gardens. A historic mansion that opened as a hotel in 1889, <a href="https://www.departures.com/travel/hotels/hotel-eden-rome-renovation" target="_blank">Hotel Eden underwent an extensive 17-month renovation</a> and reopened in the spring of 2017 looking even more glamorous than the days when Princess Maria of Bourbon and Ingrid Bergman stayed there.</p><p>At Hotel Eden, you'll want to break from sightseeing for a rooftop aperitivo so you can sip an Aperol spritz while watching the sun set over the Eternal City. </p><img alt="Foyer at the Hotel Eded, in Rome, Italy "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545412853/hotel-eden-rome-foyer-WBCOLLECTION1218.jpg?itok=B0nE0YTA"><p>And after you check all the historic wonders, romantic piazzas, and lively trattorias of Rome off your list, you'll head to Puglia, much quieter and less touristy than the Amalfi Coast, but no less breathtaking. There, you'll explore quaint seaside and hilltop towns, unique architecture including whimsical and world-famous <em>trulli </em>(dry stone huts with conical roofs), and dramatic, rugged coastlines.</p><p>You'll stay at Borgo Egnazia, one of the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-top-100-overall#borgo-egnazia" target="_blank">2018 World's Best Hotels</a>, of course, placed among ancient olive groves steps from the Adriatic Sea in Savelletri di Fasano. This sleepy fishing village comes alive with locals strolling hand-in-hand along its scenic promenade, and its fish market sells some of the freshest seafood in Italy.</p><img alt="La Corte pool at Italy's Borgo Egnazia resort "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545412853/borgo-egnazia-la-corte-pool-WBCOLLECTION1218.jpg?itok=mlSOtjb6"><p>Space is limited, so <a href="https://www.events.one10marketing.com/WorldsBestCollectionItaly" target="_blank">enter your e-mail address here</a> to be among the first to find out about the trip details and registration opening. Be sure to add <a href="mailto:worldsbestcollection@one10marketing.com">worldsbestcollection@one10marketing.com</a> to your contact list to avoid letting World’s Best Collection emails go into your spam folder. Until then, vote for your favorites in the <a href="http://wba.m-rr.com/home" target="_blank">2019 World's Best Awards survey</a> and you could win a dream trip for two worth $10,000.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Crystal-clear Lake Is Home to a Sunken Forest of Upside Down Trees

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 11:17
<p>Nestled in a forested area in the Tian Shan Mountains, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-deals/cost-of-living-2017-cheapest" target="_blank">Kazakhstan’s</a> <a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g2350657-d7196223-Reviews-Lake_Kaindy-South_Kazakhstan_Province.html" target="_blank">Lake Kaindy</a> invites those who visit to take a swim in a surreal underwater world.</p><p>Created by an earthquake that took place in 1911, the freshwater lake is home to an array of fir trees that not only jet out from its waters, but that call those who take a dive to explore an entire forest sunken under its <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/bluest-water-destinations" target="_blank">clear waters</a>.</p><p>When the earthquake hit, it created a natural dam that slowly filled with rainwater over the years, leaving the trees that were damaged during the earthquake submerged in the water, according to representatives from <a href="https://www.visitalmaty.kz/en/attractions/189" target="_blank">Almaty’s tourism board</a>.</p><img alt="lake kaindy "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1525379871/lake-kaindy-aerial-KAINDY0518.jpg?itok=-o8bEP0N"><img alt="lake kaindy "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1525379871/lake-kaindy-trees-KAINDY0518.jpg?itok=TlEOBbVO"><p>While the petrified fir trees look just as fascinating jutting out of the depths of the water, what makes the scene all the more fascinating is that they still maintain needles on their branches more than 100 years later, a result of the cooler temperatures in the water that arise from its <a href="https://www.kazakhembus.com/content/drowned-forest-lake-kaindy-kazakhstan" target="_blank">elevation of over 6,500 feet</a> above sea level. </p><p>The lake is a popular location for divers looking to delve into an underwater oasis filled with lush forest remnants, while its clear mountain waters allow you to see into the depths of the lake to make the scene all the more striking.</p><p>Take a look at the video below to see what diving in the lake is like: </p><p>The lake is also known for its vibrant colors, which shift from <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/black-sea-plankton-bloom" target="_blank">turquoise</a> to emerald green — depending on the light — thanks to a variety of minerals like lime that have built up underneath the water overtime.</p><p>The 13,120-foot-long lake is located some nine miles from the area’s famed <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298251-d555386-Reviews-Kolsai_Lakes-Almaty.html" target="_blank">Kolsai Lakes</a> and is best to visit from late spring to early fall, when you can also admire the flora and fauna that surrounds it.</p>
Categories: Travel

People Thought Aliens Were Invading New York City Because of This Mysterious Blue Light (Video)

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 07:31
<p>The sky over New York City turned a spooky bright blue Thursday night, leading many residents to believe they were under attack by an <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/ancient-aliens-locations" target="_blank">alien invasion</a>.</p><p>At about 9:20 p.m., smoke filled the sky over Astoria, Queens for three minutes.</p><p>A bright light flashed a mysterious morse code, prompting some residents to wonder if the city was under attack.</p><p>"It was pitch black outside and then suddenly the whole side of the eastern sky was lighting up and changing colors," Upper West Side resident Madeleine Frank Reeves <a href="https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article223656350.html" target="_blank">told the <em>News Observer</em></a>. "It lasted a couple of minutes."</p><p>Many people’s first inclination was that it was the work of our inevitable <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/offbeat/alien-hunting-cultus-camp" target="_blank">alien invasion</a>.</p><p>Other people took a more positive approach, believing perhaps that the city’s outer boroughs had turned into a nightclub.</p><p>Someone questioned whether or not the bright blue flash was a gender reveal gone horribly awry.</p><p>Some noticed the light’s uncanny resemblance to the attack on New York in the “Ghostbusters” movie.</p><p>Electrical company Con Edison quickly released a notice that the mysterious blue flash was the result of “a brief electrical fire at our substation in Astoria which involved some electrical transformers and caused a transmission dip in the area."</p><p>Despite Con Ed’s reasonable explanation, some people weren’t having it.</p><p>Even the New York Police Department had to clear up that the blue light was not the result of “extraterrestrial activity.”</p><p>The blue light was visible throughout the city, but was most acutely felt in Queens, where it appeared briefly to be daytime.</p><p>The power outage affected nearby LaGuardia Airport. The airport was forced to issue a one-hour ground stop during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.</p><p>Authorities reported that no one was injured in the explosion. Con Edison reported later that evening that all power lines in the area were in service and that the power system was stable.</p><p>New York City is safe from an alien invasion for another day — or perhaps that’s just what they want you to think...</p>
Categories: Travel

12-year-old Boy Survives Avalanche at Ski Resort After Being Buried in Snow for 40 Minutes

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 17:50
<p>To some, an incredible rescue in the French Alps on Wednesday is nothing short of a miracle.</p><p>According to <em><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/12/27/boy-12-survives-avalanche-buried-him-40-minutes/2420140002/" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>, a 12-year-old boy skiing at the La Plagne ski resort in southeast France was found alive after being buried in snow for 40 minutes following an avalanche on the mountain.</p><p>The boy and his family had just left a run and were skiing “off piste” (off prepared ski runs) when the avalanche happened around 2 p.m. local time, <a href="https://www.rte.ie/news/europe/2018/1226/1019154-avalanche-france/" target="_blank">RTE reported</a>. He was the only one caught in the avalanche and was dragged at least 100 meters (110 yards), according to <em>USA Today</em>. The avalanche site was at 2,400 meters (7,875 feet) altitude.</p><p>Since the boy did not have a transmitter beacon to help rescuers find him, the odds of finding the boy were quite slim. Luckily, sniffer dogs were able to locate the boy within the hour.</p><p>However, even 40 minutes could have potentially been too late. “It's a miracle because he had no victim detection device. The chances of survival are minuscule after 15 minutes under the snow,” a rescue worker said to RTE.</p><p>“We can call it a miracle. A day after Christmas, there was another gift in store,” said Captain Patrice Ribes of the Bourg Saint-Maurice police, according to <em>USA Today</em>. Police also stated that one of the miraculous reasons the boy survived was that the snow did not block his airways, <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/boy-12-survives-avalanche-buried-40-minutes-60031289" target="_blank">ABC News reported</a>.</p><p>The boy did, however, suffer a broken leg and had to be taken to a hospital in nearby Grenoble, according to RTE. Otherwise, he is doing well after the accident.</p><p>Being caught in the path of an avalanche can be frightening to the point where you might not even know what to do. Luckily, there are <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/what-to-do-in-an-avalanche" target="_blank">some tactics you can use</a> in the event you happen to find yourself in the snow’s path.</p>
Categories: Travel

A 71-year-old Frenchman Is Sailing to the Caribbean Inside a Barrel — and You Better Believe He Packed His Favorite Wine

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 17:25
<p>A lot of us would love to set sail to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-caribbean-bermuda-bahamas-resorts" target="_blank">the Caribbean</a>, but only a fair few would actually want to do it in a barrel.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6532545/Frenchman-71-sets-sail-10ft-long-BARREL-bid-reach-Caribbean-using-ocean-currents.html?ITO=applenews" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>, 71-year-old Jean-Jacques Savin, originally from France, has already set sail from El Hierro in the Canary Islands in hopes of landing in either Barbados, Martinique or Guadeloupe within the next three months.</p><p>And he's taking his journey in a 10-foot by 7-foot orange barrel made of resin-coated plywood, and relying only on ocean currents to get there. What could go wrong?</p><p>Well, before we jump to judgement, Savin is not just a regular man off the street. According to the <em>Daily Mail</em>, he is not only a former paratrooper who served in Africa, he has been a pilot, a park ranger and has been prepping for his trip for many months, now.</p><p>In addition, it seems like Savin is taking the necessary precautions for his trip. His capsule contains a kitchen, storage and sleeping area, as well as a porthole for catching fish for food (which is easier than stocking up for the full journey), the <em>Daily Mail</em> reported. He also brought along some foie gras and wine for New Year’s and his upcoming birthday, so it won’t be 100% serious the entire time.</p><p>He’s also taking into account the weather conditions, telling the <em>Daily Mail</em> that he has a good forecast for the next week or so. Three months in a capsule in the middle of the ocean isn’t exactly what we’d call a barrel of fun, but Savin is using this trip as an opportunity for knowledge as well.</p><p>According to the <em>Daily Mail</em>, Savin will be dropping markers for the international marine observatory as part of a study of ocean currents, and he will be traveling with a bottle of Bordeaux to see how the wine reacts to being tossed on the waves as opposed to being stored on land.</p><p>In addition, Savin will use the journey to study the “effects of solitude in close confinement,” with himself as the guinea pig, according to the <em>Daily Mail</em>.</p><p>Since Savin has already headed out onto the ocean blue, it will be difficult to know whether his voyage is going as planned. But we’ll all be happy (and relieved) when he lands in the Caribbean around March.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Flight Attendant Had to Work 6 Flights on Christmas Eve — So Her Dad Booked a Ticket on Every Single One

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 16:58
<p>Plane tickets may be expensive, but spending Christmas with family is priceless.</p><p>Hal Vaughn from Ohio decided to make a touching gesture for his flight attendant daughter, Pierce, who was scheduled to work six back-to-back flights on Christmas Eve.</p><p>Instead of spending the holiday apart, Vaughn decided to book tickets on every one of his daughter’s flights just so they could be together, according to <em><a href="https://theweek.com/speedreads/814555/dad-books-6-flights-christmas-eve-spend-time-flight-attendant-daughter" target="_blank">The Week</a></em>. On a flight between Fort Myers and Detroit, according to <em><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/12/26/passenger-flight-attendant-daughter-working-christmas-flies-dad/2416662002/" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>, Vaughn was bumped to first class, where he sat next to passenger Mike Levy.</p><p>Levy was naturally very moved by Vaughn’s fatherly devotion and posted a photo on Facebook, which has been shared over 31,000 times since Monday.</p><p>“I had the pleasure of sitting next to Hal on my flight back home. His daughter Pierce was our flight attendant who had to work over Christmas. Hal decided he would spend the holiday with her,” Levy wrote on Facebook. “What a fantastic father!”</p><p>Vaughn’s daughter, Pierce, also posted about the special trip on Facebook, first beginning her post with a shout out to her mom, then saying, “A special thanks to all of the patient, wonderful gate agents around the country and my perfect crew. He made it on every flight and even got first class RSW-DTW.”</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/flight-attendant-dad-delta-christmas-travel-503518271.html" target="_blank">NBC Chicago</a>, Delta Airlines (where Pierce Vaughn works), said in a statement, “We appreciate all of our employees for working during the holidays to serve Delta customers, and love seeing this awesome Dad having the chance to spend Christmas with his daughter – even while crisscrossing the country at 30,000 feet.”</p><p>Hal Vaughn told <em>USA Today</em> that navigating all the airports and getting on all the right flights was quite challenging, but definitely worth it to be with his daughter on Christmas Eve.</p><p>Working on Christmas Eve can be a drag, but it’s automatically a lot more fun when your loved ones give you a special surprise to make your day brighter.</p>
Categories: Travel

14-year-old Girl Dies in Accidental 700-Foot Fall from Arizona's Horseshoe Bend Overlook

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 08:32
<p>A 14-year-old girl from San Jose, California, visiting the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/top-north-america-destinations" target="_blank">Horseshoe Bend</a> Overlook in Page, Arizona, has died from what authorities believe to be an accidental fall from the popular attraction.</p><p>Authorities from the <a href="http://www.coconino.az.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1909" target="_blank">Coconino Sheriff’s Office</a> reported that the teenager’s body was found at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend approximately 700 feet below the overlook’s location.</p><p>The girl’s family had reported her missing on Monday, Dec. 24, leading the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue and the Arizona Department of Public Safety to search the area.</p><p>Authorities spotted the girl’s body via helicopter Monday evening, returning to retrieve it Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. due to nighttime conditions.</p><p>The bend in the Colorado River has become a popular location for hikers and tourists looking to photograph the scene. Located approximately 140 miles from <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/national-parks/grand-canyon-national-park" target="_blank">Grand Canyon National Park’s</a> North Rim and South Rim, the bend includes an area where visitors can stand towards the edge of the canyon to see views of the river below.</p><p>The attraction receives <a href="https://horseshoebend.com/trail-facility-upgrades-underway-at-horseshoe-bend/" target="_blank">thousands of visitors per day</a>, with safety concerns in the past eventually leading to the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/glca/learn/news/horseshoe-bend-rim-railing-construction-beginning-november-6.htm" target="_blank">construction of a new viewing deck with safety railings</a>. </p><p>Officials say initial investigations point to an accidental fall from the overlook, though the incident is still currently under investigation.</p><p>The family was visiting from San Jose, California, according to authorities.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Severe Winter Storm Is Already Affecting Flights After Christmas

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 16:46
<p>In the days following Christmas, severe weather is expected to hit the Northern Plains region of the United States.</p><p>Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 26, <a href="https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/2018-12-26-winter-storm-eboni-snow-wind-plains-midwest-wet-new-england-christmas" target="_blank">Winter Storm Eboni</a> could bring near-blizzard conditions to parts of the Plains, including both Dakotas. Those in the area should expect blowing snow through Thursday. The National Weather Service has warned that residents in the Plains should “expect hazardous travel conditions Wednesday into early Friday, with heavy snow and strong winds making roads dangerous.”</p><p>In advance of the expected storms, several airlines are issuing waivers so travelers can avoid the bad weather — or, at the very least, extend their Christmas plans a few days.</p><p><a href="https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/travel-alerts.jsp" target="_blank">On American Airlines</a>, travelers scheduled to pass through North Dakota (Bismark and Fargo), South Dakota (Rapid City and Sioux Falls), Minnesota (Minneapolis-St Paul and Rochester) and La Crosse, Wisconsin can push their plans back through Dec. 30.</p><p><a href="https://www.delta.com/us/en/advisories/weather-alerts/northern-plains-winter-weather" target="_blank">Delta passengers</a> scheduled for flights on Dec. 26 and 27 through Aberdeen or Rapid City, South Dakota; Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks or Minot, North Dakota; and Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, Hibbing and International Falls, Minnesota can reschedule through Dec. 30.</p><p><a href="https://www.united.com/cms/en-us/travel/news/pages/testfirst.aspx" target="_blank">Passengers flying United Airlines</a> on Dec. 26 and 27 will be able to reschedule flights through Dec. 30. Airports affected are in North Dakota (Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Jamestown, Minot and Williston), South Dakota (Rapid City and Sioux Falls), Duluth, Minnesota and Hancock, Michigan.</p><p>The storm already left more than a foot of snow in the Sierras on Christmas Eve. Eboni is expected to move across the U.S. this week, possibly ending up in the northeast on Friday.</p>
Categories: Travel

No One Can Tell You’re Crying in the Ocean and 8 More Things to Know Before Learning to Surf

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:16
<p>I have never trusted the ocean. It's too big and too deep and too emotionally unavailable. And yet, I recently found myself walking out to the shore at Playa Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica, surfboard in tow, about to spend the next five days trying desperately to get my “Blue Crush” on.</p><p>When I got invited to join a <a href="https://safarisurfschool.com/packages/womens-surf-camp-costa-rica/" target="_blank">women's surf retreat</a> at Safari Surf School in Costa Rica, my initial reaction was a hard pass. But the more I thought about it, the less terrifying it began to sound. I'd be on a board, for one, which is basically a pool float, just shaped differently (not quite). I'd probably be able to touch the bottom because waves break in shallow water (not always). And surfing mostly happens on top of the water (definitely not).</p><p>Plus, the retreat's director, <a href="https://safarisurfschool.com/andrea-diaz/" target="_blank">Andrea Diaz</a>, was not only a surf coach, physical trainer, and certified lifeguard, but a two-time Costa Rican national champion, seven-year Roxy team surfer, and total powerhouse. A few minutes of scrolling through <a href="https://www.instagram.com/andreadiazsurfer/" target="_blank">her Instagram feed</a> convinced me that if anyone was going to teach me the ways of the water, I wanted it to be her. So I signed up.</p><p>Let's rewind from the shore a bit now. For our first lesson, we started in the pool, getting on and off the board, learning to paddle efficiently, and trying out “turtle rolls,” which are what you do when you're about to be destroyed by a wave. Then, we moved to the beach, learning the basics — the proper stance and how to “pop-up” on the board — in the sand before taking to the water. The true beginners at the retreat (my people) spent most of their time in what's called the “whitewater,” where the waves have already broken and are just rolling the rest of the way into shore slightly less aggressively. The unbroken “green waves” are what you see when you picture people surfing in your head. And what do you know, the pros at Safari Surf (hi, Dani and Mari!) got me out there in the green by Thursday.</p><p>Pardon the cliché here, but learning to surf was everything I dreamed it would be, and I wish I hadn't gone in with so much trepidation (and so little sunscreen). So, for anyone else considering taking their first surf trip, I've laid out nine things I wish I'd known before heading into and packing for the retreat.</p><h2>Swimwear should be fitted and no-fuss.</h2><p>In theory, you can surf in anything, but a string bikini is probably not the best bet for a beginner. If you'd like to avoid being distracted by your apparel, go for something tight and comfortable. I am not a fan of tight clothing, but I am even less a fan of having to pull my bottoms up and my rashguard down every few minutes. (The water can get particularly frisky when you're getting up onto the board after swimming out.) Ideally, I'd recommend opting for a simple one-piece and a standard rash guard with a snug fit. </p><img alt="surf bikini top "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545164940/surf-bikini-top.jpg?itok=uPd9rdWn"><p>I felt most comfortable in high-waisted bikini bottoms and <a href="https://www.carvedesigns.com/collections/bikini-tops-new/products/sanitas-reversible-top-tropics-multi" target="_blank">Carve Design's Sanitas bikini top</a>, which is essentially a sports bra for swimming in (with fun, reversible designs). The brand makes a <a href="https://www.carvedesigns.com/collections/rashguards-sunshirts/products/sunset-rashguard-tropics" target="_blank">matching rashguard</a>, too, and you might consider going down a size on that. One more note while we're here talking surfer fashion: the half-zip on <a href="https://www.carvedesigns.com/products/cruz-rashguard-black" target="_blank">my rash guard</a> was cute, but by the end of the session, the zipper's teeth were filled with wax from my board. Not cute. </p><h2>There's no such thing as too much sunscreen.</h2><p>There's no beach umbrella you can hide under during your lesson, so sunscreen is a must, especially if you're fair-skinned like me. When you're applying, don't forget the bottoms of your feet, which will be flipped up when you're laying on the board. And I found the water-resistant-up-to-80-minutes variety that usually does the trick for a beach day wasn't quite strong enough to keep the sun from eating my face out there in the open seas (or, accurately, the whitewater, where I could still touch the bottom). The only thing that did the trick was some borrowed “surf mud,” which is zinc-based, paste-like, and available on Amazon (<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0121VOSYE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlfirstsurflesson-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0121VOSYE&amp;linkId=b16eb29e8905b3de74411f1a4ec7154b" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $24).</p><img alt="eir surf mud "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545164940/eir-surf-mud.jpg?itok=VJyEQm07"><h2>Surfing is a full-body workout.</h2><p>Before leaving for the retreat, I was going to a chiropractor for some long-term shoulder issues and once I mentioned to him that I'd be surfing the following week, he immediately shifted our treatment plan so that I wouldn't be encumbered by a sore shoulder. I thought this was nice of him, but in my head, I was really thinking, “OK, cool, but I probably don't need my shoulder to surf.” Well, guess what: You absolutely need your shoulder to surf. Both shoulders. And your core and your lower back and your arms and your inner thighs and your stabilizers and numerous other parts of your body you are not awakened to at your office desk job. All of these places will be sore.</p><img alt="women's surf retreat costa rica "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545400507/surf-retreat-nosara-costa-rica-SURF1218.jpg?itok=h4jSrw3H"><h2>Surfing is a contact sport.</h2><p>There was a point during the first pool session when I thought to myself that this whole surfing thing might actually be kind of easy — you can see my sweet naiveté in the above photo. But in the ocean, it's not just you and the board; it's you, the board, and an endless supply of waves pushing you back to shore and currents pulling you every which way. At first, it can feel a bit like you're charging into battle with a nine-foot-long sword at your side. And there's a slew of decision-making that comes along with this, too. When a wave is coming, you need to determine if it's best to jump over, dive under, or turtle roll beneath the board and pray. So, know that you'll need to be on, physically and mentally. </p><h2>The hardest part was getting to the waves, not the actual surfing.</h2><p>This did not occur to me, but there's no ski lift for the shore, so you spend what feels like the large majority of your time in the water paddling out. In fact, a 2012 <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21986691" target="_blank">Auckland University of Technology study</a> analyzed the videos of 32 competitive surf sessions to find that only about 8 percent of the athletes' time was spent actually riding waves — eight!</p><p>I imagine paddling out feels less overwhelming for people who are in excellent cardiovascular shape and confident in their swimming skills and comfortable in the ocean, but I was unsuccessfully faking all three of these things. So, for me, learning to pass through waves without allowing them to sweep away all of my progress felt just as important — if not more important — than learning to ride one. Metaphor for life? Perhaps. Take it if you want it.</p><img alt="paddling into a wave "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545164940/richelle-surf.jpg?itok=kkD_Mu5w"><h2>A yoga background will be super helpful.</h2><p>So many elements of the pop-up will feel familiar if you've taken yoga classes, and especially if your body is used to hanging out in upward-facing dog. Also, yoga helps you cultivate a sort of awareness of your body and its position on the mat, which is not unlike what you do when positioning yourself on the board. And then there's balance. Yoga mats, unlike surfboards, do not move beneath you, so that's a fun added element, but I was grateful for my body's knowledge that looking down usually means you're going down — whether you're in tree pose or goofy-foot stance on a surfboard. (That just means your left leg is forward.)</p><h2>You will wipe out, often. </h2><p>I still hold my nose when jumping into pools, so falling off the board was what terrified me most about learning to surf. If I didn't feel stable enough, I found that I could sort of kneel down on the board and just ride the wave in on my shins (effectively a cop out). When I did finally take a plunge, I was so concerned with locating my board and making sure it didn't hit anyone else on the retreat that I forgot to be afraid of tumbling into the (two-foot deep) abyss. Looking back, the worst part of wiping out for me was ending up with a water-logged ear canal. I do wish I'd brought some sort of drying aid like Swim-Ear (<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001E5CF4E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlfirstsurflesson-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B001E5CF4E&amp;linkId=f9051ee0e0589341aa30e042911abfe9" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $5), so pack that, and thank me later. </p><img alt="surfer falling on a wave "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545164940/richelle-falling.jpg?itok=puI4eQqb"><h2>The feeling when it connects is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.</h2><p>I went into the week with the goal of standing up once. I knew it was going to be hard, so I set that bar <em>low</em>. Shockingly, I was able to stand on day one, which felt good in a wow-I'm-not-totally-incompetent-at-this way. But it wasn't until the second session that I rode a wave that made me feel like I was one with the ocean, "Moana"-style. Words like exhilarating and thrilling come close to describing what the rush of really moving with the water for the first time felt like. But the truest way I've found to explain the feeling is by telling you the second I stepped off the board at the shore, I needed to do it again. You have to try it. Especially if it terrifies you, too.</p><h2>And finally, no one can tell you’re crying in the ocean.</h2><p>Your face is already covered in salt water, friends! Tears of panic are totally indistinguishable from wave-battering residue and, somehow, knowing this brought my ego a much-needed shred of comfort out there. </p><p><em>Note: Safari Surf School Women's Retreat and Olas Verdes Hotel provided support for the reporting of this story.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Passengers on This Delta Flight to Seattle Unexpectedly Found Themselves on a Remote Island in Alaska

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 08:07
<p>If you thought your holiday travel experience was bad, think again.</p><p>According to <a href="https://thepointsguy.com/news/delta-767-diversion-leaves-passengers-on-a-remote-pacific-island-on-christmas-eve/" target="_blank"><em>The Points Guy</em>,</a> passengers on a Delta flight from Beijing, China to Seattle, Washington ended up on a major detour landing them on the remote island of Shemya in Alaska for about 12 hours on the morning of Dec. 24.</p><p>The 194 passengers on Flight 128 were told that a “potential engine issue” caused their flight to be diverted temporarily, but they never expected to be dropped off on a tiny island that is basically just a runway strip and an Air Force refueling hub.</p><p>After the passengers landed, Delta immediately dispatched a new aircraft with a team of mechanics, airport customer service, and a new plane crew to continue on their journey, according to the <em><a href="https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/aviation/2018/12/25/passengers-aboard-diverted-flight-land-safely-in-seattle/" target="_blank">Anchorage Daily News</a></em>.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/@4046198/historic" target="_blank">weather on Shemya on Dec. 24</a> was a brisk high of 39 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 36, with winds reaching up to 27 miles per hour. Not exactly the ideal place to hang out, but luckily there were facilities on the island for passengers to wait indoors, according to Delta.</p><p>The small island is not a stranger to diverted planes, actually. The little respite in southwest Alaska is often used for emergency landings or as a refueling station for commercial flights heading across the Pacific Ocean, reported the <em><a href="https://www.ajc.com/news/national/delta-flight-diverted-remote-alaskan-island-due-potential-engine-issue/Kz4xKPfc3Rt6Ws1wKiPBYK/" target="_blank">Atlanta Journal-Constitution</a></em>.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/12/24/delta-flight-from-beijing-to-seattle-diverted-to-aleutian-island/" target="_blank">Alaska Public Media</a>, the passengers all safely got onto another flight around 4 p.m. local time and landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 10 p.m. the same day, so no one had to miss Christmas after all.</p><p>Delta has not commented on what caused the mechanical issue. Hopefully nothing <i>odd</i> caused it.</p><p>“Delta apologizes to customers for the delay and has sent another aircraft to continue the flight to Seattle,” Huddleston said. “The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s top priority,” the airline said in a statement, according to the <em><a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/delta-flight-from-beijing-to-seattle-lands-on-alaskan-island-due-to-engine-issue-alaska-public-media-reports/" target="_blank">Seattle Times</a></em>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Norwegian’s New Cost-cutting Program Means You Don’t Have to Say Goodbye to Those Cheap Flights to Europe — Yet

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 06:42
<p>2018 was arguably a hard year for low cost airlines.</p><p>While some budget carriers like Ryanair, Frontier and Spirit Airlines have managed to maintain or even improve their <a href="https://www.consultancy.uk/news/13588/the-10-most-profitable-airlines-of-the-globe" target="_blank">profitability</a> in the last year, according to <a href="https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2018/06/19/ultra-low-fare-airlines-are-among-most-profitable.html" target="_blank">Chicago Business Journal</a>, other carriers like <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/wow-air-reviews" target="_blank">WOW Air</a>, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/how-to-reschedule-primera-air-flight" target="_blank">Primera Air</a> and Norwegian Air have struggled.</p><p>While Skytrax named Norwegian Air the <a href="https://www.worldairlineawards.com/worlds-best-low-cost-airlines-2018/" target="_blank">second best low-cost carrier for 2018</a> in its annual ranking of World Airline Awards, the company continues to find itself dispelling rumors of shut-down in the next year, according to <em><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norwegian-refinancing/norwegian-air-shores-up-its-balance-sheet-idUSKCN1ON0MX" target="_blank">Reuters</a></em> and <em><a href="https://thepointsguy.com/news/norwegian-air-cuts-costs-to-stay-afloat/" target="_blank">The Points Guy</a></em>.</p><p>The airline announced earlier this week that is is planning to put forth a “$230 million cost savings program,” dubbed #Focus2019, which includes changing or even discontinuing certain routes and adjustments to capacity, among other changes, the airline said in a <a href="https://newsweb.oslobors.no/message/466612" target="_blank">statement</a> on the Oslo Stock Exchange on Monday.</p><p>The airline added that these changes are being made “to meet the competitive environment in a period with seasonally lower demand in Europe,” adding, “Six weeks into the program, we have already identified significant savings.</p><p>Like many airlines, Norwegian Air has had some ups and downs over the last year. Most recently, the carrier has experienced some issues with equipment. Many of the carrier’s planes with Rolls-Royce engines have been grounded for repairs, which put a severe damper on operations, according to <em>The Points Guy</em>. The airline has struck an agreement with the engine manufacturer, which possibly includes compensation, though the details of the deal are confidential.</p><p>But despite these setbacks, the airline is confident it will not only be able to save money but also be able to order 200 new planes in the first half of next year without issues with liquidity.</p><p>“[The program] also includes refinancing of one of the delivered (Boeing) <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/boeing-private-787" target="_blank">Dreamliners</a>, resulting in a positive liquidity effect of NOK 275 million (just over $31 million USD) in December 2018,” the company said, according to <em>Reuters</em>. Some existing planes in Norwegian Air’s fleet are also planned to be sold.</p><p>“We experience significant interest in our existing fleet as well as future deliveries. The company recently signed a letter of intent for the sale of two aircraft with delivery in the first quarter of 2019,” the company said in a statement.</p><p><a href="https://thepointsguy.com/news/norwegian-air-cuts-costs-to-stay-afloat/" target="_blank"><em>The Points Guy</em> reported earlier this week</a> that there were rumors of the carrier struggling to maintain book equity (also known as shareholder’s equity, or net worth), which is the company’s total assets (what it owns) minus total liabilities (company debts). But earlier this week, the carrier told TPG that the rumors were “pure speculation” and that “liquidity is satisfactory.”</p><p>Still, Norwegian Air said in its statement that it is still looking to “[form] a joint venture for aircraft ownership.”</p><p>The company intends to give another update in April, after its first quarter report is in.</p>
Categories: Travel

Customs Beagle at Atlanta Airport Finds Six-inch Millipede That ‘Hitchhiked’ From South Africa

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 06:36
<p>No matter what’s stowed away in your baggage, a dog’s nose knows how to sniff it out.</p><p>Even if that certain stowaway is a little...<i>strange</i>.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/african-millipede-found-cbp-beagle-brigade-atlanta-airport" target="_blank">U.S. Customs and Border Protection</a> (CBP) website, Regal, an on-duty dog on the CBP’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/customs-beagle-atlanta-smells-pig-in-luggage">Beagle Brigade</a> managed to sniff out a live giant African millipede at <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/atlanta-airport" target="_blank">Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport</a> on Dec. 18.</p><p>The millipede apparently “hitchhiked” on a traveler’s bag coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, it says on the CBP website. The traveler did not know how the insect managed to wiggle its way into the bag, but were relieved not to bring it home to South Carolina, <a href="https://www.wltx.com/article/news/nation-now/customs-dog-sniffs-out-millipede-hidden-inside-travelers-suitcase-at-atlanta-airport/465-1b66db39-82e9-4a09-a90b-80545f98f19c" target="_blank">WLTX reported</a>.</p><p>The CBP measured the millipede at about six inches, which would have been quite a shock for anyone trying to unpack after a long trip. Luckily, Regal the Beagle was on the job.</p><p>“CBP is on the frontline 24/7, searching for anything entering our country that could potentially harm our citizens. Our beagle sniffing out this millipede highlights how valuable our canine members are to protecting the U.S.,” said Carey Davis, Atlanta CBP Area Port Director on the CBP website.</p><p>The millipede is just one of many prohibited animals attempting to pass through U.S. Customs. According to the CBP, the organization “[intercepts] 4,638 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 352 agriculture pests and diseases,” on a “typical day” around the country.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/giant-african-millipede" target="_blank">San Diego Zoo website</a>, the African millipede is not a predatory creature. Instead, it’s a “gentle giant” that will coil up and secrete a bad smelling fluid to ward off any threats. However, the sight of the millipede can be fairly frightful for some, since the shiny, black insect can grow to about a foot long and have 300 to 400 legs.</p><p>For any insect lovers out there, the millipede is still safe, despite being caught red-handed (or 400 red-handed). CBP Agriculture Specialists are attempting to find it a home, possibly with “a local insectarium,” the <a href="https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article223495665.html" target="_blank"><em>Charlotte Observer</em> reported</a>.</p><p>The TSA and CBP intercept a number of strange “hitchhikers,” including <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/customs-beagle-atlanta-smells-pig-in-luggage" target="_blank">roasted pig’s heads</a>, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/finches-smuggled-hair-rollers-singing-competition" target="_blank">birds stowed in hair rollers</a> and even <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/logan-airport-huge-lobster-in-checked-bag" target="_blank">massive lobsters</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Someone Went on a Joyride in a Stolen NYC Bus — and It Took 8 Hours for the MTA to Notice

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 06:05
<p>In a move reminiscent of “The Grinch,” someone in New York City stole a bus, drove it around for a few hours and then returned it to where they found it.</p><p>On Sunday evening, somebody found an unattended <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/new-york-city" target="_blank">New York City</a> bus parked in the Bronx, climbed inside, pushed the keyless ignition button and drove off to Queens.</p><p>“I heard about this and I thought that was a joke,” one city bus driver <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/12/25/it-took-almost-8-hours-for-mta-to-notice-bus-had-been-taken-on-joyride/" target="_blank">told the <em>New York Post</em></a>. “The problem is, you have a lot of people who have a fantasy about driving a city bus, and when you leave a bus out there in the open with no one inside, you’re at risk of someone stealing it.”</p><p>But within eight hours, the bus-napper drove back up to the Bronx and left the bus about a half-mile from where they found it.</p><p>The bus reportedly went missing around 8 p.m. on Sunday. It’s unclear when Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials actually noticed that the vehicle was missing. But by 4 a.m. on Monday morning, the bureau discovered — via the bus’s built-in GPS — that the vehicle had been taken on a joyride to a different borough. Whoever stole the bus had a change of heart at some point and turned around, driving back to the Bronx and leaving the bus parked about a half-mile from where they found it.</p><p>This is not the first time that a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-in-new-york" target="_blank">New York City</a> bus has been stolen and taken for a ride. Because the buses do not require a key to operate, or even a keyless fob, anybody can climb in, press the “start” button and take off. One city bus driver told the <i>New York Post </i>that it was “a big problem.” Last year, <a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nyc-man-stole-mta-bus-joyride-face-year-jail-article-1.2935027" target="_blank">a man in Staten Island was sentenced to one year</a> in prison after stealing several buses.</p><p>New York police are still investigating the incident. So far, no one has been charged in relation to the case.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Become a Pilot for a Private or Commercial Airline

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 13:00
<p>You might fly regularly and still have no idea what a pilot actually does, and you’d be in good company. So in one sentence, here’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/how-to-survive-a-plane-going-down-according-to-a-pilot" target="_blank">what a pilot does</a>: They operate the engine and navigational controls to fly an aircraft. But of course, a pilot’s job extends far beyond that and doesn’t just start at take off and end at landing. Being a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/buttons-pilot-should-never-push" target="_blank">pilot means doing pre-flight safety checks</a> and monitoring the engine, fuel, and interior systems before, after, and during the flight. And the skies aren’t always so friendly—pilots need to be able to maneuver in unfortunate weather conditions, even while sleep-deprived on a long flight.</p><p>Whether becoming a pilot is a bucket-list goal for you, or you’re already a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/instagram-pilot-lindy" target="_blank">licensed pilot</a> looking to work commercially, consider this an introduction on how to become a pilot:</p><h2>What Kind of Pilot Do You Want to Become?</h2><p>Getting your pilot’s license is a much more ambiguous goal than you would think. Consider your end goal before you start studying and looking up flight schools so you can hone your focus. Do you want to fly for a major airline? Or are you looking for a private pilot’s license? As the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/pilots/become/student_cert/" target="_blank">FAA</a> reminds future applicants, “There are several different types of pilot's licenses, from student pilot all the way up to airline transport pilot.” You’ll want to think seriously about which kind of license and training you want to pursue.</p><h2>Do You Need a College Degree to Become a Pilot?</h2><p>You do not need a bachelor’s degree to get your pilot’s license. However, you need a four-year college education to become a pilot for a major U.S.-based airline. If you are more interested in flying for a smaller, regional airline, you may not need a college degree. But if you’re specifically looking into how to become an airline pilot, it certainly helps if you have a college degree.</p><h2>How Do You Get a Student Pilot’s License?</h2><p>Let’s start with the most elementary pilot’s license. A <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/teen-pilot-makes-emergency-landing-during-first-solo-flight" target="_blank">student pilot’s license</a> is necessary to fly a plane on your own. So it’s something you need to obtain well before you get your private pilot’s license, but it isn’t necessary to take flying lessons. The student pilot’s license doesn’t cost money, but you may need your instructor to vouch for your flight ability. There are certain restrictions on your student pilot’s license—for example, you’re not allowed to fly cross-country. And you need to undergo a medical exam before applying for the student pilot’s license.</p><h2>How to Become a Pilot: Obtaining Your Private Pilot’s License</h2><p>After getting a medical exam and receiving your student pilot’s license, your next step is to get a private pilot’s license. That requires taking the FAA Written Exam, which you can pass before or during flight training. However, <a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-become-a-private-pilot-282676" target="_blank"><em>The Balance</em> points out</a> that it’s easier to train for your pilot’s license if you’ve already taken the written exam because you have more foundational knowledge. Next comes flying experience: You’ll start with the basics like take off, landing, radio communication, and emergency procedures. You have to complete at least 40 hours of flight time during your training, including at least 10 hours of solo flying (and five of those hours need to be for a solo cross-country flight) and 20 hours with an instructor. According to <em><a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-become-a-private-pilot-282676" target="_blank">The Balance</a></em>, you'll also need “at least three hours of cross-country training with your instructor, including three hours of night flying, one cross-country that is over 100 nautical miles, 10 takeoffs and landings, and three hours of basic instrument training.”</p><p>And finally, after your written exam and flight hours, it’s time for the FAA Practical Exam. There are three components: A verbal exam, a flight exam, and predictably, a hefty amount of paperwork. The flight portion is one to two hours long, and the entire exam can take anywhere from two to six hours. Once you pass, you’re officially a licensed private pilot (your examiner will give you a temporary license until your official FAA certificate arrives).</p><h2>How to Become a Commercial Pilot</h2><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/jetblue/jetblue-hiring-pilots-no-experience-necessary" target="_blank">Becoming a commercial pilot</a> does not necessarily mean you are an airline pilot. On the contrary, to become an airline pilot, you have to have your commercial pilot’s license and an Airline Transport Certificate. A commercial pilot is anyone who is approved by the FAA to charge money to fly an air vessel, which includes airline pilots, cargo pilots, backcountry pilots, tour pilots, flight instructors, ferry pilots, or glider tow pilots.</p><p>For those looking into how to become a commercial pilot, you should know that you must attend FAA-approved flight school. You might even consider getting a private flying instructor. Beyond demonstrating your flight ability, you have to take a written test and an instrument rating exam.</p><p>You’ll have to complete at least 250 hours of flight time to obtain a commercial pilot’s license. That must include 100 pilot-in-command hours and 50 hours of cross-country flight, including one flight that is at least 300 nautical miles. You also need “at least 10 hours of instrument training and 10 hours in a complex aircraft,” according to <em><a href="https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-become-a-commercial-pilot-282898" target="_blank">The Balance</a></em>.</p><h2>The Physical and Medical Examination</h2><p>Putting in the flight time and the study time is only part of the pilot’s license equation. You must also be deemed physically and mentally fit to fly. Part of the physical exam, for example, is showing that you have good hearing and 20/20 vision, or vision that can be corrected to 20/20. If you’re figuring out how to become an airline pilot, know that there may be additional airline-specific psychological or physical evaluations beyond the regulation exams. Some airlines will also require that you to take a drug test.</p><p>The FAA recommends that you go through your medical exam before flight training. They say a medical certificate is needed in order to fly alone in any of the following aircrafts: airplane, helicopter, gyroplane, or airship. And don’t forget that your medical exam needs to be administered by an <a href="https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/" target="_blank">FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Should You Buy That Cheap Spirit Airlines Ticket?

Wed, 12/26/2018 - 12:01
<p>When <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/kayak-plan-vacation-at-work-desktop-escape" target="_blank">searching for flights</a> on sites like Kayak or Expedia and sorting by lowest price, you'll likely spot some options from Spirit Airlines. But is flying with the budget carrier worth it? </p><p>Spirit is headquartered out of Miramar, Florida and they’re committed to offering you the lowest possible price, which they offer by starting you out with a “BareFare.” It’s a bare-bones ticket, and all add-ons including seat assignments, bags, and extra legroom will cost you. The idea is that if you cut out all the extras most airlines charge for automatically, you’ll be left with a cheap ticket and given the option to pay only for what you need.</p><p>Spirit operates about 400 flights every day, and covers 60 destinations within the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. They’re also considering <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/spirit-airlines-expanding-international-routes" target="_blank">expanding to offer more international flights</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/ryanair-reviews" target="_blank">Should You Buy That Cheap Ryanair Ticket?</a></p><p>When sorting through the internet’s thoughts on Spirit Airlines, one thing is clear: People appreciate the fact that they’re upfront about all the things they don’t provide. You tend to get into trouble with Spirit when you don’t realize they’re going to charge you for things like carry-on bags.</p><p>Here are all the questions you have about flying Spirit, answered:</p><h2>Can I carry on a bag?</h2><p>It better be small. One personal item, "<a href="https://www.spirit.com/OptionalServices" target="_blank">something like a laptop bag or purse</a>" is included with Bare Fare, and it must be smaller than 18" x 14" x 8". To bring a more substantial carry-on that needs to go into the overhead bin, you will be charged an <a href="https://www.spirit.com/OptionalServices" target="_blank">extra fee</a>. Lance Ulanoff says on <em><a href="https://medium.com/@LanceUlanoff/this-is-what-its-like-to-fly-spirit-airlines-4f4625d68c3c" target="_blank">Medium</a></em>, “They were happy to accommodate a satchel or backpack (provided it was small enough) to slide under the seat in front of me, but I’d have to pay $45 to bring on my suitcase. If I didn’t pay for my carry-on in advance, it would cost me more at the airport.”</p><h2>How is check-in?</h2><p>Spirit has an app, and Ulanoff said he was able to use the app to add his boarding pass to his digital wallet. But if you’re not prepared, Spirit sometimes isn't the most helpful when you show up at the airport, according to Jonelle F. on <a href="https://www.yelp.com/biz/spirit-airlines-los-angeles?hrid=8K__C8dM4_8yv4uX5psC-Q&amp;utm_campaign=www_review_share_popup&amp;utm_medium=copy_link&amp;utm_source=(direct)" target="_blank">Yelp</a>.</p><p>“The check-in wasn't easy. You can't go up to the counter to check-in if you choose. You must check-in at the automated station, weigh your own bags and tag your own cases,” Jonelle wrote. “There was a long line, but we got to the airport in time, so that wasn't a problem. This was the problem, the fact that bag check is $50 PER CHECKED BAG!!!!!”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/wow-air-reviews" target="_blank">Should You Buy That Cheap WOW Air Ticket?</a></p><h2>Are there any amenities?</h2><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/spirit-airlines-wifi" target="_blank">Spirit Airlines does not currently offer Wi-Fi</a>, but it will <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/spirit-airlines-high-speed-wifi-onboard" target="_blank">become the first U.S. budget airline to do so this fall</a>.</p><p>“They offer no Wi-Fi on any flights. They have no TVs and no entertainment what so ever. They have no power, even in their upfront seats,” Brittany F. wrote on <a href="https://www.yelp.com/biz/spirit-airlines-los-angeles?hrid=PnDKzW7ZvJmsEcqvi8kmpQ&amp;utm_campaign=www_review_share_popup&amp;utm_medium=copy_link&amp;utm_source=(direct)" target="_blank">Yelp</a>.</p><p>In terms of other amenities, it sounds like no beverage service means no beverage service; They even charge for water, Jonelle pointed out. Beyond that, your personal space is pretty compact, and your seats are unlikely to recline.</p><p>“Inside my Spirit Airlines airplane, I found clean, spare looking blue leather-covered seats. Sure enough, mine did not recline. In place of a seat pocket, there was what looked like a crisscrossed bungy cord. The fold-down tray table was the size of an iPad mini. There was no screen or technology of any sort on the clean, curved back of the seat in front of me,” Ulanoff said.</p><h2>Can you sit together?</h2><p>Yes, but you have to buy a block of seats. “Spirit makes no guarantees that you'll be able to sit with your tribe unless you reserve a block of seats in advance at a cost ranging from $1 to $50 per seat,” David Landsel said on <a href="https://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/24190882/if-you-re-still-grumbling-about-spirit-airlines-you-re-probably-doing-it-wrong/" target="_blank">Airfare Watchdog</a>.</p><h2>What’s the legroom like?</h2><p>You can stretch your legs, but it’ll cost you. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) The nice thing is that at least Spirit is completely transparent that if you’re interested in not being cramped, you’ll have to pay for it. If you want extra leg room, you can pay for the <a href="https://thepointsguy.com/reviews/spirit-airlines-big-front-seat/" target="_blank">Big Front Seat</a>. (Yes, that’s really what it’s called.)</p><p>“Spirit's Big Front Seat product (a row of larger, comfier seats with a relatively generous 36" pitch at the front of the plane, starting at $12 per flight) is actually terrific value, when seats are available,” Landsel said.</p><p>Landsel says the Big Front Seat tends to be worth it because it allows you to book an actual seat, instead of leaving your seat assignment to chance. The only issue is that there might not be Big Front Seats available when you book.</p><h2>Is the plane clean?</h2><p>Ulanoff said both his Spirit Air flights were clean and the cabin crew was particularly vigilant about taking passengers' trash. On the flip side, Brittany F. on <a href="https://www.yelp.com/biz/spirit-airlines-los-angeles?hrid=PnDKzW7ZvJmsEcqvi8kmpQ&amp;utm_campaign=www_review_share_popup&amp;utm_medium=copy_link&amp;utm_source=(direct)" target="_blank">Yelp</a> said her aircraft was dirty. So you'll probably be OK, but know you're taking your chances.</p><h2>What’s the overall vibe?</h2><p>Ulanoff said the in-flight humor was certainly “spirited.” Obviously, we’re not booking flights based on the flight attendants' jokes, but it’s good to know that there will be some sky-high laughing involved. “Right before we deplaned, [the flight attendant] said, ‘If you wish to make any complaints, its ‘Jetblue.com,’” Ulanoff noted. Good one.</p><p>Ultimately, it sounds like Spirit Airlines is a perfect solution for a cheap, short flight. That’s what Landsel suggests; He flew from San Diego to Las Vegas and said that’s really the best use of a Spirit ticket. With the fact that they’re charging for water and not offering reclining seats, you might not want to trek across the country with Spirit. Similarly, if you’re going somewhere for a long stretch of time, Spirit might not be the way to go, because it costs a lot to carry on or check a substantial bag. But for a short trip where you don’t need a lot of outfit choices, why not put up with the tiny trays and lack of Wi-Fi (for now) for a ticket that’s well under $100?</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Become a Flight Attendant

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 13:00
<p>Thinking of becoming a flight attendant? It’s hard to argue with a job that comes with perks like flying for free. If you could find a job that allows you to travel the world without paying for plane tickets, that could work out pretty nicely. Becoming a flight attendant isn’t all glamour and trips to Morocco and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/island-vacations/maldives-on-a-budget" target="_blank">the Maldives</a>, though. It requires training and working the flights more senior flight attendants don’t want. You could get stuck flying the 5 a.m. Atlanta to Tampa route for quite some time. But there is room for upward mobility in the flight attendant world, opportunity for work camaraderie, and perhaps best of all, the chance to see the world.</p><p>If you’re considering a career as a flight attendant, you’re probably brimming with questions. Do you need a college degree? What’s the training program like? How long does it take? Don’t worry, we’ve got all the answers to get you in the sky. Here’s how to become a flight attendant:</p><h2>Where Do I Start?</h2><p>Here’s a little-known fact about becoming a flight attendant: You train after you get the gig. It’s not like becoming a pilot, where you have to get a commercial pilot’s license before you can apply to be an airline pilot. For those interested in becoming a flight attendant, you have to first apply to various airlines and get hired. If you get the gig, you then take their <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/emirates-flight-attendant" target="_blank">three-to-six week intensive training course</a>.</p><h2>Do You Need a College Degree?</h2><p>Not technically, no. Most airlines only require applicants to have a high school education or GED. However, having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree only helps you secure employment with a major airline. Even better, if your degree is in marketing, hospitality, communication, or tourism, that’s a big plus from the airline’s perspective. If you have related skills, even that you didn’t pick up from a college education, like waiting tables, working in a hotel, or even hosting at a beachside bar and grill, that could help you get hired, too. Keep in mind that while you don’t need a college degree, you do need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a job as a flight attendant.</p><h2>What are Airlines Looking For in Applicants?</h2><p>They want you to present professionally, preferably have some sort of customer service experience, be personable, and be able to stand on your feet for long periods of time. Sound easy? It’s much harder than you think. Any service industry job can be hard on your body, and being a flight attendant is no exception. You may be sleep deprived and get minimal breaks, but you still have to be responsible for your cabin on a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/singapore-airlines-worlds-longest-flight-newark-singapore-nonstop" target="_blank">19-hour flight</a> from Newark to Singapore. You also need to be tall enough to reach the overhead bins and have vision that can be corrected to 20/40. When applying for a job as a flight attendant, you’ll need to be able to pass a background check and a drug test.</p><h2>How to Become a Flight Attendant: The Training Program</h2><p>Once you’re hired by the airline, it’s off to the training program. The <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines-customer-service-texting" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines</a> training program runs for five-and-a-half weeks, according to the <a href="https://blog.alaskaair.com/alaska-airlines/people/the-bachelor-lauren-b/" target="_blank">Alaska Air blog</a>. In training, you learn how to handle emergency situations, including managing evacuations, using oxygen masks and life vests, and operating the evacuation slides. If you thrive in a classroom environment, the training will play to your strengths. After the theoretical portion of training comes practice flights. That’s when you’ll get your feet wet and learn firsthand what it means to be a flight attendant. The opportunity to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/behind-the-scenes-with-a-flight-attendant" target="_blank">learn from flight attendants</a> who have been working for years is really valuable. You’ll get to see what works for your colleagues and what doesn’t, and pick their brains for advice. Once you’ve completed your training and practice flights, the airline will submit the application for your Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency to the FAA.</p><h2>How Do You Become a Flight Attendant?</h2><p>Now that you know what it takes to become a flight attendant, and what experience and education will make you a more desirable candidate, it’s time to start finding the right flight attendant jobs for you. The first two things you want to think about are: What kind of company do you want to work for? And where would you like to be based? For example, would you prefer working for a regional airline that flies primarily in the continental U.S., or do you want to be working international flights as soon as possible? These decisions will help inform your job search.</p><h2>The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Flight Attendant</h2><p>There are downsides to every job, and becoming a flight attendant is no different. You will have to dress in a specific uniform. Hair and makeup needs to meet your airline’s regulations, and sometimes female flight attendant’s heels are required to be a certain height. You will often have to work holidays, and you are typically paid hourly for flying time, but not for time spent getting through security or on layovers. The upside, of course, is that you get to travel for free or a very low price almost anywhere. That means international flights at hugely discounted rates, and those discounts sometimes apply to first class seats as well.</p>
Categories: Travel

These 'Feminist City Guides' Will Steer You Toward Female-led Businesses Around the Globe

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 12:01
<p>Nearly <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2016/08/10/most-travelers-today-are-women-and-industry-may-finally-catching/MrBBK7ZqAt13VqT6Kp50PJ/story.html" target="_blank">two-thirds of travelers</a> are women. Yet, somehow, for decades the gender got the short end of the travel stick. Until now.</p><p>Women now have more options than ever when it comes to the ways they can explore the world. There are more companies catering to women via <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/adventure-travel/travel-companies-for-women" target="_blank">female-only tours</a>, gender-specific gear made for <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/ultimate-travel-essentials/womens-clothes" target="_blank">female travelers</a>, and even airlines who will go to great lengths to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/airline-solo-women-traveler-assistance" target="_blank">protect women flying solo</a>. And now, a new publication is helping women dive even deeper by guiding them not only through new places but directly towards other women making a difference and changing the world.</p><p>“We realized there was nothing on the market and the void needed to be filled,” Elise Fitzsimmons, co-founder, publisher, and head of operations at the new female-focused travel magazine <em>Unearth Women</em> told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>.</p><p>The biggest hole, the <em>Unearth Women</em> team found, was the need to not only serve readers incredible travel content but to steer them toward other women in far-flung regions of the world. So they came up with one brilliant idea: <a href="https://www.unearthwomen.com/category/feminist-city-guides/" target="_blank">Feminist City Guides</a>.</p><p>“The Feminist City Guides are a way for women and their allies to really engage with a place that empowers local communities as opposed to just general ‘10 cool places to eat,’” Fitzsimmons said. “It helps people really be a traveler or person who’s journeying with care and caution.”</p><p>Inside the guides, readers will find female-owned businesses worth traveling to in each city, restaurants that are home to cutting-edge female chefs, and spaces every traveler must see. But it goes beyond that too.</p><p>“It’s also about raising awareness of human trafficking in Kathmandu or Palestinian refugees in Beirut, or how female tattoo artists are changing the landscape in South Korea,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s about not just acknowledging a place for what it is. Instead, these guides allow people to really take a moment and read about the historical and cultural importance of the women who are in that place along with their current needs, desires, and concerns. And through this, travelers can hopefully interact with them in a way that is more meaningful.”</p><img alt="Unearth Women, Feminist Travel Magazine "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545334944/unearth-women-feminist-travel-magazine-UNEARTH1218.jpg?itok=GlugmJep"><p>On the magazine’s website, readers can currently find guides for more than 20 locations including popular destinations like London, Johannesburg, Jaipur, Portland, Seoul, and more. Inside the <a href="https://www.unearthwomen.com/2018/12/06/a-feminist-city-guide-to-london/" target="_blank">London guide</a>, for example, readers can find unique recommendations like “visit the Florence Nightingale Museum,” and “Grab a Book at This Feminist Library,” along with a few female-inspired accommodations.</p><p>Fitzsimmons says each guide is commissioned, curated, and posted with care and understanding. And that’s why you may have to wait just a little bit longer for each one to post.</p><p>“The largest issue that women face when traveling is also their greatest advantage: it is our visible gender,” Fitzsimmons told T+L. “As a woman, our gender predisposes us to all of the social capital as well as the inherent inequity of the society we visit. Our gender also entitles us to enter spaces that men are not allowed; offering us a glimpse into a world only be seen by a fraction of people.”</p><p>She added, “At <i>Unearth Women</i> we recognize that women the world over deserve equal footing and that until we are all equal, none of us are.”</p><p>Read more of the <a href="https://www.unearthwomen.com/category/feminist-city-guides/" target="_blank">feminist city guides</a> here.</p>
Categories: Travel

Renowned Photographer Jimmy Chin Shares His Tips For Adventure Photography

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 14:02
<p>Capturing magnificent photographs of an adventure can be just as challenging, if not more challenging at times, than embarking on the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/adventure-travel" target="_blank">adventure</a> itself.</p><p>While the craft takes immense dedication and hard work, having the right advice and tips can help budding photographers get started on their path.</p><p><em>Travel + Leisure </em>spoke to photographer, filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete <a href="https://jimmychin.com" target="_blank">Jimmy Chin</a>, whose award-winning photographs have appeared on a variety of noted covers, to discover his tricks of the trade.</p><p>His first piece of advice? Don’t try to shoot everything.</p><p>“A lot of people try to shoot everything, and I found that the most successful photographers focus on something very specific, like a subject or area of activity that they’re really passionate about and have a connection to,” Chin told T+L.</p><p>“When you shoot one thing — for me it was climbing — you really push yourself because you’re shooting the same thing and looking at a lot of the same type of photography over and over, so you have a bar that is set and you then focus on how you want to shoot the same subject and put your visual language around it,” he added.</p><p>He recommends looking at images of interest and asking yourself why it interests you and what you like about it. </p><p><strong>Related: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/professional-photographer-gear" target="_blank">Here’s All the Gear Behind Those Amazing Professional Travel Photos (Video)</a></strong></p><p>“Ask yourself these questions and answer them, because it makes your eye much more intentional the next time you look through a lens.” Chin also recommends looking at images and imagining what it took for the photographer to capture the image, as thinking about this process can later help with your own shooting.</p><p>While Chin finds narrowing down on a particular subject is good, he does not recommend photographers get too focused on plans of what they'd like to capture before a shoot. Instead, Chin finds that most of the fun comes in the spontaneous moments that force a photographer to work through challenges and problems that can arise during a shoot. </p><p>One of the ways Chin recommends to do this is to stick around during a shoot, as some of the best shots can come when you least expect them. </p><img alt="Jimmy Chin snaps a photograph during a shoot. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545076948/jimmy-chin-photography-PHOTOG1218.jpg?itok=wF9DXPNH"><p>"You never know when something is going to happen…you could be shooting portraits of a subject sitting and then the moment after they loosen up and it's over is when you might get something more interesting,” Chin said.</p><p>He also said the same of landscape photography, finding that while most people will shoot the sunset, some of the most incredible light can come after the sunset during dusk. </p><p>In addition, consider angles you wouldn't think of. "Looking behind you can be really beautiful because if you're not seeing the shot in front of you, it could be right behind you," Chin said. </p><p>When it comes to scouting locations, Chin prefers destinations without large crowds, which is why he recommends taking the time to research locations that aren't as easy to get to and are off the beaten path. </p><img alt="Photographer Jimmy Chin shares his tips and tricks for budding adventure photographers. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1544643137/jimmy-chin-adventure-photography-PHOTOG1218.jpg?itok=mD4zF4W7"><p>“It’s about the process of exploring different places and having an adventure to get out there to shoot,” Chin said, with some of his favorite locations so far having been Antarctica and the Himalayas. “The vastness of it combined with the cold makes it feel like another planet,” Chin said of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/cruises/quark-expeditions-new-antarctica-cruise-ship" target="_blank">Antarctica’s</a> scenery.</p><p>Asking yourself where a location is that you would not normally think to go to can be a good starting point for finding locations of interest. </p><p>Finally, when it comes to equipment, Chin advises to put away and organize all of your equipment directly after a shoot, as the time before shoots can often be rushed and thus materials can get left behind. </p><p>Those interested in learning more of Chin’s techniques can check out his <a href="https://www.masterclass.com/classes/jimmy-chin-teaches-adventure-photography" target="_blank">new online course</a> with <a href="https://www.masterclass.com" target="_blank">MasterClass</a>, which brings together a variety of online courses from noted practitioners around the world. The course, which is $90 for lifetime access, covers topics that range from location scouting and gear advice to editing and more.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Innovative Ways One Puerto Rico Hotel Is Using Cannabis to Help Residents Heal After Hurricane Maria

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 13:00
<p><a href="http://tressirenas.com/" target="_blank">Tres Sirenas</a>, one of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/my-puerto-rico-app-hotels" target="_blank">Puerto Rico</a>’s most stylish and intimate boutique hotels, has come up with a creative way to bring the community together post-hurricane, and it involves the incorporation of a versatile ingredient — cannabis — into its programming.</p><p>Just months after the state legalized the use of the plant for medical purposes, the idyllic, five-room Rincón hotel rolled out a marijuana dinner series and cannabis-infused <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/yoga-for-travelers" target="_blank">yoga</a> program, both of which take place about once a month.</p><img alt="Tres Sirenas hotel on the beach in Puerto Rico "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545320045/tres-sirenas-hotel-beach-puerto-rico-TRESSIRENAS1218.jpg?itok=747Q-ZkH"><p>Emily Masters, a certified yoga instructor and the daughter of Lisa Masters, who, along with Wanda Acosta, runs the beachfront property, is the mastermind behind the concept.</p><p>“It’s created a sense of community for a lot of people,” says Emily, who has taught yoga for nearly a decade. “After the hurricane, there’s a lot of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. But through the yoga and the dinner parties, people are finding a natural, medication-free way to start over.”</p><img alt="Cananbis dinner at Tres Sirenas hotel in Puerto Rico "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545320045/tres-sirenas-cannabis-dinner-TRESSIRENAS1218.jpg?itok=v7DXHuJO"><p>Emily reached out to celebrated chef Christopher Klos, who closed his popular Rincón restaurant Saltaire post-Maria, to devise the dinner series’ locally driven, five-course menu. Sample dishes have included a <em>calabaza</em> soup with cannabis-infused honey and a papaya salad with peanut sauce and vinegar laced with the all-star ingredient.</p><p>For the yoga, Emily partnered up with a handful of local dispensaries to curate a sampling of products she recommends for the healing class, which is held on the hotel’s breezy, pool-facing yoga deck.</p><img alt="Yoga deck at Tres Sirenas hotel in Puerto Rico "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1545320045/tres-sirenas-yoga-deck-TRESSIRENAS1218.jpg?itok=bSv2hNMp"><p>“To ensure it’s a comfortable environment for everyone, we’ll start the class by talking about the various products we’ve selected,” says Emily. “From there, we move into a blend of vinyasa flow and yin yoga, which has a rigorous start but ends on a restorative note.”</p><p>Because Puerto Rico is a reciprocal cannabis state, travelers holding medical marijuana cards in other states, like California and Florida, are able to partake.</p><p>“I’ve gotten great feedback from friends who have visited the island,” says Emily. “You don’t need to be recovering from a hurricane to reap the benefits of cannabis.”</p><p><em>Our series <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/reasons-to-travel" target="_blank">Reasons to Travel Now</a> highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

This Secret iPhone Hack Will Turn Your Phone Into a Flight Tracker

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:01
<p>Tracking your flight is easier than you think. If you have an iPhone, that is.</p><p>For Apple users, you might be happy to find out that you actually have a built-in flight tracker already on your phone without having to download an app. All you have to do is open your Messages app.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.cultofmac.com/596968/track-flight-messages-app/" target="_blank">Cult of Mac</a>, Mac and iOS systems have a tool called “data detectors,” which are features that recognize numbers like dates, addresses and yes, even flight numbers, and turns them into searchable links. So all you have to do is tap or click and voila: dates and times are suddenly in your iCal. Addresses are added to your contacts or opened in Maps. Tracking numbers go directly to USPS, FedEx or UPS. And simple flight numbers are easily tracked and updated, which is probably the best of all.</p><p>So, how do you get this magical tool to give you yours or your loved one’s flight details? Well, all you need to do is send (or have them send) the flight number in the Messages app.</p><p>Then, you’ll notice that the flight number will be underlined, like a link. Tap it, or click it if you’re using the app on your Mac, and you’ll be shown two options: either copy the number or track flight.</p><p>Obviously, track flight.</p><p>Once you tap this option, your phone or computer will open your flight details. If it’s already in the air, you’ll see how far along the flight is in its journey. If not, you can see if it’s still on time. Or, knock on wood, if it’s canceled.</p><p>And it’s just as accurate as going to an airline website or downloading a flight tracker, according to Cult of Mac.</p><p>Cult of Mac also added that if this trick doesn’t work (if the flight number is written somewhere else, like in an email or in the Notes app), you can also highlight and click the number, then select “Look Up” from the pop-up menu.</p><p>Easy-peasy. Now you can delete those useless flight tracker apps and use that precious phone space for even more <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/photography/travel-photo-tips" target="_blank">beautiful vacation photos</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

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