Meghan, Harry and the Queen of England All Had Tea — What That Means

Travel and Leisure - 1 hour 56 min ago
<p>Things appear to be heating up even more between Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle.</p><p>While their romance has been well-documented over the last year, from their <a href="" target="_blank">trip to Africa</a> and their recent PDA-filled outing at the <a href="" target="_blank">Invictus Games</a>, the latest rumor has many royal watchers thinking that an engagement is imminent.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Emma Watson and Kate Middleton Go Everywhere in These $65 Sneakers</a></p><p>According to reports, the couple recently enjoyed a bit of tea time with her Majesty, which could mark the final step before their rumored engagement announcement next month.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Having tea with Queen Elizabeth is certainly always cause for celebration, but this meeting could mark the moment the Queen gives her blessing to the couple.</p><p>As the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em> reported</a>, Meghan and Harry allegedly arrived at the Queen's private entrance to Buckingham Palace for an informal hang sesh with her Majesty. The Thursday event was also not "widely publicized within the palace,” according to Daily Mail, which also noted that light snacks were served alongside the Queen’s own blend of Darjeeling and Assam tea.</p><p>And although the couple seems rather open about their relationship (Meghan even commented on it during a recent <a href="" target="_blank">interview with <em>Vanity Fair</em></a>), those inside Kensington Palace are staying incredibly mum.</p><p>“We have refrained from commenting on all previous stories about Prince Harry introducing Meghan Markle to members of the Royal Family and therefore we have no comment,” a spokesperson for the palace told the <em>Daily Mail</em>.</p><p>While this tea time feels significant, it isn’t the first time the Suits star has met with the Queen. As <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Elle</em> noted</a>, she first met with Queen Elizabeth several months ago at the royal family’s summer home in Balmoral.</p><p>However, with this meeting it looks like we are inching ever closer to a public declaration of love and marriage. As Meghan told <em>Vanity fair</em>, “We're a couple, we're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Disney Is Making a Huge Change to Its Most Iconic Star Wars Attraction

Travel and Leisure - 2 hours 46 min ago
<p>If you constantly find yourself counting down the days until the next “Star Wars” film premieres (56), a new announcement from Disney will get your heart racing sooner than expected.</p><p>Disney’s iconic Star Wars-themed attraction, a 3D motion simulator ride called Star Tours, is getting an upgrade next month at <a href="" target="_blank">Disney Parks</a> around the world. The new version of the ride will include an all-new, never-before-seen battle from the franchise’s newest installment, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” allowing aspiring jedis to step inside the fantasy world like never before.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Disney Parks</a>, the “thrilling new adventure” will be added to the existing galactic attraction and “place guests in the middle of an epic battle” on the planet of Crait.</p><p>The update will land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park in California on November 17, at Disneyland Paris on November 22, and at Tokyo Disneyland on December 15.</p><img alt="star wars tours disney park experience last jedi "src=""><p>Since the new film doesn’t premiere until December 15, park-goers in the U.S. and Paris will be able to snag a sneak peak of the new film about a month before it hits theaters.</p><p>The existing Star Tours <a href="" target="_blank">attraction</a>, which sends guests on an adventure through the Star Wars universe and features many locations and characters from the films, first debuted at Disneyland in 1987 as the first attraction based on what was, at the time, a non-Disney intellectual property.</p><p>In 2010, the ride closed for a time at both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios to be converted into what is now called Star Tours - The Adventure Continues. This new attraction not only featured an updated ride system and improved 3D, it was also set at an earlier point in the Star Wars story to correspond with films that premiered more recently.</p><img alt="star wars tours disney park experience last jedi "src=""><p>The even newer update is part of a larger expansion at the Disney Parks, namely the massive addition of themed land <a href="" target="_blank">Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge</a> at Hollywood Studios, which is expected to debut in 2019, and an entirely immersive <a href="" target="_blank">Star Wars-themed hotel</a> coming to Walt Disney World in the future.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Woman Becomes Princess After Meeting a Real-life Prince in a Club

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 8 min ago
<p>Ariana Austin, a 33-year-old American, is become a real-life princess. All she had to do was meet the right guy at a club.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, Austin met her future husband, 35-year-old lawyer Joel Makonnen, at Pearl, a Washington D.C. nightclub, more than a decade ago. At the time, Austin was totally unaware that her suitor was actually <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Yoel</a>, the great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Half of Married Couples Have the Same Argument While on Vacation</a></p><p>As Makonnen recalled, he saw Austin at the club, but rather than reveal his true identity he instead tried a cheesy pickup line first.</p><p>“I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was,” Makonnen told <em>The New York Times</em>. “Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You're going to be my girlfriend.’”</p><p>Though Austin said she wasn’t quite looking for her happily ever after at the time — she was just 21 years old after all — the two quickly became inseparable and she soon learned about his family’s unique history.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Couples That Travel Together Have a Deeper Connection, Better Sex</a></p><p>“It's unbeatable heritage and history,” Austin said. “It combines sheer black power and ancient Christian tradition.”</p><p>Over the next few years, however, the couple found themselves circling in and out of each other’s lives as they both lived out their dreams traveling the globe and working at various high-powered jobs. But in 2014 the two found themselves finally living in the same city once more.</p><p>Finally, in September of this year, after 12 years of dating, the two married in an over-the-top Ethiopian Orthodox Christian wedding in Temple Hills, Maryland. The wedding included 13 different priests, more than 300 guests, and two crowns for the brand-new royal couple.</p>
Categories: Travel

Man Sues Airline for Serving Sparkling Wine Instead of Real Champagne

Travel and Leisure - 4 hours 9 min ago
<p>A Canadian man is suing an airline for serving sparkling wine instead of authentic Champagne.</p><p>The man, Daniel Macduff, said he booked a trip to Cuba on Sunwing Airlines which advertised a “champagne toast” on board, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Is Champagne Still Champagne Without Bubbles?</a></p><p>What was actually served, he said, was a cheaper sparkling wine.</p><p>“It's not about the pettiness of champagne versus sparkling wine,” Macduff's lawyer, Sébastien Paquette, <a href="" target="_blank">said</a>. “It's the consumer message behind it.”</p><p>Champagne, you may already know, is from the region of the same name in northeastern France. But sparkling wine, while not necessarily a ding on its quality (there are some excellent bottles from all over), could be from any region. (Read more about <a href="" target="_blank">the difference between Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava</a>.)</p><p>Lest you think Macduff is alone in this, Paquette said that 1,600 additional people have come forward to potentially join the suit, the BBC reported.</p><p>Sunwing — a low-cost airline based in Canada that flies to destinations in North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean — told the BBC that using “champagne” in the marketing of the trip was meant “to denote a level of service in reference to the entire hospitality package.”</p><img alt="Sunwing sparkling wine service. "src=""><p>“Sunwing has always been proud to invest in experience-enhancing features for our customers,” Sunwing <a href="//”" target="“_blank”">said in a statement</a>. “We consider any legal action relating to the marketing of this service to be frivolous and without merit.”</p><p>Considering the airline's low-cost model, it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise to passengers that it was cheaper sparkling wine on board and not Champagne. Sunwing, however, has changed how they market the trip and no longer refers to champagne.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Most Affordable Ski Resorts for Your Next Winter Getaway

Travel and Leisure - 4 hours 41 min ago
<p>Winter is approaching in the northern hemisphere, and with it comes the arrival of ski season.</p><p>Ski resorts across the country are starting to open up, but <a href="" target="_blank">the cost of a snowy getaway</a> could lead many to keep their wallets closed — especially after a summer of vacationing. Fortunately, travelers have a few options in the wintertime.</p><p>Vacation rental site <a href="" target="_blank">HomeToGo</a> put together its forecast of the most <a href="" target="_blank">affordable ski destinations</a> throughout the U.S. and Canada for the upcoming season. The list shows that a weekend on the slopes may be more affordable than you first thought.</p><p>Coming in at No. 1 is the Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Gallatin County, Mont. The total cost for an adult to spend one day and night at the resort comes out to just under $160 after factoring in equipment rental, a lift ticket, lunch and accommodation, according to HomeToGo. Considering lift tickets at other resorts can regularly surpass more than $100 alone, that’s quite a bargain.</p><p>Montana is also home to the second-most affordable ski vacation, according to HomeToGo. Red Lodge Mountain, named after the town it inhabits, can be traversed for roughly $166 a day and night, the company found.</p><p>Rounding out the top five is California’s Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake, New Hampshire’s Cranmore Mountain Resort, and Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, just north of the border in the Canadian province of Québec. These three resorts can be had for no more than $186.71 a day, HomeToGo found.</p><p>Some of the more popular ski resorts made the list as well: Heavenly Mountain, Breckenridge, Deer Valley and Vail Mountain are included in the top 35, but they tend to fall towards the lower half of the table with the highest being Heavenly Mountain at number 26. Chalk it up as the price of fame, we suppose.</p><p>HomeToGo said it used information provided on the resorts’ websites to calculate equipment rental and lift ticket prices. Lunch prices were determined by the cost of a hamburger and fries with a soda at a “mid-range restaurant” on the ski slopes. Finally, the company said it used its own metasearch data from its vacation rentals on the resorts to calculate the accommodation cost</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 45% on Stays at Domaine de Manville in Provence

Travel and Leisure - 5 hours 40 min ago
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><b></b></a></em></p><p>France: Get 45 percent off stays at the <a href="" target="_blank">Domaine de Manville</a>, a country estate composed of a collection of heritage buildings decorated in the Provencal style.</p><p>Operation Vacation Offer includes:</p><p>*Three nights in a Classic Room Manville</p><p>*Two 60-minute relaxing massages</p><p>*Daily breakfast for two at the Winter Garden</p><p>*Round-trip airport transfers</p><p>Original Price: 1,235 euro (or $1,449 or $483 per night)</p><p><strong>T+ L Price:</strong> 681 euro (or $799 or $266 per night); valid for travel from January 1 - March 31, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: Call (33-4) 90-54-40-20 and mention booking code TLOperationVacation.</p><p>Availability: Not valid during French school holidays</p>
Categories: Travel

How Instagram Is Skewing the Way We Talk About Women in the Outdoors

Travel and Leisure - 6 hours 41 min ago
<p>When Gina Begin founded <a href="" target="_blank">Outdoor Women’s Alliance</a> in 2007, it began as a vehicle for women to learn from each other on all-female <a href="" target="_blank">adventure trips</a>. Back then, she recalls, no one cared about how their hair or clothes looked in the backcountry.</p><p>Ten years later, in a new era of social media, the portrayal of women in the outdoors has taken a turn for the fabricated. Instagram users have likely noticed the images of perfectly coifed women in fashionable outdoor apparel staring out at sweepingly beautiful landscapes. As these hyper-curated photos saturate feeds in glory shot after glory shot, they are shaping the representation of women in outdoor adventure.</p><p>Of course any trend that inspires women to explore is a good thing, whether hiking one mile or 15, paddling a flat lake or big whitewater. But what message do these portrayals send to women about what outdoor adventures “should” be?</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Countries for Solo Travelers</a></p><p>When it comes to outdoor sports, the way we look isn’t what keeps us alive on the wall or dropping into the avalanche chute. That’s where skill, determination, and experience comes in. The social media-ization of adventure lifestyles has blurred the line more than ever about what’s realistic and what’s not.</p><p>If Instagram were to be taken at face value, it would be easy to feel bad about not having perfect hair in the midst of an adventure. In the outdoor community, concerns about the rise of hyper-curated Instagram feeds are many: from whether this trend excludes women looking to get into sports because they don’t look a certain way, to the possibility that it invites disaster for underplaying the seriousness of venturing into the backcountry, to whether it undercuts the gravity of women’s accomplishments in outdoor adventure sports.</p><h2>Skills matter</h2><p>“It’s the effort behind the adventure that’s incredible; we don't need to dress it up,” said Begin, the founder of Outdoor Women’s Alliance (OWA). “Doing so removes the focus from the strides we're making as women outdoors and puts it back on that age-old media fallback: our looks.”</p><p>Countering this trend are several women-run adventure platforms, including OWA, that see a responsibility to post images that emphasize skills, experience, and accomplishments — and relegate looks to the backseat.</p><p>When OWA hit Instagram in August 2014 as <a href="" target="_blank">@outdoorwomen</a>, they were one of only two women’s adventure accounts. Now with 216,000 followers, OWA is leading the charge in realistic social media portrayals of women in outdoor sports.</p><img alt="Female Adventure Outdoor Women's Alliance "src=""><p>As a nonprofit media and adventure collective that engages, educates, and empowers women worldwide, OWA aims to convey strength and accomplishment on its feed. For every glory shot it posts, @outdoorwomen posts seven or eight images of what it actually took to get to that victorious moment: chalky hands reaching, the icepick making purchase, boot-packing the couloir.</p><p>The account shows the details of adventures to communicate that the backcountry is a serious place. OWA celebrates women showcasing their skills, whether they’re learning, leading, excelling, or (in true homage to realistic adventures) in the midst of mission fail.</p><p>And those glory shots that @outdoorwomen does post? They don’t tend to include the miraculously clean outfits or the iconic flowing hair of a typical #alpinebabe image. The standard @outdoorwomen victory photo portrays women who are pushing their limits in the backcountry to increase their skills and confidence at doing something they’re passionate about.</p><p>“Let’s show that we worked for that summit and not be ashamed of it,” says Begin. “We wear our sweat and our dirt and our blood as badges of pride because we earned them through effort and skill.”</p><p>Of course users like to see attractive people and beautiful scenery on their social feeds. Any Instagram content creator worth their salt, including Begin, recognizes that photos need a certain appealing aesthetic to attract a following on Instagram. But OWA’s aesthetic trends toward authenticity rather than eye candy — and the numbers show that it does perform well. While it might seem like #alpinebabes (282,000 posts), #wildnernessbabes (264,000 posts), and #mountainbabes (65,000 posts) are taking over Instagram, OWA’s signature <a href="" target="_blank">hashtag #outdoorwomen</a> tops out with a whopping 987,500 posts.</p><h2>There's no “right” look</h2><p>Irene Yee, <a href="" target="_blank">@ladylockoff</a> on Instagram with 42,000 followers, is a vocal proponent of the importance of authenticity in images to increase women’s participation in outdoor adventures. She calls her photography of women scaling rock walls in the Southwest, “climbing for the rest of us.”</p><img alt="Irene Yee @ladylockoff Female Outdoor Adventure Hike Rock Climb "src=""><p>“Most climbers aren’t pro climbers. They’re just taking the time to do what they love, and they’re making it work in their everyday lives,” she says. “You don’t have to live the iconic social media dirtbag van life to be a ‘real’ climber. You can be a weekend warrior, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”</p><p>Yee aims to emphasize that there’s no certain way that climbing “looks,” and her feed features women of varying ages, sizes, skill levels, and clothing and makeup (or not) choices. “My photography celebrates all outdoor women, and I’ve come to realize that they range across the spectrum. There are women who put time and effort into themselves and that’s phenomenal, and there are women who just don’t care, and that’s also phenomenal.”</p><p>Yee admits that she herself doesn’t fit the typical “outdoorsy” stereotype, with her technicolor clothing and dyed bright-red hair. In fact, she only got into the sport after seeing a picture of pro climber Sasha DiGulian with painted fingernails.</p><p>“I thought: you can be a girl and still rock climb?! I realized that just because I didn’t fit into the mainstream perception of what rock climbing is, that didn’t mean I couldn’t do it,” she says. “My red hair and bright clothing don’t affect my ability. Not all women are rugged, and we don’t have to be to go climbing and be passionate about it.”</p><p>Yee says fears about not fitting certain stereotypes, often exacerbated by social media, shouldn’t prevent women from participating in adventure sports. Her favorite shots capture the strength and power in a woman overcoming her own fears on the wall in the moment. Yee aims to showcase that women are not just beautiful, but badass.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">3 Ways to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro</a></p><p>When it comes to pro adventure sports versus recreation, Leah Evans knows all too well the impact that imagery can have on perceptions. As a professional skier sponsored by Patagonia with a public life on social media, Evans recognizes that she’s in the thick of creating those glory shots herself.</p><p>“If you look at Instagram platforms, it’s really easy to get down on yourself for not being that person who always finds those lines and skis those perfect turns,” says Evans. “But when you have a pool of imagery that’s accessible, it acts as positive reinforcement. And it’s in those spaces that inspiration lives, when you really begin to aspire to do things.”</p><p>That’s exactly what Evans aims for with the <a href="" target="_blank">@girlsdoski</a> platform on Instagram. Evans founded <a href="" target="_blank">Girls Do Ski</a> 10 years ago to grow the women’s ski community. She wanted to share her success with other women in the mountains, because she believes that sharing achievements spreads success and empowers other women — sort of like <a href="" target="_blank">Shine Theory</a> for big mountain skiing.</p><img alt="Female Adventure Sport Girls Do Ski "src=""><p>With small-group classes both on resort and in the backcountry, @girlsdoski seeks to provide a supportive community for like-minded women skiers of all skill levels. Evans views it as a tool for creating and strengthening the women’s ski community, and as such, she’s intentional about ensuring the feed feels inclusive. @girlsdoski showcasing learning, community, and the joys of skiing. The captions are raw and playful.</p><p>And it’s almost impossible to talk about the hyper-curated adventure lifestyle trend without bringing up the <a href="" target="_blank">captions</a>. You know the ones: “You only live once,” “follow your bliss,” “create your own magic,” and the like. These lines can certainly stoke inspiration — especially when paired with beautiful people in stunning landscapes — but they get back to the question of how realistic these portrayals are of adventures and lifestyles.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">15 Snow Boots to Get You Through This Winter</a></p><p>“Who you are and what you do is exactly the same,” says Evans. “Social media has created this middle person that doesn’t really exist.”</p><p>With both images and captions, Girls Do Ski works on cutting out that virtual middle person to get to the direct connection, with the theory that it translates to a tangible community of women who love skiing — a community that Evans is convinced makes women skiers a stronger demographic.</p><p>And when it comes to demographics, women-run platforms like <a href="" target="_blank">@outdoorwomen</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">@ladylockoff</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">@girlsdoski</a> reinforce the fact that female outdoor adventurers are to be taken seriously.</p><p>“Media, including social media, needs to catch up with women’s adventure sports,” says Begin. “We’re in this heyday where every brand wants us on their cover. If we’re the ones they’re chasing after, they need to pick up the pace, because we’re so much farther ahead.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Utah's Weirdest Place Has Sliding Sunsets, a Moon Map, and Prehistoric Petroglyphs

Travel and Leisure - 10 hours 40 min ago
<p>While Stonehenge, in the U.K., famously frames the setting sun on the <a href="" target="_blank">winter solstice</a> — the year's shortest, darkest day — there are scores of lesser-known monuments that are celestially aligned.</p><p>Egypt's Karnak Temple and the Temple of Pachacamac in <a href="" target="_blank">Peru</a> are two you may have heard of, but far fewer know about the mysterious Parowan Gap in Iron County, Utah.</p><img alt="Marker, Parowan Gap, Utah "src=""><p>At first glance the landscape looks empty. Turn off the Utah State Route 130 onto Gap Road about 14 miles north of Cedar City and the road leads first past a stop for dinosaur tracks, and then towards a natural 600-foot gap in the mountains. Stop at the correct spot in front of the gap and, as the sun sets on December 21, you'll get to see compelling evidence that this entire landscape is a Native American calendar.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">A Guide to Utah's National Parks</a></p><p>“The sun rolls down the side of one outcrop and sits in a notch between the two before it drops,” said Nancy Dalton, Parowan Heritage Foundation secretary, who has spent many early mornings and dusks here. “As the sun gets close to that little notch all of a sudden people go silent.”</p><p>The winter solstice viewing point is on the north side of the Gap road, and there are two cairns—one distant and one closer to the Parowan Gap itself—to mark exactly where to stand. To the south are more cairns marking the same spots for the summer solstice, and more sets for the equinoxes.</p><p>These cairns are estimated to be up to 10,000 years old and the product of the Fremont and Paiute Native American tribes.</p><p>“They needed to know seasonal rotations in order to survive,” said Dalton, who wants to create a “weatherman's trail” that passes close to these cairns and solstice points complete with markers for each week, so visitors can stand in exactly the right place on any day of the year and watch the sun set into the Parowan Gap.</p><p>However impressive the cairns' precise placement, they're merely a precursor to what lies within the Parowan Gap itself.</p><p>Although there are petroglyphs here reckoned to be birthing calendars and migration maps, the most startling is the Zipper glyph. Thought to be a solar calendar, the V-shaped image (reminiscent of a zipper) etched into the rock appears to replicate the Parowan Gap's appearance from afar, and was the clue to finding the ancient cairns beyond that indicate where to stand as solstices and equinoxes.</p><img alt="Petroglyphs, Parowan Gap, Utah "src=""><p>Another petroglyph depicts the monthly lunar cycle, with quarter moons and the full moon all shown, though a nearby canoe-shape with 18 boxes is even thought to depict the complex 18-year lunar cycle of Earth, which involves subtle changes to the inclination of the moon’s orbit. This is impressive stuff.</p><p>On the southern outcrop of the Parowan Gap is a rock formation that resembles a protracted face, complete with a slit that looks like a mouth.</p><p>“We call this the Overseer,” said Dalton. “He swallows the Sun at the end of summer and spits it out again in Spring.”</p><p>The story goes that on two successive sunrises in early November each year the Overseer swallows the sun, with the reverse spectacle in early February.</p><p>“At about 7:30 a.m. you can watch the sun come up over the horizon and instead of passing through the slit it rolls to the back of his mouth until he swallows it,” said Dalton. “This told the people that the summer sun was gone and it was time to prepare for cold weather.”</p><p>How could the sun possibly appear to go backwards through a rock as it rises? “We had an astronomer down here who couldn't believe it, but he saw it alright,” Dalton said.</p><img alt="Parowan Gap, The Overseer, Utah "src=""><img alt="Parowan Gap, The Overseer, Sun "src=""><p>The Overseer's abilities as an ancient meteorologist might be a geological coincidence, but there's no denying that the Parowan Gap is a place where an immense amount of research went in marking the passing of the seasons. Not only were exact sunset points for years on end meticulously observed, measured and recorded, but a massive amount of petroglyphs were carved into the rock faces of the Parowan Gap. This place is a book and a map as well as a calendar.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">13 Otherworldly Destinations Perfect for Stargazing</a></p><p>There are other shadow markers within the petroglyphs, with one tiny outcrop in particular creating a shadow that moves inwards until the spring equinox, then outwards again.</p><p>“The light comes across the valley and into the gap and washes over it just like the waves on a beach,” said Dalton. “It's a spiritual experience to be out here.”</p>
Categories: Travel

How a Con Man Used Richard Branson to Steal $2 Million

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:04
<p>Almost everything about Sir Richard Branson’s life feels like a movie. However, the Virgin founder recently shared a tale that is more akin to a bad episode of “Black Mirror” than a blockbuster hit.</p><p>According to Branson, a con man attempted to swindle him out of $5 million by impersonating British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson Details 'Traumatic' Experience Riding Out Hurricane Irma</a></p><p>“Six months ago my assistant received a written note on what appeared to be official government notepaper from Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon, requesting an urgent call with me,” Branson <a href="" target="_blank">explained in a blog post</a>. “I called Sir Michael on the number given. He told me it was an incredibly sensitive matter and that he wanted to be sure there was nobody else in the room whilst I talked to him.”</p><p>Branson went on to explain that the person on the other line claimed a British diplomat had been kidnapped and was being held by terrorists. The person claiming to be Fallon then asked Branson to help pay off the diplomat’s ransom, as the British government could not officially do so.</p><p>“I said to Sir Michael that I was sympathetic to his request, but that in the last week I had come across a couple of incidents where people had been scammed,” Brason wrote. “He said he fully understood and that I should send one of my senior team over to his department at Whitehall to have a quiet word with his secretary. He said that she was the only other person who knew about it and that if we said the code word ‘Davenport’, she would affirm it was for real.”</p><p>However, Branson said, his feeling of unease persisted, so he called Fallon’s office and upon speaking to his secretary learned that it was clearly a scam.</p><p>“I told them what had happened and we passed the matter over to the police,” he wrote.</p><p>Unfortunately, the scams didn’t stop there.</p><p>While he was offline <a href="" target="_blank">assisting in the emergency aid effort across the Caribbean</a>, a con man pretending to be Branson swindled a friend out of $2 million.</p><p>“They told me that they had received an email from somebody claiming they were my assistant, to arrange a call with me. When the call happened the con man did an extremely accurate impression of me and spun a big lie about urgently needing a loan while I was trying to mobilise aid in the BVI,” Branson wrote. “The business person, incredibly graciously, gave $2 million, which promptly disappeared.”</p><p>Branson said he believes both scams were by the same person.</p><p>The moral of the story, Branson wrote, was for everyone to simply be cautious about where they give their cash.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson Reveals What It's Really Like to Vacation With the Obamas</a></p><p>“There has been a big rise in fake ad scams online recently, and I’d urge everyone to look out for them and report any you see,” he wrote. “It’s not just online it can happen — it could be on the phone or even in person.”</p><p>He's asking for anyone with any information on the perpetuator of the con on his friend to contact his team and police immediately.</p>
Categories: Travel

Stay at the Envoy in Boston for Only $159 Per Night

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:00
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><b></b></a></em></p><p>Boston: Get 30 percent off stays at <a href=";app=resvlink&amp;stop_mobi=yes" target="_blank">The Envoy</a>, a hip, high-tech hotel in the city’s Seaport District with one of the city's few rooftop bars, which offers harbor views.</p><p>Escape the Envoy includes:</p><p>*One or more nights in a Classic room</p><p>*Seasonal in-room amenity created by Chef Tatiana Rosana</p><p>Original Price: From $229 per night</p><p><strong>T+ L Price: </strong>From $159 per night; valid for travel through March 31, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: Book on <a href=";app=resvlink&amp;stop_mobi=yes" target="_blank"></a> using the code LPR. A 48-hour cancellation policy applies.</p><p>Availability: Blackout dates include October 13 and 14; 20 to 24 and 28; November 17 and 18; December 31; January 24 to 26; and March 10 to 12 and 24 to 27.</p>
Categories: Travel

Richard Branson Says Alaska Air 'Castrated' Virgin America

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:46
<p>Richard Branson has never been the type to hold his tongue when it comes to what he believes is right or wrong. And now, the British billionaire is letting the world know just how he feels about Alaska Air’s decision to shutter the Virgin America brand after it purchased the popular airline in 2016.</p><p>"The sad thing is that Virgin America has been <a href="" target="_blank">voted best airline</a> in the states 12 years in a row...and it's a great airline and I think people love it," Branson said while making an appearance on <a href="" target="_blank">CNBC</a>'s "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.</p><img alt="alaska airlines virgin america richard branson "src=""><p>When pressed further about the sale and if he would ever consider launching another airline in the United States, Branson hinted that it’s always a possibility. He did start <a href="" target="_blank">Virgin America</a> based on his dissatisfaction with every other available carrier, after all.</p><p>"I think Alaska is very foolish to just absorb it," Branson said. "Watch this space...I don't normally take these things lying down."</p><p>Sadly, Branson explained, when the takeover happened there was little he could do to either stop it or control <a href="" target="_blank">Virgin’s fate</a> under Alaska Air.</p><p>The British entrepreneur says he was very disappointed the takeover happened, saying there was nothing he could do to stop it.</p><p>"I wasn't allowed to have the voting shares by the American government because I had an English accent. America said you can set up and run an airline, but you can't have the voting shares," Branson said in the interview.</p><p>He further noted that the restrictions on voting shares came directly from <a href="" target="_blank">the Department of Transportation</a>. He added that he isn’t convinced of Alaska Air’s claim that it will continue many of the services, including inflight entertainment, mood lighting, and the music that customers of Virgin America have come to know and love. "Big companies often do this,” Branson said. “They buy something because it's doing so well, and then they castrate it.”</p><p>Here’s hoping Alaska Air keeps its promises and Branson launches something new soon, too.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Is the Happiest City in the U.S.

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:25
<p>When deciphering who leads the happiest lives, it’s likely their surroundings probably involve open water, nature and lots of bikers.</p><p>That’s according to <i>National Geographic</i>, which revealed its ranking of the 25 <a href="" target="_blank">happiest cities</a> in the U.S. on Wednesday. <a href="" target="_blank">Boulder, Colo.</a>, where stunning mountainous trails, preservation habits and “sustainable urban development” bolster a thriving community, <a href="" target="_blank">won the coveted title</a> of the country’s happiest city, according to the publication.</p><p><i>National Geographic</i> worked with Gallup and author Dan Buettner, whose career has focused on exploring parts of the world where people live long, happy lives, to identify and rank these cities. The group created this list after conducting nearly 250,000 interviews with questions about the emotional, physical and financial well-being, among other characteristics, of people around the country.</p><p>The final rankings include cities across the country, ranging from Midwestern cities like <a href="" target="_blank">Minneapolis</a> and Ann Arbor, Mich., to southern ones like Austin, Texas and Naples, Fla. Eight states, including the second-ranked Santa Cruz, Calif., and fifth-ranked San Luis Obispo, Calif., fall along the California coastline, and three of them, including Boulder and fourth-ranked Fort Collins, Colo., are in Colorado. Charlottesville, Va., rounded out the top five.</p><p>But what exactly makes these cities so happy? A common factor among these cities was their bike-ability, closeness to water and surrounding scenery, Buettner said in <i>National Geographic</i>.</p><p>“There’s a high correlation between bike-ability and happiness in a city,” Buettner said in the publication. “In Boulder you’re more likely to hear the whoosh of a cyclist than the shrill of a siren compared to places like Dallas, Tallahassee or Los Angeles. Cities like Boulder question the unquestioned virtues of development.”</p><p>“This benefits visitors, who can experience an emphasis on greenery, a high-quality culinary community, limited marketing onslaught and no billboards,” he added.</p><p>Here’s <i>National Geographic</i>’s full list:</p>Boulder, ColoradoSanta Cruz-Watsonville, CaliforniaCharlottesville, VirginiaFort Collins, ColoradoSan Luis Obispo-Paso Robles Arroyo Grande, CaliforniaSan Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CaliforniaProvo-Orem, Utah,Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut,Barnstable Town, MassachusettsAnchorage, AlaskaNaples-Imokalee-Marco Island, FloridaSanta Maria-Santa Barbara, CaliforniaSalinas, CaliforniaNorth Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FloridaHonolulu, HawaiiAnn Arbor, MichiganSan Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CaliforniaColorado Springs, ColoradoManchester-Nashua, New HampshireOxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CaliforniaWashington, D.C.-Arlington and Alexandria, VirginiaMinneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-WisconsinSan Diego-Carlsbad, CaliforniaPortland-South Portland, MaineAustin-Round Rock, Texas
Categories: Travel

5 Easy Ways Ariana Grande Stays Fit While Traveling

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:01
<p>Getting fit and <a href="" target="_blank">staying in shape while traveling</a> isn’t as difficult as it may seem: you don't need a fancy gym or a ton of free time. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak's goal is to make working out really simple for his busy A-list clients, so his routine is ideal for anyone on the go.</p><p>We went all the way to Hong Kong to work out with Pasternak, who showed us a day in the life of Ariana Grande, in honor of <a href="" target="_blank">her recent partnership with Reebok</a>, and gave us an inside look at what fitness means for her while on the road.</p><p>Below are the five easy ways Grande and the other stars on Pasternak’s roster maintain their figures and manage to squeeze in daily <a href="" target="_blank">workouts while traveling</a> the world. </p><h2>Get your steps in.</h2><p>“The World Health Organization says you need at least 10,000 steps a day,” Pasternak told T+L. “I say 12,000 steps and you don’t have to kill yourself doing it. There’s no need to be doing wind sprints and you don’t need to push yourself to the point of nausea.”</p><p>The most important thing is to keep your body moving. “The key to being in great shape is this: take your right foot and put it in front of your left and then repeat,” he said. “There are no moves than can compensate for a lack of steps.”</p><h2>Get some sleep.</h2><p>Jetlag may be a problem when visiting a new country, but you need to stay on top of your sleeping schedule at all times.“It’s supposed to be one third of our lives,” Pasternak said. “I’ve spent the last 25 years teaching people how to move and now I’m spending a lot of time showing them how not to move. Sleep is really, really important.”</p><p>In the same way you watch what you eat, you have to always make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to a study done at <a href="" target="_blank">U.C. Berkeley</a>, sleep depravation leads to unhealthy cravings and triggers the brain to want more junk food, which is counterproductive to a fit lifestyle.</p><h2>Take a break from technology.</h2><p>Feeling good is a big part of staying healthy, and you can do that by eliminating unnecessary stress from your life — starting with your phone. Allow yourself to step away from work emails and social media. Come on, you’re supposed to be on vacation anyway.</p><p>“You need to unplug from technology for at least an hour a day,” Pasternak advised us. “I hope there’s one hour of the day where you put that phone away and do something that forces you to be present. Removing yourself from technology for even an hour will do wonders for your mental health.”</p><h2>Think about what you're eating.</h2><p>Working out is meaningless if you’re not eating right. “There’s no point in spending all those hours burning calories just to replace them with bad ones,” Pasternak said. “‘I hear people saying, ‘What’s the best pre-workout and post-workout thing to eat?’ Unless you’re training for the Olympics, there’s no point of eating a bunch of calories right before you burn them.”</p><p>This isn’t to say you should be depriving yourself — just remember to try things in moderation. “I think [Grande's] always had a healthy diet, but what I've gotten her to do more now is to create balance and moderation,” he said. “To feel OK with indulging and celebrating sometimes. She has really widened the ingredients she's putting in her diet.”</p><h2>Push yourself, within reason.</h2><p>"Pull or lift something heavy,” he said. “Challenge your muscles ideally for at least five minutes a day." </p><p>Since we were in a spacious park, Pasternak started us off with simple cardio that included a quick jog and three sets of lunges across the field. “That's the key to working with people like Ariana is how you make the most of what we have time, equipment, and space-wise without injuring them,” Pasternak said. “Think about it, if you hurt yourself exercising, not only can you not work out for a while, but you won’t be able to do a lot of things. You have to keep efficiency, balance, focus, and safety all in mind.”</p><h2>Pack comfortable clothes.</h2><p>If you don’t bring sneakers, chances are you’re not going to work out. They'll also come in handy for walking around and exploring a new city, and that counts as a way to get your steps in. Do yourself a favor and make moving effortless by packing the appropriate attire.</p><p>“When you’re wearing something comfortable, you’re more likely to move,” Pasternak said. “If you’re wearing <a href="" target="_blank">comfortable shoes</a>, your feet are happy and that will get you to maybe take the stairs rather than the elevator, or it may result in you walking those extra blocks rather than taking a cab. Sightseeing is the best workout when traveling.”</p>
Categories: Travel

How Brexit Could Hurt Passengers Flying to Europe and the U.S.

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:47
<p>Airline passengers <a href="" target="_blank">flying out of the U.K.</a> on British air carriers could lose passenger protections when the U.K. leaves the European Union in March 2019.</p><p>Current EU law requires airlines to refund flight and other costs incurred in the case of a cancellation, but they may no longer be required to do so, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Travel Weekly</em> reported</a>, and the statute will only apply to EU airlines and <a href="" target="_blank">flights departing from EU cities</a>.</p><p>While airlines would likely continue to refund flight costs, passengers would not necessarily be covered for the costs of a hotel, food, or other expenses in the event of a cancellation or delay. The changes would affect all tickets sold from the U.K. to EU countries, as well as up to 17 other countries that were negotiated under European treaties, including the U.S., according to the same report.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Several British airlines were quick to issue their own statements on the question, with Thomas Cook saying that the travel agency would no longer refund any expenses incurred during delays, though they would continue to refund tickets.</p><p>"We are selling holidays for the post-Brexit world, so we are preparing the business to operate in that environment. We do expect some form of agreement on aviation but we now need urgent clarity from government," a spokesperson from Thomas Cook <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Independent</em></a>.</p><p>British Airways and Virgin were more optimistic, with spokespeople from those carriers saying they fully expected a deal that would allow them to continue flying routes to destinations in the EU and the U.S. without changes to service.</p><p>Uncertainty about <a href="" target="_blank">what Brexit will look like</a> has only grown as Prime Minister Theresa May discusses a harder Brexit. If the U.K. needs to renegotiate the air treaties that it was a part of as a member of the EU, the result would be chaotic, according to one expert.</p><p>“That’s when all hell will break loose,” said Ashley Raiteri, chief information officer for <a href="" target="_blank">Air Help</a>, a company that helps travelers claim compensation from airlines.</p><p>With airlines no longer forced to follow EU rules, passengers’ only recourse would likely be U.K. courts, which have been historically sympathetic to passengers.</p><p>“It could turn out three times as bad for the airlines,” Raiteri told <i>T</i><em>ravel + Leisure.</em></p><p>All of this will ultimately depend, however, on the exact details of the deal reached by the U.K. and the EU, which will determine what air travel will look like after 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Travel Agency Will Scan Your Face to Reveal Your Subconscious Dream Destination

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:33
<p>Your own brain could be getting in the way of realizing your true travel dreams.</p><p>At least, that's according to one British travel company, which has unveiled what it says is a new technology that analyzes facial expressions to develop a personalized travel itinerary based on subconscious thoughts.</p><p>Perhaps you’re lying about wanting to visit a destination friends have been raving about, or you feel bad about preferring shopping to snorkeling. Either way, Destination U, by <a href="" target="_blank">British travel company TUI</a>, promises to analyze facial reactions and tell users what vacations will really bring them joy.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">JetBlue Is Going to Let Passengers Board With Just a Selfie</a></p><p>The software, developed by RealEyes, directs cameras at 149 different points on the face to track subtle facial reactions, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Telegraph</em></a>. A two-minute video plays, showing a series of people engaged in different travel activities (skiing, <a href="" target="_blank">relaxing on the beach</a>, trekking through greenery).</p><p>Destination U works based on the theory that viewers will have subtle facial reactions to the videos that will reveal their true, subconscious thoughts and feelings about each destination.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Cities to Visit in the U.S. in 2017</a></p><p>At the end of the video, Destination U will reveal which activity your face responded to most positively.</p><p>The technology is still in prototype and is not widely available to customers. But, if TUI expands the product, it could be implemented on a webcam, allowing anyone to see where their face might take them.</p><p>Facial recognition and scanning for feelings are not entirely new concepts in the travel sphere. Last year, Expedia released a web campaign called “<a href="" target="_blank">Discover Your Aloha</a>” that recognized facial reactions to different activities in Hawaii with a webcam and a series of videos.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Spot Bed Bugs on Your Airplane Seat

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:02
<p>A Canadian mother and her 7-year-old daughter reported being covered in bed bug bites after a British Airways flight from Vancouver to London.</p><p>"I hoped that one was a flax seed or an apple seed. Then it started crawling,” Heather Szilagyi <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Metro UK</em></a>. “That was the bug I gave to the flight attendant.”</p><p>Flight attendants told Szilagyi that the flight was completely sold out and that there was nowhere else they could sit. When they arrived at London Heathrow, Szilagyi’s daughter had already broken out with bites.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines Flight Canceled Because of a Scorpion</a></p><p>They spent the rest of their trip washing and rewashing their clothes. However Szilagyi said that on the return flight home, their seats were upgraded and they received “kind and very empathetic” customer service.</p><p>“British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs onboard are extremely rare,” an airline spokesperson told <i>Travel + Leisure</i> in a statement. “Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft.​ The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world.”</p><p>The airline also said that it was in touch with Szilagyi to apologize and investigate the incident further.</p><p>Although travelers may be alert and check for bed bugs in hotels, incidents onboard airplanes receive less attention.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Could There Be Bed Bugs in my Rental Car?</a></p><p>Travelers especially worried about bed bugs aboard airplanes can invest in a plastic cover like the <a href="" target="_blank">Bug Off Seat Cover</a>. It’s also prudent to use your own blanket and pillows on long-haul flights instead of using those provided by the airline.</p><p>Passengers who examine their seats and <a href="" target="_blank">discover either live bugs or dark stains</a> should immediately inform cabin crew.</p><p>When an airline receives complaints about bed bugs, they launch an investigation. And, if necessary, they <a href="" target="_blank">temporarily take the plane out of service</a> and use specialist teams for a deep cleaning and extermination.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Irwins Are Officially Returning to Animal Planet 11 Years After Steve’s Death

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:50
<p>The family of the late <a href="" target="_blank">Steve Irwin</a> announced their return to Animal Planet Wednesday, 11 years after his death.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Discovery Communications announced</a> that Terri, Steve’s widow, and their two teenage children, Bindi and Robert, will work with Animal Planet to develop and produce new television projects on the network and across the network’s platforms. They will also serve as global ambassadors for Discovery Communications. </p><p>Terri, Bindi, and Robert have continued their father’s legacy since his sudden deadly encounter with a stingray at the age of 44, and they are maintaining his dedication to conservation and wildlife in <a href="" target="_blank">Australia</a> and beyond. Together, they run the <a href="" target="_blank">Australia Zoo</a> and wildlife conservation facility in Beerwah, <a href="" target="_blank">Queensland</a> and support wildlife research and the protection of endangered species around the world.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p>“We’re excited to be returning home to Animal Planet and our Discovery Communications family,” Terri said. “We look forward to the year ahead as we embark on new projects and adventures with Animal Planet.”</p><p>The family has long had ties with the network, as Steve Irwin’s animal docuseries "The Crocodile Hunter" was a staple on Animal Planet for many years, airing from 1996 through 2007. Terri Irwin also co-hosted many episodes as the husband and wife team cared for and encountered crocodiles and other <a href="" target="_blank">wild animals</a> around Australia. </p><p>The couple’s children are also no strangers to the television world. Their daughter Bindi, now 19, hosted her own series on Discovery Kids entitled "Bindi the Jungle Girl," which premiered in 2007, and also won season 21 of "Dancing with the Stars." Their son Robert, who is 14, also co-hosted a show on Discovery Kids called "Wild But True," and has made appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"<i> </i>to show off some of Australia’s animals. Both children possess the same enthusiasm and charisma their father was known for, both on-screen and off.</p><p>“Steve Irwin was a champion for all wildlife and he and Terri’s excitement and enthusiasm brought viewers from around the world in touch with nature,” said Patrice Andrews, general manager of Animal Planet. “Their passion for animals, love for their family, and leadership in conservation awareness left a strong legacy that continues today. We are thrilled to have Terri, Bindi, and Robert back in the Animal Planet family.” </p>
Categories: Travel

When You Can Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower and See Shooting Stars

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:01
<p>August is one of the most popular months for getting outdoors and going camping. By coincidence, this is also the very finest month for stargazing.</p><p>Every August, Earth orbits through a massive stream of debris left behind by a comet, creating hundreds of bright shooting stars every hour for days on end. If you've never seen the <a href="" target="_blank">Perseid meteor shower</a> during your lifetime, it's probably just because you weren't somewhere dark.</p><p>Dependably bright, this incredible show of shooting stars isn't just worth seeing — it's actually <a href="" target="_top">worth traveling to see</a> on as dark a sky as you can find.</p><h3>What are the Perseids?</h3><p>The Perseid meteor shower is caused when the Earth's orbit of the sun intercepts with a trail of dust and tiny meteors left behind by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the Sun every 133 years and last swept through the solar system in 1992. This is a huge mass of debris so big that the Perseid meteor shower will run from July 17 to August 24 in 2018. That's a whopping five week meteor shower, during which you can can expect to see as many as 60 to 100 fiery, colorful, and exceptionally bright shooting stars every hour.</p><h3>When can I see the Perseids?</h3><p>Although the Perseid meteor shower is technically a long, all-summer event, it's best viewed in 2018 around its peak, on the night of Sunday, August 12 and into the early hour of August 13. As luck would have it, that's only one day after the new moon. (That means the moon will make a brief appearance as a crescent, and set long before the night side of Earth collides with the Perseid stream.)</p><p>The few days prior will be almost as impressive — and in 2018, just as dark — so you're not limited to one night. You should also be able to see a particularly bright planet Venus high above the horizon in the evening sky until the meteor shower begins. The darkest hours are right before the dawn, so the prime time to see the meteor shower is around 4:00 a.m.</p><h3>Where should I look to see the Perseids?</h3><p>The debris stream lies in the region covered by the constellation Perseus, which follows the constellation Cassiopeia across the night sky. It's a northern constellation, so the Perseid meteor shower is most easily viewed from the northern hemisphere (the view from below the equator is poor).</p><p>But don't obsess about finding the constellation of Perseus, because the shooting stars can appear anywhere in the night sky. If you trace them back to their origin, you'll come to Perseus (the so-called 'radiant point'), which will be in the north-eastern sky during August.</p><p>The best technique for seeing Perseid shooting stars is to gaze generally north-east, about mid-way between the horizon and the zenith (the point in the night sky above your head) and don't stop looking. Don't check your phone, either, as you will definitely miss a shooting star, and the bright white light will kill your night vision.</p><p>Because artificial light can ruin even the best meteor shower, stargazers will want to get to rural areas — and perhaps even an <a href="" target="_blank">International Dark Sky Park</a>. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, too. </p><h3>When will the Perseids come back?</h3><p>The Perseid meteor shower will return in 2019 , peaking on the night of Monday, August 12 — but it won't be anywhere near as easy to spot a shooting star. That's because a full moon will occur just three days later, meaning the skies will be washed-out by strong moonlight for all of the 2019 show.</p><p>Whether you book a national park campsite or decide to drive out into the countryside, it's wise to <a href="" target="_blank">make your travel plans</a> early for the Perseid meteor shower in 2018. Because with so many bright fireballs on the horizon, you won't be the only one <a href="" target="_blank">stargazing</a> that night. </p>
Categories: Travel

This Hotel Chef's Hack Will Get You Tastier Room Service Every Time

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:01
<p>Few things are as luxurious as waking up in a hotel room and having a slow breakfast in bed with a plush robe and slippers — except when the lids come off to reveal a plate of congealed eggs, soggy potatoes, and lukewarm coffee.</p><p>Preparing food is both an art and a science. And much like how chefs must <a href="" target="_blank">change their recipes for airplanes</a>, there are certain dishes that should be altered to make the transition from kitchen to room service.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">You Can Order a Book From Room Service at This Paris Hotel</a></p><p>The problem lies in the hospitality lid. Although necessary to ensure the cleanliness of a meal, hot foods continue to steam underneath the lids and cook themselves even further after leaving the kitchen.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">12 of the Wildest, Strangest, and Most Over-the-top Hotel Amenities</a></p><p>“Vented lids cause crispy fried items like fries, onion rings, or even fried shrimp to get soggy from the steam,” Skipp Worden, executive chef at the <a href="" target="_blank">Westin Jekyll Island</a> in Georgia, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Southern Living</em></a>.</p><p>The lids can also cause cooked vegetables to lose their flavor and texture, pizza to soften its crispy crust, and soup to change textures.</p><p>But for those dead set on a particular menu item, there are a few hacks to ensure your meal is edible once it arrives. Avoid soggy fries by requesting they’re cooked extra crispy — or even burnt, Worden says. However when ordering meat, do the exact opposite. Request steak one degree rarer than normal, as it will continue to cook on the delivery trolley.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Eat a Christmas Feast and Attend the Yule Ball at the Real-life Hogwarts

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 06:07
<p>Harry Potter fans: Prepare your hearts (and your stomachs) for the ultimate Christmas gift.</p><p>This year, Potterheads will officially have the chance to stuff their faces at the Christmas feast in the Great Hall and dance the night away at the Yule Ball, surrounded by a snowy, festive scene at <a href="" target="_blank">Hogwarts</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Disney World Just Announced an Ultimate Christmas Package Full of Exclusive Experiences</a></p><p>The magical experience is courtesy of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, <a href="" target="_blank">an exhibit</a> that opened in 2012 to give fans of the J.K. Rowling series a chance to step into the very sets and interact with the props that were used in all of the films. This year, the attraction will experience a festive makeover like never before.</p><img alt=" "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Hogwarts in the Snow</a>, the attraction’s new holiday overlay, will allow guests to see their favorite sets dressed up in festive garb from November 18 to January 28.</p><p>The Gryffindor common room will be warmly decorated for Christmas using original props, fireplaces throughout the tour will be lit and crackling, the Burrow will be brimming with holiday cheer, and the iconic, massive Hogwarts castle model will receive a blanket of filming “snow” (a mixture of granulated paper and salt grains).</p><img alt="Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Hogwarts Christmas Holiday "src=""><p>The true focal point of the attraction, however, is sure to be the Great Hall, which will be decorated for the Yule Ball for the first time ever. As it was seen in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the hall will be lined with snow-covered Christmas trees, dripping in silver and sparkling icicles, and feature an orchestra of magical musical instruments.</p><img alt="Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Hogwarts Christmas Holiday "src=""><p>As in years past, the Great Hall will also open its doors to lucky guests for the Christmas Feast, allowing fans to eat <a href="" target="_blank">the same meal</a> in the same location as some of their favorite story characters.</p><p>This year, the highly popular event has been extended to include three nights of magic from December 11 to 13. Although ticket prices don’t come cheap at £240 (about $316) per person, the evening’s plethora of gifts and extras may be well worth the price. The price includes a seat at a real prop table in the Great Hall, canapes, drinks, a three-course meal, Butterbeer, a wand, and a tour of the studio, as well as dancing and entertainment until midnight.</p><p>Tickets go on sale on <a href="" target="_blank">October 24 at 10 a.m. U.K.</a> local time, so hold on to your Remebrall and set that early alarm for a chance to experience all of the magic.</p>
Categories: Travel