Airlines Could Soon Start Charging Different Fares for Different People

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 15 min ago
<p>It’s common knowledge that passengers pay different prices for their seats. Someone who bought well in advance is likely to have paid a different airfare than a passenger who purchased their ticket at the last minute, while those who <a href="" target="_blank">set flight alerts</a> have a good chance of scoring a deal.</p><p>But according to one software company, airlines may soon begin charging passengers different prices based on who they are.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Revenue management software company PROS</a> — which works with more than 80 international airlines — said that select airlines have already begun implementing “dynamic pricing” structures on their websites.</p><p>“2018 will be a very phenomenal year in terms of traction,” John McBride, director of product management for PROS, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Travel Weekly</em></a>. “Based on our backlog of projects, there will be a handful of large carriers that move toward dynamic pricing science.”</p><p>Dynamic or “surge” pricing is an economic strategy wherein companies price services based on demand (think Uber charging more for rides in the rain or at rush hour). And although airlines have already implemented this type of fare — for example, making flights around the holidays more expensive — using new technology, they can tailor fares to specific passengers.</p><p>Airline websites will be able to identify customers by their IP addresses and mine data for their flying history. The revenue management system would then create a person-specific fare based off criteria like loyalty status or business/leisure traveler. Loyal customers and leisure travelers would likely pay less, while those who are willing to pay more — like business travelers with a company credit card — would likely see higher prices.</p><p>However, before airlines implement a “pure” version of dynamic pricing, reports <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Travel Weekly</em></a>, they have to move away from the legacy distribution system put in place after 1978 deregulation. Airline pricing has a limited number of fare classes, each with their own price points and restrictions. Airlines rotate which fare classes are available through their sale cycles. While current customers may believe their fare is unique, they’ve actually fallen into a specific fare class.</p><p>If airlines switch to dynamic pricing, each customer on the plane could, theoretically, pay a completely different price. As George Hobica <a href="" target="_blank">notes in <em>USA Today</em></a>, dynamic pricing could make finding a good price on airfare even more confusing than it already is.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Hidden Resort in Aruba Has the Island's Only Overwater Villas

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 29 min ago
<p>On Aruba's serene southeastern coast, about nine miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown Oranjestad and six miles from Queen Beatrix International Airport, sits the small village of Savaneta.</p><p>Once <a href="" target="_blank">Aruba</a>'s capital, Savaneta is the oldest town on the island — and it also features the only overwater villas. Driving through town, it's easy to pass by what looks like nothing more than a dirt parking lot, but if you're lucky enough to stumble upon the hidden gem that is <a href="" target="_blank">Aruba Ocean Villas</a>, you'll find yourself in a colorful slice of paradise filled with lush greenery, brightly painted furniture, and tropical thatched-roof tiki huts waiting to host you for sunset cocktails.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Where to Find Aruba's Most Beautiful, Peaceful, and Hidden Beaches</a></p><img alt="Aruba Ocean Villas entrance "src=""><img alt="Aruba Ocean Villas lobby "src=""><img alt="Old Man and the Sea Ocean Villas Aruba restaurant "src=""><p>Past the hammocks draping the breezy indoor-outdoor lobby and the inviting beachfront bar are six villas — three over water and three perched directly in the sand. Inside the villas guests will find mahogany furniture, plush beds, crystal chandeliers, and deep soaking tubs, all with direct ocean views. Each room has Wi-Fi, a Bose sound system, Aruba-made bath products, and hand-painted silk robes.</p><p>Private dinners can be arranged via the on-site restaurant, Old Man and the Sea.</p><img alt="Aruba Ocean Villas "src=""><img alt="Aruba Ocean Villas room interior "src=""><p>Curtains sway in the breeze and invite you out to the deck, where bright Adirondack chairs look out over the Caribbean Sea. The scene is so idyllic that the <em>Sports Illustrated</em> team decided to shoot the <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Swimsuit Issue</a> there, bringing <a href="" target="_blank">model Raven Lyn</a> to pose beside its peaceful pier without fanfare. </p><p>The villas, much quieter than the high-rise hotels to their north, are popular among honeymooners and can also be rented out for destination weddings. Guests can use paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear to explore the surrounding turquoise waters, and owner Osyth Henriquez told <em>Travel + Leisure</em> a wine room and spa are coming soon.</p><img alt="Aruba Ocean Villas deck view "src=""><p>Since there are only six villas, booking as far in advance as possible is recommended. The average price of a villa is $699. Visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> to inquire about a stay.</p>
Categories: Travel

The One Type of Clothing You Should Never Wear Hiking

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 45 min ago
<p>Instead of Velcro, buttons, and snap fasteners, magnetic closures are now the trendy alternative for fastening phone cases, gloves, jackets, hoods, and other outerwear. But this seemingly innocuous design feature can actually put your life at risk.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser for Mountaineering Scotland</a>, a recent incident involving a group of lost hikers and an intense mountain rescue mission could have been avoided had it not been for a misplaced compass and a phone case with a magnetic closure.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">11 Smart Travel Accessories for Staying Safe on Solo Trips</a></p><p>“[The compass] had been stored in a pocket next to a mobile phone in a case which had a magnetic closure on it,” Morning said, “and the magnet had reversed the polarity of the compass needle, so that the north arrow pointed south.”</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Mountaineering Scotland</a> says that this reversed polarity occurs when a magnet comes into contact with a compass, and that needles can be deflected briefly, partially, or completely. If the compass has been partially reversed, the needle will move slowly, stick, or be out of balance. It is totally reversed if the north arrow points south, as was the case with the hikers in Scotland.</p><p>Luckily the hikers made it to safety, but Morning now calls for a collaboration “between outdoor clothing manufacturers and mountain users” so that this type of “life-threatening” event does not happen again.</p><p>In the meantime, consider bypassing the magnetic trend and instead opt for clothing and phone cases with traditional fasteners to prevent a potentially risky situation on your next hiking expedition.</p><p>In addition to taking precautions with your outerwear, <a href="" target="_blank">Mountaineering Scotland</a> also advises hikers to keep their compasses separate from their phones, phone cases, and other electronic devices, and to always carry a spare compass in case it breaks.</p><p>And as with all travel, always remember to tell someone where you're going, and when you plan to be back.</p>
Categories: Travel

When to Visit Ireland for the Most Sunshine (and the Best Deals)

Travel and Leisure - 4 hours 1 sec ago
<p>Somehow even greener than the pictures promise, Ireland is a land of fairy tales and political revolutions, poetry and pubs, rainbows and, well, quite a bit of rain. More than 7 million tourists visited the <a href="" target="_blank">Republic of Ireland</a> in 2014 alone — almost twice the country’s population — and the number continues to grow.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">What Learning Irish Adds to a Trip to Ireland</a></p><p>While there is no one “perfect” time to visit the Emerald Isle, different seasons offer different experiences. There are quiet and intimate (albeit drizzly) winters; springs spent in raucous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; sunny but busy summers; and shoulder season autumns that balance better weather with lower crowds.</p><p>Your best time to <a href="" target="_blank">visit Ireland</a> is, ultimately, up to you — and the items on your Ireland to-do list.</p><h2>The Best Months to Visit Ireland</h2><h3>The Best Time to Visit Ireland for Good Weather</h3><p>Ireland’s weather is changeable, but it’s not extreme. The temperature <a href="" target="_blank">rarely falls below freezing in winter or rises above 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer</a>. It’s not uncommon to see bright sun and cloudy skies in quick succession, regardless of the time of year.</p><p>And let’s get this out of the way: it will rain, so be ready for it. Trip timing will affect just how much rain (or sun) you are likely to see. Summer is sunniest, with daylight stretching until 11:00 p.m. around the solstice. July and August are the brightest months (though they're also the country’s busiest). Between November and February, Ireland is dark, cold, and wet — but it can also feel quieter and cozier.</p><h3>The Best Times to Visit Ireland for Festivals and Events</h3><p>Ireland celebrates a lot more than just St. Patrick’s Day (a holiday that, before its more raucous iteration, was a historically religious holiday).</p><p>On June 16, for example, Dublin streets swell with James Joyce devotees <a href="" target="_blank">observing Bloomsday</a>: the anniversary of <a href="" target="_blank">the historic date</a> during which the writer’s groundbreaking novel, <em>Ulysses</em>, takes place.</p><p>In <a href="" target="_blank">western Ireland</a>, the County Kerry town of Killorglin organizes a <a href="" target="_blank">Puck Fair</a> every August, where a young local girl symbolically marries a wild goat who is crowned “King Puck” for the duration of the festival.</p><p>September <a href="" target="_blank">draws legions of oyster lovers to Galway</a>, while summer is busy with music festivals all across the countryside.</p><h2>The Worst Times to Visit Ireland</h2><p>Summer is Ireland’s high season, with a corresponding rise in airfare and accommodation rates. Although this makes it the most crowded time to be in Ireland, summer is also when even the smallest B&amp;Bs or rural attractions (closed the rest of the year) are bound to be open. And with summer’s long daylight hours, it’s easier to get more done in a single day.</p><p>St. Patrick’s Day follows closely behind the high summer with regard to both crowds and costs. Unless you are determined to <a href="" target="_blank">spend the holiday in Dublin’s Temple Bar District</a> for the boozy festivities, it's best to avoid traveling to or from the country around March 16. </p><p>While winter is the least busy time to visit Ireland, it's also when the weather will be at its worst. For a nice compromise between weather and crowds, visit in the shoulder seasons of either spring or fall.</p><h2>The Cheapest Times to Visit Ireland</h2><p>Outside of Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s drizzly and dark winter is also the cheapest time of year to visit. Some accommodations may offer off-season rates in winter, but still others might be closed until spring. </p><p>The summer months, especially July and August, correspond with noticeably higher air fares than the flights available in the shoulder seasons and in winter. Hotels can also charge peak rates. </p>
Categories: Travel

A Swarm of Earthquakes Has Been Shaking Yellowstone’s Supervolcano

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 17:19
<p>Geophysicists detected a swarm of more than 200 earthquakes around Yellowstone’s supervolcano within the past two weeks. Despite the alarming number, the scientists insist there’s nothing to be afraid of.</p><p>“This is what Yellowstone does; this is Yellowstone being Yellowstone,” Michael Poland, the scientist-in-charge of the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, told <a href="" target="_blank">Live Science</a>. “It experiences swarms all the time.”</p><p>Since February 8, Yellowstone has reported more than 200 earthquakes, with the largest hitting a 2.9 on the Richter Scale. All of the earthquakes were reported about five miles below the Earth’s surface.</p><p>Although the phrase “earthquake swarm” may seem apocalyptic, they’re a common occurrence at the national park. Scientists call multiple earthquakes “swarms” when they happen independently, without having been triggered by a main shock. Swarms account for more than <a href="" target="_blank">half of all seismic activity at Yellowstone</a>, but none have ever resulted in volcanic activity at the supervolcano caldera.</p><img alt="White Dome Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park "src=""><p>Last year, Yellowstone experienced an earthquake swarm that was 10 times more turbulent than this month’s activity. By September, a record-breaking 2,400 earthquakes were reported.</p><p>And although these quakes are happening perilously close to the supervolcano, it has remained dormant for centuries. The most recent eruption at Yellowstone happened more than 70,000 years ago, scientists say. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates a one in 730,000 chance of a massive volcanic explosion at Yellowstone, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>National Geographic</em> reported</a>. The USGS also said that the current seismic activity — despite its headline-grabbing number — is “<a href="" target="_blank">relatively weak and actually represents an opportunity to learn more about Yellowstone.”</a></p>
Categories: Travel

How a Threatening Letter Sent to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Will Affect Their Wedding Day

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 17:15
<p>On Feb. 12, an envelope addressed to <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle</a> was found to have both a threatening letter and a white powdery substance inside.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">TIME</a></em>, the letter reportedly stated that the powder was anthrax, which caused a full security scare, however it was tested and found to be harmless.</p><p>“Police are investigating after a package containing a substance was delivered to St James’ Palace on Monday, 12 February,” the Metropolitan Police shared in a statement. “The substance was tested and confirmed as non suspicious. Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications which relates to the same package.”</p><p><em>TIME </em>additionally noted that St. James’ Palace is home to Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, along with Princess Anne and Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Meghan Markle Is Changing Yet Another Royal Wedding Tradition</a></p><p>Luckily for the entire royal family the powder was a hoax, but moreover they’d likely never come in contact with it anyway. As <em><a href="" target="_blank">HuffPost</a></em> noted, protocol means that staffers open all mail addressed to the members of the royal family first.</p><p>However, if the powder had been actual anthrax the staff would have been in grave danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a “<a href="" target="_blank">serious infectious disease</a>” and can cause “severe illness in both humans and animals” who come into contact with it.</p><p>The royal couple weren’t the only ones to receive the threatening piece of mail either. According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Evening Standard</a></em>, another letter containing white powder was also sent to the office of Home Secretary Amber Rudd. That powder was found to be harmless as well.</p><p>As public figures, security threats unfortunately tend to come with the territory. However, this letter likely means security will be heightened even further during <a href="" target="_blank">Meghan and Harry’s wedding this coming May.</a></p><p>In fact, the <em>Evening Standard</em> reported, security measures for the big wedding day are already under review. Authorities are preparing for anything from a terror attack to individual stalkers.</p><p>And though Meghan isn’t quite an official royal yet, she has already been assigned a 24/7 guard from the Royalty and Specialist Protection command, meaning she can sleep easy tonight knowing the best of the best are protecting her from harm.</p>
Categories: Travel

A New Craft Beer Hotel Will Have a Tap in Every Room — and Cold Beers in the Shower

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 16:45
<p>Beer lovers can soon spend their days surrounded by their favorite drink as the world’s first craft beer hotel is underway thanks to independent craft brewer BrewDog.</p><p>BrewDog <a href="" target="_blank">made waves last year</a> when they launched an Indiegogo campaign to create what they called the “world’s first crowdfunded craft beer hotel,” announcing plans for a 50-room <a href="" target="_blank">hotel</a> that would be attached to their new brewery in Columbus, <a href="" target="_blank">Ohio</a>.</p><p>Now, the Scottish beer manufacturer has <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that a recent acquisition of property in the town of Ellon, which is located in Aberdeenshire, <a href="" target="_blank">Scotland</a>, has them planning to open their first beer hotel in early 2019.</p><img alt="doghouse hotel "src=""><p>When the 26-room DogHouse hotel opens, guests will have access to cold brews straight from the comfort of their rooms. Each room will feature beer taps, and showers will come with built-in fridges so guests don't ever have to go empty handed, even while bathing.</p><p>Besides featuring the top beers from BrewDog, the DogHouse's beer-centric amenities will include craft beers from some of the brewery’s favorite companies to give customers a wide variety to choose from.</p><p>The hotel, which will be located at the brewery’s headquarters, will have rooms that overlook the brewery to give guests a behind-the-scenes look at how brewers work.</p><p>The company was able to fund the new property through the use of their Equity for Punks crowdfunding initiative, opening up shares to anyone in the public looking to become a co-owner.</p><img alt="doghouse hotel "src=""><p>BrewDog had recently launched its fifth round of Equity for Punks with an intended goal of at least $14 million, but was able to surpass the goal ahead of the January deadline, giving them enough funding to open the new property in Scotland.</p><img alt="doghouse hotel "src=""><p>The company also has plans to expand its main brewery and just opened a new sour beer brewing facility called <a href="" target="_blank">The Overworks</a> last month.</p><p>BrewDog is still planning to open its Ohio property, which will also feature beer taps, shower fridges, and even suites that come with beer-filled hot tubs, in the second half of 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Cow Swam Away From a Slaughterhouse to Chill on an Island

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 16:38
<p>Have you ever thought about quitting your job, leaving your home, and <a href="" target="_blank">running away to a deserted island</a> forever? If so, you’re not alone, because one cow in Poland was likely thinking the same thing when she ran away from a farm and swam off to an island instead.</p><p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">BBC</a>, a female cow set for slaughter escaped her farm home by ramming a fence and swimming to a Polish island known as Lake Nyskie.</p><p>The cow, the BBC noted, was being led toward a truck that would bring her to the slaughter house. She seemed to sense this was her one chance to escape and so she used all of her might to get away from her handlers. In fact, she was so forceful she broke a farm worker’s arm and bruised his ribs.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Cows in Corsica Love to Sunbathe — but Don’t Try to Take a Selfie With Them</a></p><p>When the cow was finally located on the island, she immediately hid from her owner there as well. "I saw her diving under water," her owner, only identified as Mr. Lukasz, said.</p><p>After the failed attempt to capture her, Mr. Lukasz gave up and began bringing food to the island for the cow instead.</p><p>Some in the community have called for the animal to be euthanized. However, a local politician by the name of Pawel Kukiz said there is no way the “hero cow” will be killed. In a Facebook post, Kukiz noted that "if all citizens have shown such determination as this cow" Poland would be much better off.</p><p>At least for now, the cow gets to enjoy her quiet island solitude and live out our collective fantasy of running away to a deserted island, filled with food, to be left alone forever with no responsibilities.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Sudden Ferry Explosion in Playa Del Carmen Injured 25 People

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 16:13
<p>A ferry was in the midst of unloading passengers on a dock in the <a href="" target="_blank">Mexican town of Playa del Carmen</a> Wednesday when it suddenly exploded, injuring up to 25 people, according to a report.</p><p>None of the injuries were life-threatening, <a href="" target="_blank">the Associated Press reported</a>. In a statement, the local government said that victims suffered minor cuts and were sent to the hospital.</p><p>The specific numbers cited in the incident have differed depending on the source. A local Mexican official said at least two Americans and three Canadians were affected. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico, however, later said that seven Americans were hurt in the explosion, and Canadian officials said they were not aware of any injuries to their citizens, according to the AP.</p><p>As for <a href="" target="_blank">the boat</a>, operated by ferry line Barcos Caribe, the damage wasn’t so minor. The vessel was left with a large hole on its starboard side as a result on the explosion, the AP reported.</p><p>Video posted to Twitter shows a section of the ship spontaneously exploding, expelling a thick cloud of smoke into the sky. The cause is not yet known, according to the municipal government.</p><p>The Port Administration of Quintana Roo, the state in which <a href="" target="_blank">Playa del Carmen</a> is located, said in a statement that mechanical failure may have resulted in the incident, according to a preliminary investigation.</p>
Categories: Travel

Delta Passengers Were Stuck on an Icy Tarmac for Nearly 12 Hours

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 15:47
<p>Delta Airlines passengers say they were stuck on the tarmac at Kansas City International Airport for nearly 12 hours due to icy weather conditions.</p><p>Delta Flight 2195 to Los Angeles was one of several that were canceled or delayed after an ice storm on Tuesday, and several passengers took out their frustration over being left on the plane for several hours on Twitter Wednesday. </p><p>Passenger Ann Ngo <a href="">told the Kansas City <em>Star</em></a> she sat on the flight from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., saying it was the worst day she has ever had while traveling. Passengers were allowed off the plane to buy food at different times, according to the <em>Star</em>. </p><p>The flight was eventually canceled after the plane crew's shifts ran over the legal time limit. </p><p>In a <a href="">statement</a> to the Star, Delta apologized to passengers. </p><p>"The significant amount of ice accumulation drove prolonged de-icing times, prompting some flights to return to the gate, which in turn impacted wait times for arriving aircraft as Delta crews worked to clear departing aircraft of ice," spokesperson Lisa Hellerstedt said. </p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

This Circular Hotel on a Fjord in Norway Will Have Breathtaking Glacier Views

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:52
<p>A dramatic new hotel project is underway in <a href="" target="_blank">Norway</a>’s northern Salten region, and it’s an exciting mix of high design and groundbreaking sustainability.</p><p>The circular <a href="" target="_blank">Svart hotel</a> (named for the dark blue ice of the bordering Svartisen glacier) will project out over the Holandsfjorden fjord, and afford sweeping 360-degree views of the remote Arctic terrain.</p><img alt="Overview of the Svart Arctic Circle Hotel "src=""><p>Its shape and striking structural elements — like wooden stilts that lift the building out of the water — are inspired by traditional <i>rorbue </i>houses and <i>fiskehjell, </i>used by fishermen to dry fish.</p><p>But Svart will be more than just a beautiful property when it opens its doors in 2021.</p><p>As a collaboration between the architecture firm Snøhetta<i>, </i>Arctic Adventure of Norway, and Powerhouse, Svart promises to be entirely sustainable and energy efficient.</p><p>“Building in such a precious environment,” Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen <a href="" target="_blank">said in a presentation</a>, “comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site.”</p><p>“It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature.”</p><img alt="Arctic Circle Hotel SVART, by Snohetta "src=""><p>Compared to traditional hotels, Svart will consume 85 percent less energy — and over the course of six decades, will generate more energy (by way of solar panels and geothermal wells) than it would theoretically take to build, run, and ultimately demolish the property.</p><p>Travelers will have active, nature-driven experiences during their stay at Svart, including <a href="" target="_blank">expeditions to see the northern lights</a>, hiking, and ice climbing. Kayaks can even be launched straight from a deck under the guest rooms.</p>
Categories: Travel

Justin Trudeau Can't Stop Being an Embarrassing Tourist in India

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:23
<p>While it’s not uncommon for political leaders to sometimes don the traditional attire of a country they are visiting, some are questioning if one political leader might be taking it too far.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Justin Trudeau’s</a> official trip to <a href="" target="_blank">India</a> with his wife and three children has been bringing the prime minister quite a bit of slack – and a presumed <a href="" target="_blank">snub by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi</a> – with the latest incident involving the family’s attire choices.</p><p>According to the <a href=" s" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>, Trudeau’s family had India's top designers create a series of garments for the tour, which they are pictured wearing around the country.</p><p>Some people, including Indian politician Omar Abdullah, have been criticizing the move on social media.</p><p>“It’s a little over the top,” Vivek Dehejia, an economics professor at Carleton University, told <em><a href="" target="_blank">Global News</a></em>. “I understand on day one having to wear the traditional clothes but now it’s getting too much,” Dehejia added.</p><p>The family even outshone a few Bollywood stars with their outfits during a meeting on Feb. 20, according to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Washington Post</a></em>, donning beaded saris, sherwanis, and mojari shoes while the stars themselves were in everyday pants and coats. </p><p>The outfits are just one of the bumps Trudeau has been hitting along his trip. He also garnered negative attention for <a href="" target="_blank">misspelling Gandhi</a> in a tweet and for the recent discovery that the Canadian High Commission had invited a separatist who was convicted of trying to assassinate a politician in the '80s to a dinner with Trudeau. (They later rescinded the invitation.)</p>
Categories: Travel

7 Ways to Upgrade Your Vacation for $100 or Less

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:16
<p>Flying in <a href="" target="_blank">first class</a> is not without its perks, but you don’t need to splurge to enjoy some of the benefits of elite travel. In addition to those cushy seats, a premium ticket may include a series of other benefits that make the entire travel experience decidedly more luxurious.</p><p>And it’s easy to experience small upgrades — just like those travelers at the front of the plane — without depleting your savings account. Hotel guests, too, can get a taste of the VIP experience just like those guests staying in top-tier suites.</p><p>For $100 or less, here are the easiest ways to indulge on your next vacation.</p><h2>Hang out at the lounge.</h2><p>One of the biggest differences between an economy and a first-class ticket (aside from the seat, of course) is access to the airport lounge. If you’re expecting to spend a significant amount of time at the airport — particularly during a long layover — there’s no better way to pass the time than with a complimentary meal and cocktail at an <a href="" target="_blank">airport lounge</a>.</p><p>Many airlines offer one-day passes to their signature lounges for less than $60. Third-party retailers, like <a href="" target="_blank">Lounge Buddy</a>, also make it possible to <a href="" target="_blank">buy access to airport lounges</a> at hubs all around the world, starting at $30.</p><h2>Take a spa break.</h2><p>Instead of an airport lounge, travelers can also fritter away the hours before a flight at a nearby gym, pool, or spa. The new <a href="" target="_blank">Sanctifly</a> app grants access to facilities at fitness centers (like 24 Hour Fitness) and hotels (including Marriott and Radisson properties) for a one-time fee of $25.</p><p>In certain locations, airport spas and exercise studios are also included. <a href="" target="_blank">Frequent fliers</a> can even pay for a membership to get unrestricted access to Sanctifly’s partners.</p><h2>Get a luxury car transfer.</h2><p>One of the best perks included with certain business and first class tickets is luxury car transfers to and from the airport. Emirates, for example, offers <a href="" target="_blank">chauffeured drives in a BMW or Mercedes-Benz</a>. Easily replicate the experience by splurging on an Uber or, even fancier, <a href="" target="_blank">a black car</a>. It sure beats riding public transportation with your luggage, or jockeying for a taxi outside the airport.</p><h2>Use Red Cap service.</h2><p>Train travelers with Amtrak tickets can have a VIP journey without spending a penny more than the standard fare by opting for <a href="">Red Cap service</a>. Available at major train stations across the country (including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and D.C.), Red Cap is a little-known amenity that allows travelers to have complimentary assistance with bags. And that means early boarding and better seat selection. Just be sure to tip.</p><h2>Apply for Global Entry.</h2><p>Global Entry doesn’t sound glamorous, but splurging on <a href="" target="_blank">the one-time, $100 fee</a> for <a href="" target="_blank">Global Entry</a> means enjoying all the perks of this program (skipping passport and customs control lines upon re-entry to the United States; never having to fill out those blue customs forms again) as well as the benefits of TSA PreCheck at participating airports. Just like premium ticket holders, you’ll be able to dash through security with your shoes on.</p><h2>Ask for an upgrade.</h2><p>It may sound too easy, but simply asking the front desk for an upgrade on arrival can help you <a href="" target="_blank">score a superior room</a>. And asking doesn't cost a thing.</p><p>This is especially true for guests traveling during the off-season, when there’s typically lower occupancy, or during a special occasion. Guests may expect to pay a small fee for the upgrade — but nothing close to the difference in room rate. It also helps to join the hotel’s loyalty program in advance. Often free to join, these programs give members priority when it comes to upgrades.</p><h2>Request early check-in and late check-out.</h2><p>One of the more relaxing benefits of a premium room stay is getting to sleep in, and it’s worth it to negotiate an early arrival or late depature times with the hotel. Make it happen by phoning ahead, flaunting your membership card (just another reason to sign up) or, if all else fails, asking to pay a half-day rate. Many hotels have a fixed — and not exorbitant fee — for precisely this purpose.</p><p>Another trick? Book your hotel through <a href="" target="_blank">the SnapTravel app</a>. In addition to getting excellent rates, the app's customer-service reps will automatically request free upgrades on arrival and negotiate special requests like early check-in and late check-out.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airbnb Is Adding a Loyalty Program to Reward You for Booking

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:04
<p>For many travelers, <a href="" target="_blank">booking an Airbnb</a> feels as necessary to the trip-planning process as picking a destination — and a new feature will soon reward these devoted users.</p><p>The home share platform <a href="" target="_blank">announced Thursday</a> that it's adding a loyalty program that will treat "its best guests" to "benefits across the entire trip." Details about the program, called Superguest, are sparse at the moment, but a release from Airbnb says a pilot version will be available to 10,000 members this summer and to the wider user base by the end of 2018. </p><img alt=" "src=""><p>Airbnb also has a loyalty program for <a href="" target="_blank">frequent hosts</a> called, aptly, Superhost. Hosts with a 4.8 rating or above, at least a 90% response rate, <a href="" target="_blank">10 or more stays a year</a>, and zero cancellations are eligible for the program, which gives hosts more visibility on the site and early access to new programs. The company said in the release that it will soon add new benefits to the Superhost program as well. </p><p>In addition to the new "super" programs, the company's announcement mentioned a handful of added booking features and property types. The site will soon roll out new property classifications — vacation home, unique, boutique and bed and breakfast — and a "Collections" feature that filters accommodations by travelers' specific needs.</p><p>The company will also add an "Airbnb Plus" tier, which includes homes that have been verified for quality and comfort, and a "Beyond" tier for luxury trips. </p>
Categories: Travel

Airbnb Has a Plan to Verify Quality Rentals and Offer Even More High-end Options

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 09:52
<p>After “disrupting” the accommodation industry, Airbnb is continuing on a path to become more mainstream.</p><p>On Thursday, the home rental platform <a href="" target="_blank">announced several changes</a>, one of which includes sending an inspector to visit listings and determine if the space is good enough to qualify as “<a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Airbnb Plus</a>.”</p><p>“Airbnb Plus is a new selection of only the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail,” <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">according to the company</a>. “Every home is visited in person for a 100+ point quality inspection to ensure your comfort.” Hosts of Airbnb Plus homes are also supposed to have <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">at least a 4.8 rating</a>.</p><p>The designation, which will be visible on listings as a “PLUS” badge, could come as a relief to travelers who are a bit uneasy about either the safety or the comfort of a stranger's home.</p><p>Of course, sending inspectors to individual listings is a timely process — only about 2,000 listings in 13 cities will be part of the launch, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>USA Today</em> reported</a>.</p><p>For travelers who aren't quite impressed enough by “Plus,” Airbnb also announced “Beyond,” a new tier of booking that “will offer custom designed trips of a lifetime, including the world’s finest homes, custom experiences and world-class hospitality.”</p><p>And, in addition to verifying the quality of home listings, Airbnb also announced four new property types. The existing options of Entire Home, Private Room and Shared Space will now be joined by “Vacation Home, Unique, B&amp;B and Boutiques” — as in boutique “hotels,” a word only mentioned once in <a href="" target="_blank">the announcement</a>. Smaller properties have previously been listed on Airbnb, but this marks an official addition. A <a href="" target="_blank">new loyalty program for both guests and hosts</a> will be rolled out along with these updates, promising "benefits across the entire trip," but Airbnb has not revealed any details as to what those benefits will be.</p><p>The home/apartment/room rental service that began as an extra couch in <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco</a> is still trying to distinguish itself from hotel chains, but that appears to be increasingly difficult as it looks to standardize the experience to give travelers a consistent experience.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Cutest and Possibly Tiniest Cottage in the U.K. Could Be Yours

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 09:11
<p>If you’re looking for the perfect, cozy hideaway, we’ve got just the right home for you. Emphasis on cozy.</p><p>One of Britain’s narrowest homes, known as The Doll’s House, which only measures just 9 feet wide, is now on sale for £225,000 (about $315,000).</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The World's Largest Cruise Ship Has 20 Restaurants, a 10-story Slide, and a Robotic Bar</a></p><p>The cottage has been functioning as a vacation home for holidaymakers for the last year, but now it’s up for sale for anyone who isn’t looking for wide open spaces.</p><img alt="Narrow Cottage in village of Porthleven, Cornwall. "src=""><p>Within its tiny, 339 square feet of floor space, the cottage managed to include one bedroom, two reception rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom (but there’s only a shower). The dining area even has a murphy table that folds down from the wall — because a regular table would take up too much space.</p><p>But the itsy bitsy home comes with some big neighborhood perks. Located in the village of Porthleven, Cornwall, the home’s future owner can look forward to gorgeous views of the sea and harbor, including a lovely watchtower and a beach.</p><img alt="Narrow Cottage in village of Porthleven, Cornwall. "src=""><p>The home looks like it easily fits full sized furniture like couches, a bed, some little bookshelves and even has a fairly spacious kitchen (given the total space of the house). It’s definitely not for people who like to save a lot of stuff.</p><p>Luckily, even if you can’t afford to buy the home, you can still rent it for the time being. A week’s stay priced between £245 and £515 ($342 and $720 USD).</p><p>More information on the house can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Cornish Cottages website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Snow Artist Transformed a Minneapolis Baseball Field Into a Work of Art

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:06
<p>The Patriots and the Eagles weren’t the only ones out on the field on Super Bowl Sunday. Not far from U.S. Bank Stadium where the Super Bowl was being held, snow artist <a href="" target="_blank">Simon Beck</a> was transforming Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team, into a work of art.</p><img alt="Snow Artist in Minneapolis "src=""><p>Beck teamed up with <a href="" target="_blank">The Great Northern</a>, a showcase of events that celebrate The North, in order to create the stunning snow design and timelapse video.</p><p><em>Travel + Leisure</em> caught up with Beck to discuss the project. Surprisingly enough, making a piece of snow art is something that can’t exactly be planned out ahead of time, according to Beck.</p><p>“There were unknowns of the exact extent of the off-limits area surrounding the infield, where the pitcher stands and the bases are located, also the snow in one area was very shallow,” said Beck. “Therefore I was feeling my way to an extent and it was not planned a great deal.”</p><p>Beck became a snow artist by chance. He lives close to Les Arcs ski resort in France, where he began making drawings on the small lake outside his building. And of course, as a snow artist, pretty much every movement he makes is part of his art.</p><img alt="Snow Artist in Minneapolis "src=""><p>Beck typically begins surveying an area by “walking along lines that are part of a design.” Then, he will either use a compass or GPS to tell him where he is, and distance measurement is done by simply counting his steps. He uses a rope and an anchor to create accurate circles, and simple tools like snowshoes and ski sticks to make different designs.</p><p>The process, as Beck explained it, is both incredibly simple and complicated at the same time. With so much going into the process of making a piece of snow art, the notion of possibly making a mistake seemed all the more frustrating.</p><p>“Normally mistakes are ‘corrected’ by altering the design but it is better not to make them in the first place,” Beck said. “For a drawing 150m in diameter, which is a day’s work, average times would be two hours for the surveying, two hours for drawing the lines, three hours for the fractal periphery, if I make one, and four hours for shading.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">51 Winter Caption Ideas for Cool Instagram Photos</a></p><p>For his work at Target Field, Beck clocked his work around a day and a half, plus an addition two hours for restoring some parts of the work that faded due to more snow and wind during the night in between.</p><p>The long hours of work certainly paid off, according to Beck. “I expected it to be a failure as the climate in Minneapolis is rather dry, so I was delighted when snow was reported, hearsay is that it was their best/worst (depending on one’s point of view) for seven years. So we were really lucky and I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did,” he said.</p><img alt="Snow Artist in Minneapolis "src=""><p>Beck’s design may have faded by now, but the timelapse of his work still remains for everyone’s enjoyment.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Book an Amazing Deal to See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan If You Act Fast

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 07:29
<p>Japan’s famous <a href="" target="_blank">cherry blossom season</a> is right around the corner (the blooms tend to arrive in late March and continue through early May). And if you’re planning on making the pilgrimage, now is the time to book.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Scott’s Cheap Flights</a> has found significantly discounted round-trip fares to <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>, starting at $596. The deal is valid on flights between February and May, making it perfect for cherry blossom seekers.</p><p>The most inexpensive tickets are on sale from <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>, which also offers nonstop service. But travelers can also find flights to Japan in the $600s from Detroit, Minneapolis, Portland, San Diego, and Atlanta.</p><p>Additional availability can be found between August and November exclusively from Los Angeles International Airport.</p><p>To take advantage of the sale, travelers should use <a href="" target="_blank">Google Flights</a> to identify the cheapest travel dates from their home airport.</p><p>Use those dates to search for flights on your preferred booking site (like Priceline) or a search engine (like Momondo), which may yield even cheaper fares.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Is Making it More Expensive to Get Good Seats

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 07:24
<p>Southwest passengers may now have to pay more if they want to get a good seat.</p><p>This month, the airline increased the fees for its upgraded boarding program. Travelers who want to be first on the plane — and who did not pre-purchase an upgrade — could now pay up to $50 to board early on “high demand” routes, a Southwest spokesperson <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Republic</em></a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How Passengers Take Advantage of Southwest’s Open-seating Policy</a></p><p>Southwest allows passengers to board in the order in which they checked in, making seat selection first come, first serve. The upgraded boarding program allows them to advance in the check-in ranks.</p><p>Southwest first introduced upgraded boarding in 2013 for $40. The service is only available for purchase at the airport and allows passengers to scoop up Business Select tickets that were not pre-sold. In 2015, the airline added a $30 option for select flights. Earlier this month, Southwest’s website advertised that customers would <a href="" target="_blank">pay either $30, $40 or $50 for upgraded boarding,</a> depending on the route.</p><p>“Every few years, we review the price of our services in order to align with market and operational conditions as well as uphold the quality of our offerings,” an airline spokesperson told <em>Travel + Leisure</em> in a statement. “Southwest has increased the price of purchasing Upgraded Boarding to $50 in a handful of our markets while others remain $30 or $40 for the service.”</p><p>The airline did not reveal which routes would be affected by the change.</p><p>Business Select passengers are the first 15 people to board Southwest flights (boarding numbers A1 through A15). Passengers also have the option to buy Early Bird Check-In for $15 when they purchase their tickets, ensuring that they are among the first people to select their seats on the airplane.</p>
Categories: Travel

Flight Attendant Saves the Day by Soothing Crying Baby on Late-night Flight (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 07:23
<p>One flight attendant went above and beyond the call of duty to help out a tired mom.</p><p>On a late-night Hawaiian Airlines flight, crew member Gina Reyes was caught on video assisting a mother of three by calming the woman’s toddler so she could have a rare chance to relax.</p><p>"I saw a place where I could help," Reyes told Fox affiliate <a href="" target="_blank">KHON2</a> in Honolulu. "I was rocking and singing to him. I was singing lullabies to him."</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How to Avoid Sitting Next to a Baby on Your Next Flight</a></p><p>Apparently, the boy was crying for about half an hour when Reyes stepped in. He looks perfectly cozy draped over Reyes’ shoulder in the video. Late-night flights can be so stressful, pretty much anyone would want to be lovingly rocked to sleep.</p><p>The video was captured by fellow passenger Rachel Yuen Nihi, who told KHON2, “I watched that mom just literally lean back in her chair and breathe.”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Your Flight Attendant Probably Likes You Better Than the First Class Passengers</a></p><p>Reyes has four children herself, according to KHON2, so it’s safe to say she’s pretty adept at jumping in when a child (or a fellow mom) needs help.</p><p>Not to mention, her quick thinking probably soothed many other passengers on the flight as well.</p>
Categories: Travel