Vitaminwater Will Pay You $100,000 to Give Up Your Smartphone for a Year (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 07:29
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Vitaminwater</a> wants you to put down your smartphone. And they’re willing to pay you $100,000 to do it.</p><p>As part of a new contest, Vitaminwater will select one lucky winner to receive a $100,000 cash prize. But, in return, that person must be willing to forgo having a smartphone for an entire year.</p><p>“Did you know 1 out of 2 people say they couldn’t live without their smartphone? yikes. Break the cycle with scroll-free life solution by vitaminwater,” reps for the company wrote.</p><p>To enter, all you need to do is share a message with Vitaminwater on Twitter or Instagram. There, you just need to tell the water company what you’d do instead of scrolling through your phone for a year using the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest.</p><p>While it may seem fun, it does seem a bit difficult, especially when you read the fine print.<br /><br />“You may not use any smartphone for 365 days,” the first rule reads. “If texting is a pleasant experience or you can get on the internet, it’s probably a smartphone.<br /><br />This, Vitaminwater noted, “means you may not physically operate, caress, hug or otherwise be physically affectionate with anyone’s smartphone. If you’re lying in bed and miss your phone, do not attempt to sneak a midnight scroll…just close your eyes and dream about vitaminwater. That’s what we do. Every night. And sometimes at the office.”</p><p>It did, however, add to the page that none of this is “legally binding. At all.”</p><p>So, how will someone be able to survive the year? The company will provide them with a “1996-era cellular telephone that may be used for communication during the contract time period, including a monthly phone plan accompanying the phone,” according to the contest’s <a href="" target="_blank">official rules</a>. To ensure the person was honest during the year they will be subjected to a “lie-detector test at the end of the contract period.”</p><p>Of course, if you don’t win, you could just take a <a href="" target="_blank">digital detox vacation</a> instead. That way, everybody wins.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Probably Won't Spend Christmas Morning Together

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:52
<p>The royal family’s Christmas celebrations are all about tradition. Each year, the entire family heads out to the countryside to take part in a number of activities. Those activities include <a href="" target="_blank">exchanging gag gifts</a>, eating a few roasted birds, and heading out to church together. But there’s one thing Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton will likely have to do alone: eat breakfast.</p><p>According to former royal chef (and current professional royal snitch) Darren McGrady, the Windsor family tends to split off during the early morning hours on Christmas day. That’s because, according to McGrady’s story in the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>, “On Christmas Day, the ladies generally opt for a light breakfast of sliced fruit, half a grapefruit, toast and coffee delivered to their rooms – the Queen’s tray is delivered at exactly 9am.”</p><p>However, the males in the family typically head downstairs to the dining room where they partake in a “hearty breakfast.” Their meal, McGrady wrote, comes with “eggs, bacon and mushrooms, kippers and grilled kidneys, to set them up for the 11am church service at St Mary Magdalene.”</p><p>Though, it should be noted, if Meghan or Kate decided they’d rather have a decadent breakfast meal they surely wouldn’t be shunned from the boys' table.</p><p>When the family returns from church, McGrady added, it’s straight to pre-lunch cocktails. At that time, the Queen reportedly requests a gin and Dubonnet and Prince Philip has beer. The rest of the royal crowd will likely sip a glass of Veuve Clicquot.</p><p>Christmas lunch is then served at 1 p.m. sharp, according to McGrady. At that time, “The table features elaborately folded starched white napkins, a silver candelabra with lit candles, wine decanters and red and gold crackers at each setting – a wonderful sight, although there is no shortage of Christmas ‘tat’ elsewhere at Sandringham.”</p><p>Ahh, to be a fly on that wall…</p>
Categories: Travel

A Human Heart Was Accidentally Left on a Southwest Flight

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:20
<p>Earlier this week, passengers on board a Southwest flight were a bit shocked to find out their plane had to turn back. It wasn’t due to weather or mechanical issues. Instead, the plane was forced to turn around because a <i>human heart </i>was left on the plane.</p><p>The flight’s captain, <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Seattle Times</a></em> reported, came over the intercom to explain that the heart was meant to be left in Seattle. However, the delivery was accidently left on the plane during the previous flight from Sacramento.</p><p>According to Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson, heading back to the Seattle airport was “absolutely necessary” to get the cargo back “as quickly as possible.” He added, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and the safe delivery of the precious cargo we transport every day.”</p><p>Dr. Andrew Gottschalk, one of the passengers on the flight, said he and his fellow passengers were more than happy to turn the plane around to deliver the heart and hopefully save a life. However, he questions how this ever happened in the first place. He told <em>The Seattle Times </em>the incident was a “horrific story of gross negligence,” adding, “The heart in question traveled from California to Washington, to the other side of Idaho, and back to Washington.”</p><p>And, the mystery gets even thicker. According to <em>The Seattle Times</em>, no Seattle-area hospitals said they were involved, and spokespeople for regional organ-procurement organizations said they never use commercial flights for heart transplants.</p><p>“We only use private flights,” Katherine Pliska, spokeswoman for LifeCenter Northwest, the organization that facilitates the transfer of organs for transplant in the Pacific Northwest, told <em>The Seattle Times</em>. “There’s a time limit to get where it needs to go.”</p><p>No word on if the heart made it to its intended destination on time. However, passengers certainly didn’t make it to theirs. Once they landed back in Seattle, the passengers were asked to deplane due to an unrelated mechanical issue. After a five-hour delay, they finally got on their way. This time with no extra hearts on the plane.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight — and It'll Be the Best One of 2018

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 06:19
<p>Have you ever seen a sky full of shooting stars? Despite the hype about meteor showers, there are, in truth, very few that live up to their billing. However, one of the "big three" of the year, the Geminids, peaks tonight. Expect fireballs!</p><h2> What is the Geminids meteor shower?</h2><p>It's an <a href="" target="_blank">annual meteor shower</a> that runs from around Dec. 7-16 each year, but it's the peak night of activity that's the one to go shooting star-gazing on. Even better, its shooting stars are distinctly yellow with long tails, truly a sight to behold in a clear sky.</p><h2>Why is it called the Geminids meteor shower?</h2><p>The shooting stars produced by the Geminids meteor shower appear to come from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. It's not all that important for shooting star-gazers, because they can actually appear anywhere in the sky, but any shooting stars you do see will appear to shoot from the general direction of Gemini. Gemini's main bright stars are Castor and Pollux, named after the half-twin brothers in Greek and Roman mythology. The second-brightest star is Castor, about 50 light years from us, while brighter Pollux is 34 light years away.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">10 Incredible Nighttime Adventures That Take Stargazing to New Heights</a></p><h2>When and where to see shooting stars</h2><p>The midnight hour until about 2 a.m. is when to look for shooting stars. That's not because there are more at that time, but because by midnight you will be firmly on the night-side of Earth. So the sky is darker, and the shooting stars will be higher in the sky, and thus brighter. If you can stand the cold and the sky is clear, shooting stars from the Geminids meteor shower should be observable through until a few hours before dawn. The darker your sky, the better, though you don't have to leave the city to see the brighter ones. If light pollution is a problem where you observe from, at least make sure that no lights are in your field of view. Go stand in the shadows, perhaps behind a wall, building or shed, and you'll see more. Geminids are often very bright.</p><h2>What causes shooting stars?</h2><p>Dust. All that happens is that Earth is moving through a stream of dust and particles left over from the passing of a comet through the solar system. When the atmosphere hits them, the dust particles briefly energize and switch from what astronomers call meteoroids into meteors. However, the Geminids meteor shower is a little different from most because it's caused not by comet debris, but by a near-Earth object. 3200 Phaethon is a 5-kilometer-wide asteroid that's often in the solar system and came within 6.4 million miles of Earth in December 2017. It's an object that has long fascinated astronomers, and the Japanese Space Agency has plans to visit it in a mission called Destiny+, which will launch in 2022.</p><h2>What is the Zenithal Hourly Rate?</h2><p>The Geminids meteor shower has a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of 120. ZHR is astro-talk for "the maximum you would see if you had perfect conditions ... and wide-angle eyes." Since you can't look at the whole sky, you'll miss some of those 120 per hour, but for comparison, most meteor showers have a ZHR of about 10. For the Geminids, you can expect to see around 40 to 50 per hour under a clear, dark sky.</p><h2>When is the next meteor shower?</h2><p>It may be the best meteor shower of 2018, but the Geminids is not the last. That title goes to the Ursids, which peak on Dec. 22. However, it’s one to ignore. As well as offering only about five or 10 shooting stars per hour, the Ursids occur this year during strong moonlight, which will dull them even more. However, coming up on Jan. 3 is the Quadrantids, which has a ZHY of 110. It all depends where you watch it from, but it promises to be a decent show in 2019 thanks to a lack of moonlight.</p><p>Go outside at night at midnight on Dec. 13-14 and look up, and keep looking, and if there's a clear, dark sky, you will be rewarded with some awesome festive fireballs.</p>
Categories: Travel

How European Christmas Markets Are Working to Keep Visitors Safe

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 17:17
<p>On Wednesday, a gunman killed at least two people and wounded 14 more in Strasbourg, home to France’s largest Christmas market. The event, <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a></em> reported, was declared an act of terrorism by the Paris prosecutor. A manhunt is still underway to catch the shooter, who fled after allegedly getting injured himself.</p><p>“Once again, terrorism has struck our territory, in Strasbourg,” Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz said in a statement. According to Laurent Nunez, a top Interior Ministry official, the suspect is known to authorities and has a lengthy criminal record. The suspect, <i>The Washington Post </i>added, became radicalized during one of his previous prison stays.</p><p>This, sadly, is not the first time a Christmas market in Europe to be targeted by terror attacks. In 2016, a <a href="" target="_blank">Berlin Christmas market</a> was the subject of a truck attack that left 12 people dead.</p><p>However, authorities are diligently working to ensure the safety of the markets and those who come to visit them.</p><p>“There is a general threat from terrorism. There may be increased security in place over the Christmas and New Year period, including at Christmas markets and other major events that might attract large crowds,” the Foreign Office <a href="" target="_blank">advised on its site</a> even prior to this week’s attack. “You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.”</p><p>Beyond remaining vigilant, authorities and experts say there are a few things you can do to help with your personal safety.</p><p>“As holidaymakers, it is important to familiarize yourself with a country’s particular security protocols. In the case of France, holidaymakers should at the very least equip themselves with the <a href="" target="_blank">SAIP app</a>, which provides valuable real-time security information on your location coupled with any FCO travel advice,” travel consumer campaigner Frank Brehany told <a href="" target="_blank"><i>The Independent</i></a>.</p><p>Authorities are also stepping up their efforts to keep the Christmas market areas safe.</p><p>"As in previous years many security measures are visible, you will see physical barriers and uniformed officers along with our own security personnel, surveillance cameras, and equipment, with other security measures active in the background,” Craig Jenkins, executive chairman at Visit Bath, told <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Somerset Live</i></a>.</p><p>Guests of the market, Jenkins added, are now subject to random stops and bag checks before going into the markets. This, he noted, is in a bid to prevent attackers from concealing weapons or explosives. And, in case of an attack incident, response units are already stationed close to the festivities. </p><p>In what it calls “unprecedented protection,” Berlin authorities have added massive barricades to ensure attendees' safety this year. The barricades come with sand- and stone-filled bags, which are also bolted down. Private guards will also be on hand alongside uniformed and plainclothes police officers.<br /><br />"This year is quite different from the years before," Uwe Timm, CEO of German working group AG City, shared in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This time it was mainly about the question of how to combine the comfort of a visit with security. Despite increased security measures, the accessibility for visitors is guaranteed.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This Glamping Retreat Is the Best Way to Stay at Mount Rushmore — Here's How to Book

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:15
<p>Summer calls for a road trip, and I was excited for a long weekend exploring the great outdoors of South Dakota’s Black Hills, a small mountain range in the state’s scenic western corner — and the home of the <a href="" target="_blank">Mount Rushmore</a> National Memorial.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Some 2.5 million visitors</a> come to Mount Rushmore every year, and many of them stay in the bustling town of Keystone. It offers plenty of hotels and motels (with giant buses parked right out front) and tourist shops hawking Mount Rushmore T-shirts and hand-carved totem poles. I, however, was looking for a property that would provide an experience more in keeping with the area’s wild open spaces.</p><p>I’ve never been one for roughing it, so I was excited to learn that Under Canvas — a company that operates high-end “glamping” tents at popular National Parks including Moab, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains — had just opened its <a href="" target="_blank">Mount Rushmore location</a>. I could enjoy starry nights, pine-scented air and around the campfire, but still have the luxury of a plush bed, high thread-count sheets, and a hot shower.</p><img alt="Living Space, Under Canvas Mount Rushmore "src=""><p>Inspired by luxurious African safari camps, the Under Canvas founders, Sarah and Jacob Dusek, believe that experiencing the outdoors <a href="" target="_blank">doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the creature comforts</a>. At Under Canvas Mount Rushmore, all of the solar-powered tents come with Wi-Fi in addition to wood-burning stoves, daily housekeeping, and en-suite bathrooms. The décor is Scandinavian-inspired, with high backed wood chairs on the private deck overlooking the dark, dense national forest, and natural leather butterfly chairs to enjoy the wood-burning stove on chillier nights inside.</p><img alt="Bedroom, Under Canvas, Mount Rushmore "src=""><p>In the main tent, which houses the restaurant, Embers, the staff offered everything from hot cocoa to a full breakfast menu, picnic lunches as well as smoked, grilled and roasted entrees for dinner. Guests could participate in sunset yoga, if they wished, on the adjoining deck. One night, while enjoying Mount Rushmore’s evening lighting ceremony from the property’s main tent, we sampled the house-smoked chicken and grilled vegetables, followed by s’mores on the open fire. We took in the massive sculpture of the four presidents from the Under Canvas grounds and closer up, after a short 10-minute drive along the twisty and scenic Iron Mountain Road.</p><img alt="Tent, Exterior, Mount Rushmore, Under Canvas "src=""><p>Under Canvas is also environmentally conscious. All of their camps use low-flow toilets, faucets that automatically turn off and, showers that run only when guests pull a chain. (This keeps the water flowing but the shower itself quick.) Solar power is used as much as possible in the 80-tent property. And, to minimize waste, Under Canvas uses no plastics and recycles and repurposes wherever possible. Their plan: by 2020, to produce zero waste.</p><img alt="Under Canvas Mount Rushmore "src=""><p>The Under Canvas staff is enthusiastic, and wonderful brand ambassadors. After I had asked Alex, the assistant manager and a nature-loving Chicago native, a couple of questions, he invited me to hop into a golf cart to give me a tour, including his favorite tents and vistas along with plans for development next year. This is his fifth Under Canvas; he helped open this property at the start of the summer, after working at those in Moab, Zion, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks.</p><p>The final verdict? For those looking for a unique way to see one of America’s most famous attractions, Under Canvas Mount Rushmore is a game-changer. It has a remarkable, ends-of-the-earth setting in the lush Black Hills, and all the conveniences you could imagine.</p><p>Rates start at $199. <a href="" target="_blank">Under Canvas Mount Rushmore</a> will open in 2019 from May 9 to September 29.</p>
Categories: Travel

A 'Christmas Comet' Will Light Up the Sky This Weekend — and It Won't Shine This Bright Again for 20 Years (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:46
<p>A "Christmas Comet" is coming. The night sky might seem like a static, never-changing place, but on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 a 1.2-kilometer-wide <a href="" target="_blank">comet will pass just 12 million kilometers from Earth</a>. That's about 30 times the distance between Earth and the moon, and about as close as comets ever get, but nowhere close enough to be dangerous. However, it is in the sweet spot to make it appear to be brighter than most comets.</p><p>Recently <a href="" target="_blank">featured on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day</a>, Comet 46P/Wirtanen is already the brightest comet in the night sky and is predicted to be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye during the holiday season. Comets rarely get bright enough to see without telescopes, so this is a rare chance to cross comets off your celestial bucket list.</p><h2>What is the Christmas Comet?</h2><p>Known to astronomers as 46P/Wirtanen, it's what's called a short-period comet because it enters the solar system to orbit the sun every five and a half years. Compare that to Halley's Comet, which only appears in the solar system every 88 years. First discovered in 1948 by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen at the <a href="">Lick Observatory</a> on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, 46P/Wirtanen is about to make its brightest, closest approach for the next 20 years.</p><h2>When to see the Christmas Comet</h2><p>Although it's been visible to those with telescopes and powerful binoculars for a few weeks, 46P/Wirtanen will be both at its brightest, and most easily found, on and around Dec. 16, 2018. That's because on that date 46P/Wirtanen reaches what astronomers call perihelion, when it’s nearest to the sun, so it has the maximum amount of sunlight reflecting from it. It may reach a visual magnitude +4 or maybe even +3, which means that it will be easily visible to the naked eye.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet in the night sky</h2><p>Although it won't be made any easier by the strong moonlight in mid-December, it should not be too hard to find 46P/Wirtanen if you know where to look, and when. It will change position in the sky significantly each night because it’s so close to Earth. The easiest way is to use planetarium apps like <a href="" target="_blank">Sky Guide</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Star Walk 2</a>, which contain the exact position of comets, including 46P/Wirtanen. However, it will also help if you know roughly where to look in the night sky.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet with the naked eye</h2><p>The key to finding 46P/Wirtanen on the night of Dec. 16 from the northern hemisphere is to locate the constellation of Orion in the southeastern sky. Find the three famous stars of Orion's Belt, and follow a line from the lowest to the highest star, and on to an unmistakably bright red star, Aldebaran in Taurus. Go the same distance again and you'll see the Pleiades star cluster (also called the Seven Sisters), which is so bright you will probably have already noticed it as a bright smudge in the corner of your eye. 46P/Wirtanen will be just below the Pleiades, slightly to the left.</p><h2>How to find the Christmas Comet on Christmas Night</h2><p>If you want to find 46P/Wirtanen on Christmas Night, perhaps with a new telescope, it will be higher in the sky very close to the bright star Capella in Auriga. The easiest way is to look on Dec. 23, when 46P/Wirtanen will be just below Capella. A couple of days later, it will have moved slightly to the northeast, but if you've already observed it, it should be much easier for you to find it again.</p><h2>How best to observe the Christmas Comet</h2><p>46P/Wirtanen won't be the brightest-ever comet, but with luck, it will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Of course, there's no guarantee. You can maximize its brightness by observing from a dark sky site where there's no light pollution. However, the easiest way of making sure you see it is to use any pair of binoculars. Your peripheral vision is more sensitive to brightness, so when you do find 46P/Wirtanen, try looking just to the side of it. If you want to make sure you get the best possible view of 46P/Wirtanen, find your local astronomy club using <a href="" target="_blank">Sky &amp; Telescope's Astronomy Clubs Near Me tool</a>. Amateur astronomers are sure to be out with their telescopes looking for this special Christmas Comet.</p><h2>How to live-stream the Christmas Comet</h2><p>The Virtual Telescope Project, a group of remotely accessible robotic telescopes, is hosting a live online observation called <a href="" target="_blank">"Wirtanen, the Christmas 2018 comet"</a> on Dec. 12 and 16.</p>
Categories: Travel

Tourists Are Flocking to This 'Magical' Holiday Wonderland — Even Though It's Just a Plastic Tunnel Outside a Supermarket

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:14
<p>There’s a particular spot in England that you might not think of as a tourist attraction — until you see it during Christmas.</p><p>A plastic tunnel, called the Bude Tunnel, connects a parking lot to an adjacent supermarket in Bude, Cornwall, England. At any other time of year, it’s a fairly innocuous area. However, it’s actually listed as a tourist attraction on <a href="" target="_blank">TripAdvisor</a>.</p><p>In fact, back in September, the tunnel was actually ranked one of the best attractions in the area on the site, with more than 160 comments on it, many of which rated it as “excellent,” according to the <a href=";ns_mchannel=social&amp;ocid=socialflow_twitter&amp;ns_campaign=bbcnews" target="_blank">BBC</a>. It’s since been nicknamed “Britain’s unlikeliest tourist attraction.”</p><p>According to the tunnel’s profile on <a href="" target="_blank">TripAdvisor</a>, it consists of 36 metal arches and is over 70 meters (nearly 230 feet) long. “Nowhere else in Bude can you walk this far undercover in a continuous straight line,” it says on the profile.</p><p>Sounds...<em>great?</em></p><p>Even though it’s a popular spot during most of the year, it’s especially “magical,” according to reviews on TripAdvisor, in December. And looking at the photos, it’s easy to see why.</p><p>People have been flocking to the tunnel to ring in the holiday season. The tunnel itself is outfitted with thousands of multicolored Christmas lights, making it a truly Instagram-worthy destination.</p><p>Still, there are a few doubters who are puzzled by the tunnel’s popularity, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Cornwall Live</a>. Many other reviewers don’t seem to understand the tunnel’s hilarious and ironic draw. One reviewer said, “Folks I'm not even sure why this has been created as a place! It's a Perspex tunnel at the side of a supermarket - we did use it as the Sainsbury's car park is free for 90 mins so it came in handy but I wouldn't go out of your way to visit and I certainly don't think it's of any architectural importance,” according to Cornwall Live.</p><p>The official lighting of the tunnel took place on Dec. 7, and the lights will continue to be up through Dec. 13, according to the <a href=";ns_source=twitter&amp;ns_campaign=bbc_spotlight&amp;ns_linkname=english_regions&amp;ns_fee=0&amp;pinned_post_locator=urn%3Aasset%3A0542d054-edfc-ef4e-93dc-f7476a28eca1&amp;pinned_post_asset_id=46466456&amp;pinned_post_type=share" target="_blank">BBC</a>. Hopefully the massive influx of visitors will convince the tunnel owners to keep the lights up for a few more weeks. Maybe even a gift shop is in order.</p>
Categories: Travel

All WOW Air Flights Are 50% Off Right Now — So You Can Fly to Europe for $150 Round-Trip (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 09:00
<p>Already known for its low flight prices, budget carrier <a href="" target="_blank">WOW Air</a> is now offering travelers half off round-trip airfare on all its routes.</p><p>The airline is offering 50 percent off round-trip tickets <a href="" target="_blank">booked</a> between Dec. 12 and 16 for travel between Dec. 12 and March 31, 2019, giving travelers the chance to explore popular European destinations like Alicante, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Gran Canaria, London, Lyon, Paris, Reykjavik, Tenerife, and Warsaw.</p><p>To receive the discount, travelers simply need to use the promo code <strong>WOWXMAS</strong> when making a booking. Tax and service fees (which start at around $80) and the fuel surcharge (which starts at around $20) are not included in the discount and are added to the final price of flights. </p><p>While WOW Air is known to offer a <a href="" target="_blank">free stopover program</a> that gives passengers the ability to stop and explore Iceland for an extended layover on return flights between North America and Europe, passengers who want to take advantage of the promotion code will need to forego this perk when booking their flight.</p><p>Prices are subject to change, but some of WOW Air's lowest rates currently include $150 round-trip flights from the U.S. to Europe. Passengers will want to note that WOW Air is a budget carrier and does charge additional fees for amenities such as checked baggage and seat selection, which will add to the overall price of a flight. </p><p>“We are thankful for our WOW passengers and are happy to offer the gift of travel this holiday season for a low price,” WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen said in a statement. "At WOW Air, we are committed to making travel more affordable and accessible to all, knowing that the memories made are gifts that keep giving throughout the year.”</p>
Categories: Travel

A German Street Was Accidentally Paved in One Ton of Chocolate

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:56
<p>The Candy Man isn’t the only one who can cover things in chocolate (and a miracle or two). Turns out, this chocolate factory in Germany found itself accidentally making its own chocolate river.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the Associated Press</a>, a storage tank from the DreiMeister chocolate factory in Westöennen, Germany accidentally spilled about one ton, or <a href="" target="_blank">108 square feet</a>, of chocolate on the road on Dec. 10, which then almost immediately froze and solidified.</p><p>Company boss Markus Luckey told the German news outlet Anzeiger that the spill was caused by a “small technical defect,” which would have been a “catastrophe” if it was just a little closer to Christmas, the Associated Press reported.</p><p>“Despite this heartbreaking incident, it is unlikely that a chocolate-free Christmas is imminent in Werl,” said the local fire department in a statement, according to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Insider</a></em>.</p><p>Fortunately, Luckey said in his statement that the company would be up and running again as soon as Wednesday. There’s no use crying over spilled chocolate, after all.</p><p>25 firefighters were tasked with prying the frozen chocolate off the road using warm water and shovels. We think it would have been easier to ask locals to just chip off as much milky chocolate goodness as they wanted (as long as they didn’t mind concrete in their sweets), but that’s just us.</p><p>Thankfully the incident didn’t happen in summer, or else the firefighters would have had a real chocolate river to grapple with. A similar chocolate disaster happened back in May in Poland, when a <a href="" target="_blank">tanker truck spilled about 12 tons of liquid chocolate</a> onto a highway.</p><p>At the time, senior brigadier Bogdan Kowalski of Slupca, a town in western Poland, told the <a href="" target="_blank">Associated Press</a> that “cooling chocolate is worse than snow.” Well, that depends on how you look at the situation, right?</p><p>Honestly, we’re just sad Willy Wonka didn’t show up.</p>
Categories: Travel

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Set to Attempt Space Flight As Soon As Tomorrow

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:49
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson</a>’s Virgin Galactic is set to launch its SpaceShipTwo test flight as early as Dec. 13, bringing the company’s spacecraft all the way to space – depending on what your definition of space is.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a></em>, the company will be firing its rocket motor to an expected altitude of 50 miles, a measurement that the company is considering as the “edge of space.”</p><p>But not everyone is in agreement as to where the “edge of space” actually begins. According to <a href="" target="_blank">Geekwire</a>, the traditionally agreed-upon boundary between space and the Earth’s atmosphere, also known as the Karman Line, is set at 100 kilometers (or 62 miles), which leaves the anticipated flight just short of its goal.</p><p>However, the debate on where the line is has been brewing recently due to new research by astronomer and satellite expert Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Geekwire reported. According to McDowell, the line could be as low as 80 kilometers (or 50 miles). Still, finding this line continues to be tricky business. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) <a href=";id=1443" target="_blank">released a statement</a> in November saying it will be considering the new research in the coming year.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Richard Branson's New High-speed Trains Will Let You Visit Disney World and Miami in the Same Vacation</a></p><p>In the meantime, Virgin Galactic will be continuing on its quest for viable commercial spaceflights. The company will be conducting this test of the SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, according to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Space News</a></em>. This will be the fourth powered test flight that the company has conducted for the spacecraft.</p><p>“Overall the goal of this flight is to fly higher and faster than previous flights. We plan to burn the rocket motor for longer than we ever have in flight before, but not to its full duration,” reps for the company said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. “At the end stages of the rocket burn in the thin air of the mesosphere and with the speeds that we expect to achieve, additional altitude is added rapidly. That results in new and important data points, particularly relating to supersonic handling qualities and thermal dynamics, both of which we will be watching closely in the cockpit and on the ground in Mission Control.”</p><p>The company expects the spacecraft’s pilots to experience “an extended period of micro-gravity” as the craft reaches its altitude goal.</p><p>Even though the spacecraft is not flying with passengers yet, more than 600 people have signed up for future trips at a whopping $250,000 per ticket, <em>The Washington Post </em>reported.</p><p>Reps for the company admitted in its statement that there is still a lot of work to be done before actual commercial flights are possible to launch. “Whether we complete all our objectives during the next flight or need to wait a little longer, we remain committed to completing the final stages of this extraordinary flight test program as quickly, but more importantly as safely, as possible.” </p>
Categories: Travel

Do You Know Where Croatia Is? Because Nobody Else Does

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:32
<p>Ever hear the name of a place and wonder, “Where the heck is that?”</p><p>Well, you’re not alone. Destinations like Croatia, for example, have been gaining in popularity as an alternative to crowded vacations in other European nations like Italy or France. But, like many other Americans, you might be lost as to where to actually find it on a map.</p><p><a href="">Google's 2018 Year in Search</a> reveals Croatia is one of the most puzzling places people are looking for when starting searches with the term “where is.” The top 10 “where is” searches for 2018 are:</p>Where is Villanova University<em><strong>Where is Croatia</strong></em>Where is Parkland FloridaWhere is Hurricane FlorenceWhere is Hurricane MichaelWhere is my polling placeWhere is PyeongchangWhere is Amazon basedWhere is Paradise CaliforniaWhere is Prince from<p>There it is. Number two on the list. Clearly, Croatia is hot and a total mystery to find. For those who are not familiar with the country, the simple answer is that Croatia is in Europe. But the more detailed answer is that it’s bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. And, if you look on a map, it’s just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Basically, if you look on the “heel” and “calf” part of the Italy’s boot, you’ll see Croatia on the other side of the of water.</p><p>Mystery solved. But now that we’ve found it, this might be the perfect time to plan a trip to actually go there. If you’re in the U.S., you sadly won’t find any direct flights until June 2019 when American Airlines starts <a href="" target="_blank">direct service between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik</a>. However, you can fly to another European city before catching a connecting flight to Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split or Pula, Croatia. You can also take a ferry from various ports in Italy.</p><p>The tourist season, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Croatia Traveller</a>, is between April and October, thanks to nice weather and beautiful scenic views. The summer season is most popular since Croatia is known for having spectacular beaches. The Dalmatian Coast, a narrow stretch between Zadar to the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, is a big draw.</p><p>But there are also many other <a href="" target="_blank">things to do</a> in the country made even more famous by <em><a href="" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a></em>. Dubrovnik and Zagreb, in particular, have incredible, historic architecture, including fantastic <a href="" target="_blank">churches, cathedrals</a> and museums, and delicious restaurants. Or, if you’re in Split, be sure to visit Diocletian's Palace, an ancient Roman ruin from the fourth century A.D. Nature lovers should also visit <a href="" target="_blank">Plitvice Lakes National Park</a> to snap plenty of photos of the area’s gorgeous waterfalls.</p><p>Tourists can also choose from a variety of accommodations that cater to every budget, from social youth hostels to luxury beach resorts overlooking the sea.</p><p>Once you take your trip, you won’t just impress your friends with all your amazing vacation pictures, but also your newly discovered geographical knowledge.</p>
Categories: Travel

Oprah Might Be Getting an Airport Named After Her (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:21
<p>You get a flight to Oprah, you get a flight to Oprah and you get a flight to Oprah!</p><p>A Nashville councilwoman has proposed renaming the Nashville International Airport to the Oprah G. Winfrey Nashville International Airport.</p><p>Although Oprah was born in Mississippi, she got her career start in <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville</a>, after graduating from Tennessee State University. In honor of the star’s local roots, Councilwoman Sharon Hurt wrote letters to Nashville Mayor David Briley and the current airport board chairman, Dexter Samuels, to request the name change.</p><p>"I think it's a grand opportunity for us to recognize someone of Oprah's stature," Hurt said in <a href="" target="_blank">an interview with <em>USA Today</em></a>.</p><p>However, it’s not the city council who will make the final decision but rather airport authority. The board has said that to name the airport after Oprah would go against airport policy. The current policy states that in order to change the airport name, the honoree must have made a "substantial contribution" to either the Nashville International Airport or the field of aviation. (The airport board must have forgotten <a href="" target="_blank">that time Oprah appeared on an episode of <em>30 Rock</em></a> and dispensed her wisdom from a plane.) The honoree must also have been deceased for at least two years for the change to be made.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong><b> </b><a href="" target="_blank">The Perfect Three-Day Weekend in Nashville</a></p><p>"Both the president/CEO of the authority and I agree that Ms. Winfrey's achievements and accolades are too numerous to recite," Samuels wrote in a letter, "however, renaming the airport after Ms. Winfrey does not meet the criteria established by the (airport authority)."</p><p>The board does have the ability to overturn the rule but, as of yet, no proposal has been made.</p>
Categories: Travel

Inside Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's Low-key Honeymoon in Oman

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 06:59
<p>You’re probably aware of the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra got married</a> last week. You know, because of their plentiful social media posts, their <em><a href="" target="_blank">People</a></em> cover, and their constant gushing about their love for one another. Though you’ve likely pored over every detail of their stunning wedding, you may not be aware of where the pair honeymooned. Until now.</p><p>On Wednesday, the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em> reported the duo spent a brief few days on a mini-moon in <a href="" target="_blank">Oman</a> before heading back to India for a friend’s wedding and work engagements. But, although their trip was brief, it looked to be nothing short of pure bliss.</p><p>During their stay, the couple documented their every move from their unnamed beachside resort. In her Instagram story, Chopra showed off her sand art skills with a heart drawn in the sand along with their married initials, NJ and PCJ, inside it.</p><p>Next, Chopra shared a photo of the pair as they snuggled up on the beach with the caption, "Marital bliss they say...”</p><p>For his part, Nick shared their extremely family-friendly nighttime activities. That included a screening of "Elf."</p><p>"Her first time watching Elf. @priyankachopra," Jonas captioned the short clip.</p><p>Chopra even left a comment on the post reading, "Lol!!!! Husband taking sly videos when I'm so invested in Santa is so husband like.”</p><p>The pair sadly had to cut their honeymoon short, as both had previous work and personal commitments.</p><p>"My work and Nick’s work are very important to us," Chopra said in an interview with <a href="" target="_blank">NDTV</a>. That work included attending Bumble's launch party events in India. "My commitments matter to me a lot," she added. "My word is my bond. And we had decided to do this a long time ago before anyone was getting married and so I stuck to my commitment."</p><p>Something tells us that commitment to commitment will serve her marriage well too.</p>
Categories: Travel

Did Chrissy Teigen Just Tweet Herself Into a Job As Delta’s New In-flight Chef?

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 17:56
<p>Chrissy Teigen is a true multi-hyphenate. The model-mom-author-<a href="" target="_blank">professional traveler</a> can do it all. And now, she may be combining all those skills into one mega-role with Delta Airlines.</p><p>On Monday, Teigen sent out a tweet reading, “I will never ever take flying first class for granted but this is atrocious.” With it, Teigen shared a photo of her in-flight menu that included avocado toast. But, that toast came with shrimp, tomatoes and capers all served on sourdough bread. And, as anyone with taste buds can tell you, those things simply do not belong together.</p><p>Teigen followed that tweet by clarifying, “plane shrimp are bad. Plane shrimp on avocado toast with capers??? dear god.” And, “this seems like a good time for me to share my dream of curating an airline menu.”</p><p>And really, she may be the perfect woman for the job. As a bestselling cookbook author and frequent flyer, Teigen would know best. Thankfully, Delta took notice. The airline quickly tweeted back at Teigen, “Would love to show you around our kitchen. Let’s chat,” to which she emphatically replied “OK!”</p><p>Teigen even threw out her first idea to the airline by tweeting, “Let’s do a super gooey biscoff brownie with cinnamon gelato and and and…”</p><p>With food like that, we’d stop packing our own meals. And, with Teigen’s help and Twitter popularity, maybe <a href="" target="_blank">airline food will return to its delicious-looking heyday</a>. At the very least, perhaps this will turn <a href="" target="_blank">airline food from a potential health hazard </a>to a mildly enjoyable experience.</p>
Categories: Travel

Enjoy 33% off Stays at The Hamilton Princess

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 14:01
<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"></a></em></p><p>Bermuda: 33 percent off <a href="" target="_blank">The Hamilton Princess</a>, the island’s iconic “Pink Palace,” home to a full-service marina, world-class art museum, and private beach club. </p><p>Endless Summer includes:</p>Third or sixth night free in any room category<p>Original price: From $717 (or $239 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $478 (or $158 per night); book by December 27, 2018.</p><p>Booking details: Book <a href="" target="_blank">online</a>.</p><p>Availability: Subject to availability.</p>
Categories: Travel

Jimmy Buffett’s New Margaritaville Orlando Resort Will Open in January (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:30
<p>Searching for your lost shaker of salt? You might find it again in Orlando this winter.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Coastal Living</a></em>, Jimmy Buffett fans will have a brand new destination to go to on vacation in January 2019. Margaritaville Resort Orlando, a 300-acre resort that’s like an all-inclusive, one-stop destination to “waste away” in.</p><p>The resort will consist of four sections, Margaritaville Hotel (with rooms starting from $199 per night), Margaritaville Cottages (which you can rent or own, if you’re a true fan), the Sunset Walk shopping, dining and entertainment district and a huge, 14-acre water park.</p><p>The water park itself, Island H20 Live!, is a reason to visit all on its own. According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">People</a></em>, the park is featured as Florida’s “most immersive water park,” in a resort press release. Park visitors will be able to waft on a lazy river, toss themselves around in a wave pool and enjoy nine different thrill rides, as well as take their families along to play in the kid’s area and embark on a raft adventure. Or, if you’re more into relaxation, there are plenty of cabanas and hammocks to chill in the summer sun.</p><p>“Margaritaville Resort Orlando will be the first resort destination in this area where guests and owners can equally enjoy a personalized, premium experience and a robust offering of amenities, all within easy walking distance from their guest room or cottage home,” said Alyssa Bushey, head of marketing for the resort, in a news release, according to <em>Coastal Living</em>.</p><p>Bushey also mentioned that guests can enjoy more than 35 restaurants, shops, spas, and entertainment spots, including lagoon-style pools and a dine-in movie theater. The water park is planned to open in the Spring of 2019.</p><p>And it’s not just adults who will be able to enjoy paradise. The resort will also have teen and kids clubs for younger Buffett fans as well.</p><p>More information on booking a room or planning a visit can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Margaritaville Orlando Resort website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Clear’s Technology Will Now Let You Rent a Car From the Airport in Seconds (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:17
<p>Biometrics is coming to a major rental car company for the first time, as <a href="" target="_blank">Hertz</a> is tapping into Clear to speed up the car rental process for customers through the use of biometric identification.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Clear</a> is a company that enables travelers to speed through airport security screenings and identification processes by using biometrics that include finger, face, and eye scans as forms of identification. By partnering with Clear, Hertz will begin offering its <a href="" target="_blank">Gold Plus Rewards members</a> the opportunity to use a dedicated Hertz Fast lane powered with Clear’s technology to get through the exit gate when renting a car.</p><p>Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members already have the ability to skip the counter registration process and go straight into the parking lot to select the car of their choice, with keys left inside the vehicle to head straight to the exit. Once at the exit, though, members are met by a gate agent to identify themselves and complete the rental agreement. </p><p>Through the use of the Hertz Fast Lane powered by Clear, car renters will head to a dedicated lane where a Clear kiosk will identify the renter either by a facial scan or via fingerprint to make the entire process less than 30 seconds. </p><p>The new feature will speed up the current process by 75 percent, with the first Hertz Fast Lane powered by Clear now available at the <a href="" target="_blank">Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport</a> (ATL). By 2019, the feature will be available across over 40 Hertz locations that will include those within busy U.S. airports like the <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles International Airport</a> (LAX), the <a href="" target="_blank">John F. Kennedy International Airport</a> (JFK), and the <a href="" target="_blank">San Francisco International Airport</a> (SFO).</p><img alt="Simply scan your face or your fingerprint to rent your car. "src=""><img alt="The reservation process can be completed in under 30 seconds. "src=""><p>Hertz decided to begin offering the new feature after conducting a series of studies over the last two years in both the U.S. and Europe and discovering that the speed of the car rental process was consumers' biggest concern. </p><p>Meanwhile, the new offering is just one of the ways Clear is continuing to make identification a smoother and quicker process for travelers by enabling the use of biometrics in airports and stadiums in addition to moving towards creating everything from <a href="" target="_blank">biometric bag drops</a> to boarding pass options. </p><p>Those interested in using the new lane will need to be both a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member and a Clear member, though there's no fee to sign up to become a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member.</p><p>Hertz's members will be able to use the feature as part of a Clear membership at no additional cost, though those interested in using Clear's airport security access can also choose from discounted rates with Hertz based on their loyalty status. </p><p>While a Clear membership with airport security access starts at $179 a year, <a href="" target="_blank">Basic Gold members</a> will get a one-month free trial while Five Star members will get a two-month free trial and President Circle members will get a free four-month free trial.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Learn to Fly an Airplane at Denver's New Aviation Museum

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:01
<p>A new aviation attraction in Colorado is making it possible to follow through on unfulfilled wishes of becoming a pilot.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight</a> opened at the former Lowry Air Force Base over the summer. And its mission is not only to teach visitors about the history of aviation but to train and excite the next generation of airplane and rocket ship pilots.</p><p>The Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery is located on Denver’s Centennial Airport campus and sprawls across more than 19,000 square feet. Inside, visitors can see iconic ships from aviation history, including a 1942 Douglas DC-3, Cessna 172 Skyhawk and a Boeing Stearman Bi-Plane from 1936.</p><p>But perhaps the most alluring feature of the museum is the fact that visitors can get into the cockpit of a plane themselves. <em>Sort of</em>. The museum is home to several FAA-certified flight simulators that make visitors seem like they’re piloting aircraft like a Cessna 172 or 182.</p><p>To really excite the next generation of pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers, you have to get kids into the cockpit early and help them find something that feels right to them," Ben Theune, the organization's director of marketing, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Travel Weekly</em></a>.</p><p>According to several university and industry estimates, the U.S. aviation industry is facing a major pilot and technician shortage that could seriously affect commercial airlines by 2020.</p><p>Overall, the campus will attempt to encourage the next generation of pilots with a charter school, training programs and future expansion to Wings Over the Rockies.</p><p>But you don’t need to be considering a future in aviation to visit. Just liking planes is enough to get you through the door and into the cockpit.</p>
Categories: Travel

Fyre Festival Was a Catastrophic Disaster — and Netflix Is Releasing a Documentary About It Next Month

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:30
<p>Get ready, because the biggest train wreck in music entertainment history is about to hit your streaming device.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Fyre Festival</a>, an ill-fated, heavily hyped and ultimately disastrous luxury music festival that (sort of) went down in April 2017, was meant to be the greatest, most exclusive music event ever. In reality, it ended up looking like a scene out of post-apocalyptic movie.</p><p>Now there’s going to be a documentary about it.</p><p>Back in 2017, attendees essentially paid thousands of dollars to sit in what looked like a natural disaster area eating pre-packaged sandwiches rather than enjoying luxe accommodations and gourmet food they were promised by scores of social media influencers and celebrities. No music, no entertainment, no big acts that said they were going to be in attendance.</p><p>In the end, the organizers of Fyre Festival — namely Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland — are subject to eight different lawsuits and over $100 million in damages, including one count of wire fraud. According to the <em><a href="">AV Club</a></em>, McFarland has been sentenced to 6 years in prison.</p><p>Now, Vice Studios, in conjunction with Netflix, is releasing "FYRE," a documentary about the music catastrophe on Jan. 18, 2019, and the trailer looks incredible.</p><p>Just watch the video and you’ll see why this may be the ultimate documentary subject matter. The film was also made by Chris Smith, the documentarian behind “Jim &amp; Andy: The Great Beyond,”<i> </i><a href="" target="_blank"><em>AV Club</em> reported</a>.</p><p>In addition to the documentary, Fyre Festival has also inspired a few other projects, some that will undoubtedly mock the event. According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">AV Club</a></em>, Hulu will also be premiering a full-on docuseries about the festival, while Seth Rogen and the Lonely Island have been rumored to be collaborating on a feature film.</p><p>But until January, all we have is this trailer to enjoy the madness.</p>
Categories: Travel