Mexico's New President Is Selling the Presidential Plane and Will Fly Coach Instead

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:38
<p>The president of Mexico is selling his equivalent of <a href="" target="_blank">Air Force One</a>.</p><p>In a move to rid the federal government of corruption, newly-elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a rally that he would be “selling all the planes and helicopters that the corrupt politicians used,” <a href="" target="_blank">according to Reuters</a>.</p><p>The Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew to California on Monday, where it will begin the process of being sold. It is worth an estimated $218 million but it is yet unclear when the aircraft will be available for purchase.</p><p>In addition to the former presidential jet, the Mexican government will also sell 60 government planes and 70 government helicopters, the nation’s finance minister <a href="" target="_blank">said at a press conference</a>. Obrador has said that he will fly coach in commercial planes to save money.</p><p>The former presidential jet — no, it’s not called Air Force Uno — comes equipped with several luxurious meeting rooms, a presidential bedroom (complete with marble-lined bathroom), several flat-screen TVs and security equipment. The jet was ordered in 2012 under President Felipe Calderón for $368 million, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Associated Press</a>. It was delivered in 2016 to President Enrique Pena Nieto.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Mexico</a></p><p>Aviation analysts have deemed that the sale of the aircraft will pose a financial loss to the country. <a href="" target="_blank">It’s estimated that the aircraft could be purchased</a> for $81.6 million by a commercial airline or $142.4 million by a private buyer.</p><p>The estimated losses do not take into account the cost of operating private flights for the president — nor the amount of security that will be necessary for him to fly commercial.</p>
Categories: Travel

Marriott Will Pay for New Passports for Victims of Massive Data Breach

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:12
<p>Last week, <a href="" target="_blank">Marriott revealed that a massive data breach</a> may have affected up to 500 million people who made hotel reservations through Starwood’s online database. It is believed to have been one of the largest customer database breaches in history.</p><p>On Monday, <a href="" target="_blank">Marriott told <em>MarketWatch</em></a><i> </i>that the company will pay for a new passport for any customer who believes their identity was compromised by the breach through a process set up by the company.</p><p>“As it relates to passports and potential fraud, we are setting up a process to work with our guests who believe that they have experienced fraud as a result of their passports being involved in this incident. If, through that process, we determine that fraud has taken place, then the company will reimburse guests for the costs associated with getting a new passport,” a spokesperson told the website.</p><p>Marriott estimates that up to 327 million guests may have had their passport number compromised. If so, this will be a costly fix as a new U.S. passport costs $110.</p><p>The data breach could affect anyone who booked a Starwood hotel — including W Hotels, St. Regis and Westin Hotels — anywhere from 2014 to Sept. 10, 2018.</p><p>Information compromised in the breach could include name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences. Some credit card information may also have been exposed in the breach.</p><p>Those worried about the security of their personal information can <a href="" target="_blank">enroll in a free identity theft monitoring program</a> through Marriott. Customers can also contact a call center (phone numbers are <a href="" target="_blank">available here</a>) for more information.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Airline Will Fly Kids for Free So You Can Take a Family Vacation to Scandinavia

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Scandinavian Airlines</a> is back with its <a href="" target="_blank">kids fly free promotion</a>, offering families looking to explore the Scandinavian countries of <a href="" target="_blank">Sweden</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Norway</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Denmark</a> the chance to do so at a major discount.</p><p>The airline is offering free base airfare for round-trip flights to children traveling to any of the airline's destinations in Scandinavia and Finland with their adult companions between Jan. 8 and April 2, 2019.</p><p>Passengers only need to pay the cost of government taxes and carrier-imposed fees for the child’s ticket, meaning children can fly from the U.S. to the European stops for as little as roughly $60 round-trip.</p><p>The deal is available from all seven of Scandinavian Airlines’ U.S. markets, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.</p><p>The deal is applicable for infants up to 23 months old and children from the ages of two to 11 years old. While children 12 or over will not qualify for the promotion, the airline does also offer <a href="" target="_blank">youth rates</a> to travelers under the age of 26.</p><p>Flights must be booked directly through the airline’s website by Dec. 10. </p>
Categories: Travel

Forget Safety, This Is the Money-saving Reason You Should Fly With Your Phone in Airplane Mode

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 09:34
<p>We’ve all casually rolled our eyes when the pre-flight announcement told us to put our electronic devices in airplane mode (or shut them off completely).</p><p>We’ve all thought, “Really? These little boxes of metal and glass can’t possibly interfere with the plane’s equipment, right?” Well, even though that idea might be <a href="" target="_blank">up for debate</a>, there’s another reason why you might want to heed those pre-flight warnings – just in case the risk to your personal safety wasn’t quite enough.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Irish Times</a></em>, one traveler ended up having to pay a $300 cell phone bill for roaming charges accrued during his Aer Lingus flight from Ireland to the U.S. What could have prevented these massive fees? You guessed it. Turning his phone to airplane mode.</p><p>The man, who remained anonymous in the <em>Irish Times</em>, had a contract with AT&amp;T, which said that his extra charges were from antennas installed on the plane that are not included in the company’s unlimited roaming plan. So, it’s unlimited as long as you’re on the ground it seems.</p><p>A spokesperson for Aer Lingus told the Irish Times that it always warns passengers to turn their phones to airplane mode for “safety reasons.” Any fees racked up by those who don’t follow the rules do not go to the airline.</p><p>If you do end up on an Aer Lingus flight and decide it’s not worth the risk being charged hundreds of dollars for roaming fees, the airline also offers <a href="" target="_blank">on-board wifi</a> at several different speeds starting at €6.95 ($7.95 USD) for the flight. Many other airlines also provide wifi service, sometimes even for free.</p><p>But hey, they technically can’t make you turn your phone to airplane mode if it’s not obvious that it isn’t. Just be forewarned, the consequences could be dire, er, expensive, if you don’t.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest's New Terminal at LAX Is Like a Mini Trip to LA in Itself

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 08:07
<p>What does more than half a billion dollars get you at <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles International Airport</a>?</p><p>From a first look at the new and improved 13-gate <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines Terminal 1</a>, quite a lot.</p><p>Southwest invested $516.7 million to make over what a newsstand clerk described as “a boring, bland totally nothing of a terminal” dating back to the early 1980s.</p><p>The new terminal is a light- and art-filled space with a fresh check-in/ticketing lobby, nine-lane security checkpoint, and more than 20 new dining and retail outlets, many of them unique and well-loved local brands.</p><img alt="Trejo's Tacos at LAX "src=""><p>The terminal’s dozen dining options now include Beaming Organic Superfood Café, Rock &amp; Brews (a dining chain founded by KISS band members), the Urth Caffé (an organic café from Manhattan Beach), and LA’s iconic Cassell’s Hamburgers. T1 now also features the first airport branch of Trejo’s Tacos, a local taqueria from actor <a href="" target="_blank">Danny Trejo</a>, who joined LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, and others at a recent ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the curb-to-gate terminal makeover.</p><img alt="Ribbon-cutting ceremony at LAX's new Southwest terminal "src=""><p>“Working together with Southwest Airlines and our partners, what we have created is more than a terminal that connects passengers to flights — it’s a destination in its own right,” Garcetti said.</p><p>“It is truly a transformation,” Kelly added, noting that the carrier offers 133 departures a day to 32 cities out of Terminal 1’s 13 gates. “If there’s a better facility in the United States, I wouldn’t believe it.”</p><p>Shopping and pampering options range from MAC Cosmetics, Be Relax spa, and SOL Surf to I Love LA, Treat Me Sweet candy, and a fun newsstand called, appropriately enough, New Stand, that offers travel essentials and a charming assortment of California-themed souvenirs. Marvin’s Complimentary Shoeshine (pay what you wish; tips encouraged) has a stand here as well.</p><img alt="Photo friendly art installation at the new Southwest terminal at LAX "src=""><p>As passengers enter the terminal after security, they’re met with both permanent and rotating art installations, including a selfie-friendly, sunset-inspired work by Pilar Castillo commissioned by Southwest to celebrate the new terminal. Nearby is the first airport branch of<a href="" target="_blank"> LA Original</a>, a store selling LA-branded products designed, assembled, or manufactured locally, with proceeds going to programs that help women transitioning out of homelessness.</p><p>What’s next? Construction on Terminal 1.5 is underway to create a connecting structure between Terminals 1 and 2 that will give Southwest passengers access to the LAX automated people mover expected to be operational in 2023.</p>
Categories: Travel

Alaska State Troopers Ask People to Stop Taking Selfies on Road Destroyed by Earthquake

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 07:29
<p>If you’re traveling in Alaska any time soon, put away the Instagram.</p><p>After the <a href="" target="_blank">massive earthquake that hit Anchorage</a> last week, authorities in Alaska are asking travelers and locals to stay away from a shockwave-mangled highway that has become a popular spot to snap a selfie, according to <a href="" target="_blank">the Associated P</a><a href="" target="_blank">ress</a>.</p><p>Alaska State Troopers have set up barricades and signs on Vine Road near Wasilla, north of Anchorage, which sustained extreme damage during the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake left the road in giant, broken pieces strewn across the area with massive holes containing asphalt sticking out of them. Alaska State Trooper spokesman Jonathon Taylor told the AP that the road looks like “shards of glass...from above, which makes a very fascinating visual. But it is also unsafe to be there.”</p><p>Taylor also mentioned that people have been dangerously seen trying to climb on the large cracks in the road in order to take photographs. Besides risking bodily harm or a nasty fall, Taylor warns that aftershocks can still be felt in the region, leading to further potential risk to people in the area — especially if they’re on unstable ground like the damaged road.</p><p>According to the AP, more than 2,100 aftershocks have occurred since the earthquake, with one shock measuring up to 5.7 in magnitude.</p><p>The gaping holes and shattered asphalt on Vine Road were actually due to the ground liquefying and buckling during the initial earthquake, the AP reported. Repairs are currently underway, according to <a href="" target="_blank">KTUU</a>.</p><p>“While it’s tempting to take selfies and explore, doing so is unsafe and inhibits the ability of officials to address the situation,” Alaska State Troopers said in a dispatch report, KTUU reported. “Construction work has begun, and heavy equipment is being brought into the area to facilitate repairs.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Is Having a Massive Winter Sale With Flights As Low As $49 (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 06:38
<p>Pack your bags and leave the winter coat at home.</p><p>Just in time for the winter freeze to arrive, <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines</a> is running a huge flash sale this week with super inexpensive flights as low as $49 for this winter and into spring.</p><p>This special sale won’t last long, only until Thursday, Dec. 13, at 11:59 p.m. But with travel dates available from Dec. 18 to May 22, 2019, you can start thinking about that <a href="" target="_blank">post-holiday getaway</a> to get over your winter blues. Some blackout dates around Christmas and New Years do apply.</p><p>Some of the best fares we found include:</p><p>Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale for $84 and Orlando for $85.</p><p>Los Angeles to both Las Vegas and San Francisco for only $61.</p><p>Denver to San Francisco and San Jose for $89.</p><p>Sacramento to San Diego for $49.</p><p>Orlando to New Orleans for $91.</p><p>Milwaukee to Nashville for $62.</p><p>Minneapolis/St. Paul to Denver for $97.</p><p>Fort Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands for $71.</p><p>Boston to Baltimore for $70.</p><p>New York, La Guardia and Newark to Chicago, Midway for $91.</p><p>Providence to Washington, D.C. for $62.</p><p>Salt Lake City to Las Vegas for $61.</p><p>Washington Dulles to Fort Lauderdale for $92.</p><p>All airfares listed are for one-way, nonstop service only. However, it’s likely to get a comparable price on your flight back home. Fridays and Sundays are generally not available, so it’s also important to be flexible with your dates (and make sure you have some <a href="" target="_blank">vacation days lined up</a>).</p><p>You can check airfares from your departure city of choice and book flights on the <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Airlines sale page</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Olympian Shaun White's Gross Experience Is a Reminder to Never Take Your Shoes Off on a Plane

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 17:45
<p>There is one cardinal rule you must never break on an airplane, and it involves your feet.</p><p>Going barefoot on a plane is generally considered a social faux pas (or just plain gross) by most people’s standards, but you still come across fellow passengers who didn’t seem to get the memo. Even if you’re a celebrity, even if you’re a famous athlete, even if you’re, for example, Shaun White.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Daily Star</a></em>, the three-time Olympic gold medalist was traveling from Japan — <i>Travel and Leisure’s </i><a href="" target="_blank">2018 Destination of the Year</a> — back to the U.S. when he encountered a barefooted passenger, much to his dismay.</p><p>In a video White posted on Instagram, he shows the person’s feet, poised on White’s seat back, naked and bare for all the world to see. White shakes his head, disapprovingly.</p><p>While many of us can agree that not only taking off your shoes and possibly socks on a plane is egregious enough, resting them on someone’s seatback seems extra deplorable. We feel you, Shaun.</p><p>But, on the other hand, we should take comfort in the fact that the feet look impressively clean. Perhaps even pedicured. And, it’s pretty impressive that the passenger was able to rest their feet so high on the seat at all, considering how cramped airplanes are these days – but <a href="" target="_blank">that’s first class</a>, for you.</p><p>Many people who aren’t celebrities or athletes also <a href="" target="_blank">encounter fellow barefooted passengers like this one</a>, often in coach class where the chance for escape is much narrower. If anything, White should count his lucky stars that first class seats have a little more separation.</p><p>But taking off your shoes is much more of an issue than just politeness. Keeping your shoes on is also a health issue and <a href="" target="_blank">flight attendants recommend keeping them</a> on since plane floors can be filled with germs or other mess.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in 2019 — and When to Plan Your Trip

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 17:23
<p>Spring is always the best time to see flowers and trees blossom, but there are few sights that compare with seeing cherry blossom trees in full bloom.</p><p>In 2018, the cherry blossom trees in Japan surprised many spectators by blooming a <a href="" target="_blank">full six months early</a> – in October instead of April, as usual. Yoshino cherry trees typically develop buds in the summer but don’t actually bloom until spring, their extremely fragile flowers only showing themselves when the conditions are just right. But last fall, meteorologists theorize that the <a href="" target="_blank">irregular weather</a>, including unseasonably warm temperatures, storms, and damage caused by typhoons, caused the early bloom.</p><img alt="Cherry Blossoms in Central Park, New York City "src=""><h2>When will cherry blossoms bloom in 2019?</h2><p>A premature cherry blossom bloom at the end of 2018 doesn’t mean cherry blossom season is over. Far from it. While it may be a little early to predict exactly when the next bloom will happen in the spring of 2019, <a href="" target="_blank">flowering in Japan typically begins in March and April</a>, usually starting in the southern part of the country and working north. Flowers generally don’t reach full bloom for about a week.</p><img alt="Cherry Blooms at Chureito Pagoda and Mt. Fuji in Japan "src=""><h2>How to see the cherry blossom bloom in Japan</h2><p>If you do want to check out the gorgeous trees in Japan, Kyoto and Tokyo are generally the most popular destinations for flower-watchers, usually in April. Visitors to Osaka, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka may be able to view them even earlier, while tourists to the northernmost part of the county, like Sapporo, can see them as late as early May. If you are worried about traveling to Japan and still missing out, you can also opt to take a <a href="" target="_blank">cruise to various ports</a> in the country, greatly increasing your chances of seeing the trees at various stages of bloom.</p><h2>How to see the cherry blossom bloom in Washington, D.C.</h2><p>Those of us in the U.S., however, won’t be left out of the dazzling cherry blossom display either. In Washington, D.C., where the famous <a href="" target="_blank">cherry blossoms bloom around the Tidal Basin</a>, visitors can enjoy the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The trees generally reach peak bloom during the last week of March to early April. In 2018, the trees peaked on April 5. The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held between March 20 and April 14.</p><img alt="Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington "src=""><h2>Where else can I see cherry blossoms in 2019?</h2><p>Around the U.S., many flower watchers can also enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms in their own hometowns. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to 26 types of cherry blossom trees, and holds its own <a href="" target="_blank">tribute to cherry blossoms and Japanese culture</a> around their peak bloom. You'll also find impressive cherry blossom blooms in <a href="" target="_blank">Seattle</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville, Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Seoul, South Korea</a>.</p><h2>The best cherry blossom festivals</h2><p>Die-hard flower fanatics often opt for the Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival or the Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival, but there is also a 10-day-long festival in Macon, Georgia, which also considers itself the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World.” Even though the trees are not native to the area, it’s home to more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees. The <a href="" target="_blank">International Cherry Blossom Festival</a> attracts thousands of people every year and is set for March 22 to March 31 in 2019.</p><img alt="Cherry Blossoms at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea "src=""><h2>Cherry blossom 2019 forecasts</h2><p>Cherry blossom forecasts generally start coming out in December. You can check the <a href="" target="_blank">Japan Meteorological Agency's website</a> for the country's updates, likely starting with Okinawa, and <a href="" target="_blank"></a> for the latest from Washington, D.C.</p>
Categories: Travel

Another U.S. Airline is Raising Drink Prices on Flights

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 15:47
<p>Economy passengers flying with <a href="" target="_blank">Delta</a> can expect increases in the price of drinks offered on flights starting Dec. 1.</p><p>The airline is raising its drink fees by $1 for alcohol beverages, though the price of sparkling wine will remain the same at $9.</p><p>The new prices will be $9 for a featured cocktail, $8 for a domestic beer, $9 for craft/imported beer selections, $9 for liquor selections and $9 for wine selections.</p><p>Passengers booking seats on <a href="" target="_blank">Delta Comfort+</a>, which comes with up to four inches of additional legroom, dedicated overhead bin space, and access to priority boarding, will continue to receive complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails.</p><p>Meanwhile, passengers across cabins receive complimentary beer, wine, and spirits on international flights.</p><p>The change comes after several other U.S. carriers, including <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> and Southwest Airlines, raised the price of alcohol beverages on flights earlier this year. </p><p>Meanwhile, travelers flying on regional Alaska Airlines flights — operated by Horizon Air — can take advantage of free beer or wine. The airline also offers Mileage Plan members flying from 29 cities on the west coast to check in a <a href="" target="_blank">free case of wine</a> on flights.</p><p>Delta also recently announced it will be expanding its <a href="" target="_blank">pre-select meal program</a>, which allows customers flying onboard Delta One routes between the U.S. and Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America to get a notification from Delta representatives three days prior to take-off to select a preferred meal. The program will expand to over 200 markets across the globe starting on Dec. 6.</p>
Categories: Travel

Amtrak Is Having a 2-for-1 Sale on Private Roomettes So You and a Friend Can Cross the Country in Style

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 15:01
<p>Travelers looking to take a train ride past some of America’s most beautiful scenery in comfort and privacy can now do so for a fraction of the price with Amtrak’s roomette sale.</p><p>Amtrak is offering a <a href="" target="_blank">two-for-one-deal</a> on its roomettes — private rooms with their own large panoramic windows, sleeping accommodations, and a range of amenities.</p><p>The roomettes are ideal for travelers heading on a trip with friends and family and for couples looking to take a scenic ride in the winter and spring thanks to features that include their own sliding doors, two seats that face one another and convert to a bed in the evening, and a bunk bed that folds down from the ceiling.</p><p>Roomettes also come with fresh linen and towel service, complimentary bottled water, and access to the Amtrak Metropolitan <a href="" target="_blank">lounges</a> that come stocked with complimentary snacks and drinks, showers, Wi-Fi, and work areas at select stations.</p><p>The biggest perk might be that sit-down meals are included for guests staying in any of Amtrak’s Sleeper Service accommodations, which includes roommettes.</p><p>For additional comfort, roomette passengers have a dedicated attendant who will book meal reservations, make and take down beds, assist travelers with their luggage, and even share insider stories of life on the rails.</p><p>The deals for the roomettes are available on the <a href="" target="_blank">California Zephyr</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Capitol Limited</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Cardinal</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">City of New Orleans</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Coast Starlight</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Crescent</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Empire Builder</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Shore Limited</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Silver Service</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest Chief</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Sunset Limited</a>, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Texas Eagle</a>.</p><p>Views passengers can enjoy range from the Pacific Northwest coast on the <a href="" target="_blank">Coast Starlight</a> to the snow-dotted caps of Mount Hood, Glacier National Park, and the Mississippi on the <a href="" target="_blank">Empire Builder</a>.</p><p>No blackout dates apply for roomette bookings. Companions are required to stay in the same room for the deal to apply.</p>
Categories: Travel

Your Messy Desk Makes Your Co-workers Think of You As 'Cranky,' New Study Finds (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:31
<p>There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have clean desks and those who don’t.</p><p>Just because you have a <a href="" target="_blank">cluttered or messy</a> desk doesn’t make you a bad person, or even a bad worker, but it does send a particular, and possibly negative, message to the people around you, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">study conducted by the University of Michigan</a>.</p><p>In a series of experiments, psychologists from UM’s Flint and Ann Arbor campuses had about 160 participants sit in researcher’s offices that were either clean or messy.</p><p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">UM website</a>, the clean office was stocked with neatly organized books, papers and journals, as well as cleared of all trash. In the messy office, books were left askew, papers were strewn around the room and some trash and paper was on the floor. The clock was also an hour off.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">If You Have This Personality Trait, Chances Are You’re an Ideal Travel Companion</a></p><p>After sitting in the offices, participants had to then guess what the researcher’s personality might be like, judging their sociability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and “openness to experience,” according to the UM website.</p><p>As a result, the participants rated the researcher with the messier office as crankier, less caring, careless, more neurotic or less agreeable than the researcher with the clean office.</p><p>“When there are cues related to less cleanliness, order, organization and more clutter in an owner’s primary territory, perceivers ascribe lower conscientiousness to the owner,” said lead study author Terrence Horgan, professor of psychology at UM-Flint on the university blog.</p><p>“An employee who is very disorganized, difficult to get along with, and emotionally unstable might be problematic in any work setting that requires individuals to work together in a relatively calm and disciplined manner,” said co-author and clinical researcher at Michigan Medicine, Noelle Herzog.</p><p>Turns out, there may be some truth to the saying, a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.</p>
Categories: Travel

Universal Studios Hollywood Is Hosting Its First Ever In-park 5k

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:17
<p>Universal Studios Hollywood, home to <a href="" target="_blank">The Wizarding World of Harry Potter</a>, will host its first-ever <a href="" target="_blank">Running Universal</a> event next year, bringing the worlds of films like “Despicable Me”<i> </i>and “Minions” to life. The inaugural 5K race, scheduled for May 11th, 2019, will take participants through the actual theme park and behind-the-scenes at Universal’s film lot before it opens with — who else? — but a gaggle of the goofy yellow creatures in tow.</p><p>Given that Universal Studios Hollywood operates a <a href="" target="_blank">theme park atop a working movie studio</a>, runners and walkers will have a chance to trek past both, taking in the towers of Hogwarts castle and<i> </i>“The Simpsons’” famed Kwik-E-Mart before whizzing past famed backdrops and cityscapes on Universal Studios’ back lot, where movies like “Back to the Future,” “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “War of the Worlds” were filmed.</p><p>Character meet-and-greets and live entertainment will be positioned along the course of the Minions-themed race as well, which includes peeks at behind-the-scenes areas of the California theme park.</p><img alt="Universal Studios Hollywood 5K Run "src=""><p>Whether you’re considering the fun run for exercise or just for some early morning hang time with Bob, Kevin and Stuart, the event culminates in a private post-race party in Universal CityWalk prior to opening hours that’ll be worth running towards. Immediately once participants cross the finish line, they’ll join in on a celebration with food, live entertainment and “post-race swag”, providing plenty of post-sweat revelry.</p><p>Standard packages, which include Minion-themed race medals, collectible pins and commemorative t-shirts, cost $75, with VIP packages <a href="" target="_blank">offered for $135</a>. Neither include park entry beyond the early morning event, but celebrating with a Minions medal around one’s neck is a must.</p><p>Running Universal marks Universal Studios Hollywood’s first entry into hosting races inside their theme park, something Disney has popularized over the past 22 years. <a href="" target="_blank">runDisney</a>, the fitness-centric arm of the Walt Disney Company, offers character-themed 5K, half-marathon and marathon races at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and on Castaway Cay, a Disney Cruise Line island. As of October 2017, all runDisney events at Disneyland Resort have ceased operation, making the new Minions-led 5K the only theme park run on the West Coast.</p><p>A Minions-led workout might be an unusual start to a vacation, but spending an early morning pounding the pavement on hallowed Hollywood ground sure beats running on that hotel treadmill.</p>
Categories: Travel

Michelle Obama Just Gave Meghan Markle Some Seriously Good Advice

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 10:47
<p>Sure, Meghan Markle has always lived a little bit in the limelight. After all, before marrying Prince Harry she was on the hit show <i>Suits</i>. But that’s nothing compared to the microscope of attention she’s now under as a <a href="" target="_blank">member of the royal family</a>. And perhaps nobody can relate to the feeling of having to watch your every move thanks to your husband’s career more than former first lady Michelle Obama. And that’s why she’s the ideal woman to give Meghan a little heartfelt advice.</p><p>“Like me, Meghan probably never dreamt that she'd have a life like this, and the pressure you feel — from yourself and from others — can sometimes feel like a lot," Obama told <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Good Housekeeping</i></a> in a new interview. “So my biggest piece of advice would be to take some time and don't be in a hurry to do anything. I spent the first few months in the White House mainly worrying about my daughters, making sure they were off to a good start at school and making new friends before I launched into any more ambitious work. I think it's okay — it's good, even — to do that."</p><p>Obama knows that Meghan, like herself, has ideas, aspirations, and platforms she cares about outside of her royal duties. Though the royals are notoriously closed off about their own personal beliefs, Obama believes Meghan could do a lot to change that and still support all the things she cares about on a global level.</p><p>"What I'd say is that there's so much opportunity to do good with a platform like that — and I think Meghan can maximize her impact for others, as well her own happiness, if she's doing something that resonates with her personally," Obama said.</p><p>Obama, like Meghan, cares deeply about women’s issues around the world. While Obama was candid about the fact that things may not be exactly perfect for women in 2018 but she still believes in the power of female voices.</p><p>“...what's inspiring to me is that so many of the young women I've met are triumphing in incredible ways. Unlike my generation, they're not as held back by the societal belief that girls and boys can't do the same thing," she said. "They're charging forwards in sports and maths and science and technology. They're speaking up and speaking out, not just in classrooms but in the public arena at a young age. I find great hope in this generation of young women."</p><p>We have a feeling <a href="" target="_blank">Meghan feels the same</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

American Airlines Denies Abandoning Elderly Woman in Wheelchair at Chicago O’Hare

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 08:53
<p>American Airlines is denying a family’s claim that the company left their wheelchair-bound mother stranded for several hours at O’Hare International Airport on Friday after initially issuing an apology.</p><p>On Monday, according to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a></em>, American Airlines said the company was “deeply concerned about what occurred Friday evening at Chicago O’Hare,” when it was discovered that 67-year-old Olimpia Warsaw, who has Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and has trouble communicating, was allegedly left alone at the airport for five hours after her flight to Detroit was canceled. Warsaw was in Chicago attending her ex-husband’s funeral.</p><p>“This is not the level of service we aspire to provide to our customers, and we apologize to Ms. Warsaw and her family for letting them down,” American Airlines said in the statement released Monday. According to <em>The Washington Post</em>, American Airlines has reached out to the family and refunded Warsaw’s ticket. She was able to fly to Detroit on Saturday, <a href="" target="_blank"><i>USA </i><em>Today reported</em></a>.</p><p>However, new footage from closed circuit television revealed that Warsaw was not abandoned as her family originally claimed, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em> reported</a>.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="" target="_blank">Chicago Sun-Times</a></em>, her son, Claude Colteau said his mother was “found in an empty hallway near a restroom, where another passenger had taken her upon request.” He also claimed he had no idea that his mother had been left alone until he discovered she did not arrive in Detroit, and was found by security officers in Chicago several hours later, according to <em>The Washington Post</em>.</p><p> </p><p><a href="" target="_blank">WGN News</a> in Chicago acquired a timeline of the camera footage from American Airlines, which shows that Warsaw had actually been picked up at O’Hare about 45 minutes after her flight was canceled and an attendant had left her to wait.</p><p>According to the timeline, Warsaw’s flight was canceled at 11:20 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. At that time, she was given a hotel and meal voucher since she would have to rebook her flight for the next day. At 12:06 a.m., the wheelchair attendant for American Airlines is seen on CCTV with Warsaw, and is seen on a six-minute call with Colteau at 12:10 a.m. The wheelchair attendant dropped her off on the Upper Level waiting area at 12:30 a.m. Warsaw waits there until 1:13 a.m., when two relatives arrive to pick her up.</p><p>As Warsaw waited, it is seen on the CCTV that she uses her walker to go outside to smoke a cigarette two separate times. The full timeline is published on <a href="" target="_blank">WGN News</a>.</p><p>It is unclear how the original claim came up in the first place, given the new evidence. American Airlines said in a statement to <em>The Washington Post</em><i>,</i> “We launched an investigation with our Chicago team and the vendor we utilize that provides wheelchair services at O’Hare.” That investigation found the claim to be inaccurate.</p>
Categories: Travel

Lindsay Lohan’s Reality Show About Her Mykonos Beach Club Is Wild — and the First Trailer Is Here

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 07:56
<p>There’s going to be a new name in vacation luxury, and it’s Lindsay Lohan.</p><p>Yes, you read that correctly.</p><p>Lohan is forging ahead into a new chapter in her life by opening a posh nightclub called Lohan Beach House on the <a href="" target="_blank">Greek island</a> of Mykonos, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Vogue</a></em> reported.</p><p>And even if you can’t get to the island yourself, you can watch Lohan run her new business on a brand new MTV reality show called “Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club,” starting Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. EST.</p><p>According to <em>Vogue</em> and "Entertainment Tonight," Lohan has teased the show as a “more glamorous ‘Vanderpump Rules.’” If you can believe anyone <em>can</em> be more glam than that.</p><p>The new teaser <a href="" target="_blank">released by MTV</a> features lots of dreamy shots of Lohan posing and dancing on Greek beaches. She says in the video, “I want to build an empire here.”</p><p>Lohan Beach House is Lohan’s third location in Greece, after Lohan Nightclub in Athens and Lohan Beach House Rhodes. Each location is an exclusive destination for tourists who love to drink and dance while visiting stunning Greek islands and <a href="" target="_blank">vibrant nightlife of Athens</a>.</p><p>The show will follow Lohan and her team of VIP hosts as they run her island club locations, according to <em>Vogue</em>. It’s not completely clear what the format of the show will be, but there will definitely be plenty of gorgeous views, luxurious visitors, restaurants, beaches, fancy cocktails, Lohan dressed in designer fashions and plenty of pretty people dancing in a club. Hopefully doing Lohan’s iconic “<a href="" target="_blank">Mykonos dance</a>,” that took the internet by storm earlier this year.</p><p>According to <em>Vogue</em>, MTV said in a press release that the series will show the “new side of Lohan as she calls the shots with her handpicked team of young and ambitious VIP hosts who will have to do whatever it takes to secure Lohan’s name as the definition of vacation luxury.”</p><p>Looks like we all have a new favorite travel show to look forward to.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Passport Is Now the World’s Most Powerful (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 07:52
<p>The United Arab Emirates is now home to the world’s most powerful passport, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">Passport Index</a>.</p><p>The real-time index ranks the strength of passports from the United Nations’ 193 member countries and six additional territories based on the number of countries a holder can visit either visa-free or by obtaining a visa on arrival. </p><p>According to the Passport Index, the UAE passport currently grants holders entry into a total of 167 countries, with 113 countries allowing visa-free entry and 54 countries allowing visas upon arrival. </p><p>The UAE overtook <a href="" target="_blank">Singapore</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Germany</a> for the position, both of which allow passport holders access to 166 countries without a prior visa. Passports from Singapore allow entry to 127 countries visa-free and entry to 39 countries with a visa upon arrival, while German passports allow entry into 126 countries visa-free and entry into 40 countries with a visa upon arrival.</p><p>It’s important to note that these rankings are fluid and change regularly based on diplomatic relations. There are also rival rankings that offer varying results.</p><p>For example, the noted <a href="" target="_blank">Henley Passport Index</a> <a href="" target="_blank">ranks Japan</a> as the world’s most powerful passport. The index ranks 199 different passports based on their access to 227 destinations, utilizing data from the International Air Transport Authority and publicly available sources. According to the Henley Passport Index, the UAE falls in 21st place with access to 161 countries either visa-free or with visas upon arrival, while Japan remains in top place with access to 190 countries either visa-free or with a visa obtained upon arrival. </p><p>Data from the Passport Index is based on research conducted from publicly available sources and official information from government agencies.</p>
Categories: Travel

‘Overlord’ Star John Magaro Is Celebrating the Release of His New Film With an Epic Thailand Trip

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:27
<p>You know John Magaro as the versatile young actor from such award-winning films as "The Big Short" and "Carol," as well as J.J. Abrams’ new World War II horror movie, "Overlord." What you don’t know about the New York-based star is that he’s equally as serious about traveling as he is cinema. </p><p>He’s traveled to every continent except Antarctica, trekked through the <a href="" target="_blank">Peruvian Amazon</a>, and gone on scuba diving expeditions to private islands in <a href="" target="_blank">Belize</a> and shark-filled atolls in the <a href="" target="_blank">Maldives</a>. Naturally, Magaro's bucket list is long and varied: Sierra Leone, the Galapagos, and Uganda are among his top picks.</p><p>This month, the actor will get to cross yet another destination off the list when he travels to Thailand for an action-packed getaway. Read on to get a peek at his itinerary. </p><img alt="COMO Point Yamu resort in Phuket "src=""><p>"My wife and I are huge scuba diving fanatics — she even considered becoming a marine biologist! — so we’re spending the first few days of our trip diving in Phuket. We’re staying at the beautiful COMO Point Yamu, which is located on the island’s east coast overlooking the Andaman Sea. When we’re not hanging out there or going on reef and shark dives, we’ll probably charter a catamaran and explore the island."</p><img alt="Doi Luang Chiang Dao mountain in Thailand "src=""><p>"After Phuket. It’s off to Chiang Mai, where we’ll embark on a four-day trek through the hills north of the city. I don’t really know anything about this part of the trip except that a guy named Mike is going to be our tour guide. But I imagine we’ll sleep in remote villages and visit elephant sanctuaries. I love the kind of trip that allows you to disconnect from everything. I’ve trekked around Nepal, Northern India, and the Rocky Mountains, and there’s nothing more rewarding than pushing yourself physically during the day and crashing hard at night."</p><img alt="Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand "src=""><p>"We’re spending New Year’s in Chiang Mai at a villa at the Dhara Dhevi resort. After the isolating experience of trekking through the hills, I think it will be nice to be reunited with our creature comforts. Apart from hanging out at the hotel, we’ll probably eat street food, wander around some cool neighborhoods, and hopefully track down a good dive bar."</p><img alt="The Marble Temple in Bankgok, Thailand. (Wat Benchamabophit) "src=""><p>"The final day of our trip will be spent in Bangkok, where we'll visit temples and eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant during the day and go drinking and sing karaoke at night!"</p>
Categories: Travel

Contrary to Reports, Prince William and Kate Middleton Will Spend the Holidays with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:19
<p>Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, are willing to do just about anything to squash these family rift rumors. And that includes changing their own holiday plans just to make sure everything looks copacetic between them and Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle.</p><p>In case you’ve missed the kerfuffle, let us <a href="" target="_blank">break it down for you</a>: Over the last few weeks, headline after headline suggested there’s a major breakdown happening between the royal foursome. It all came to light after Prince Harry and Meghan announced they’d be moving out of Kensington and into a cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Many took this as a sign that the couple no longer wants to be associated with William and Kate, but royal insiders say that couldn’t be further from the truth. And this change of plans for the holidays is one way to show that everything is OK between them.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Daily Mail</a></em>, William and Kate typically trade off years for the holidays, with one year spent with the royal family and the next with the Middletons. But, this year, it appears they will double-down on the royal madness by spending their time in Norfolk for a traditional royal Christmas.</p><p>“Reports regarding Christmas are wrong. Everyone is in Norfolk this year,” a source noted to <em>The Daily Mail</em><i>. </i></p><p>This year’s holiday celebration will undoubtedly be a big one for the entire royal family as Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, will also reportedly join them for the first time. As <i>Travel+Leisure</i> previously noted, the <a href="" target="_blank">Queen likely invited Doria</a> out of respect for Meghan, who has no family of her own in England and is expecting her first child sometime in the spring.</p><p>Though, as a source noted to <i>People</i>, the decision by Will and Kate to head to Norfolk with the royals may simply be because they want to, not because they had to.</p><p>“They really loved Christmas and all had a wonderful time,” the source told <em><a href=";utm_campaign=peoplemagazine&amp;;utm_medium=social&amp;__twitter_impression=true" target="_blank">People</a></em><i>.</i> “I think the two women got on—they are definitely not best friends, but it was a really special time for them all to spend together.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Reader’s Choice Destination of the Year 2018: Iceland

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:01
<p>This year’s readers’ choice winner for <em>Travel + Leisure’</em>s Destination of the Year is <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>, which earned just over 14.5 percent of the vote in our online survey. In second, with 10.5 percent of the vote, is <a href="" target="_blank">Singapore</a> — perhaps thanks in part to the influence of <a href="" target="_blank">smash hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.”</a> Japan, our <a href="" target="_blank">editor’s choice Destination of the Year</a>, comes in a very close third.</p><p>The Nordic destination, a 40,000-square-mile island 700 miles northwest of Scotland and 185 miles south of Greenland, is an obvious choice; even those who don’t work in travel media are bound to have noticed the destination <a href="" target="_blank">explode onto the scene in recent years</a>. In fact, figures indicate that the country has <a href="" target="_blank">more tourists than citizens </a>each year, inspiring the tourism minister to <a href="" target="_blank">contemplate a travel tax</a>. And while Icelandmania was already in full swing back in, say, 2015, the constant influx of travelers has brought unprecedented development and even more ways to experience the country.</p><p>There’s plenty of hotel news, as demand for rooms remains steady and new types of properties arrive on the island. The headliner this year was the <a href="" target="_blank">Retreat at Blue Lagoon</a>, the <a href="" target="_top">first luxury property</a> on the <a href="" target="_blank">famous geothermal spa</a>, with suites that look out onto the mossy, alien landscapes of the surrounding volcanic terrain. Other new additions include <a href="" target="_blank">a duo of ION properties</a>, one in the capital and one adventure lodge located farther afield; <a href="" target="_blank">Deplar Farm</a>, in the north, from luxury adventure brand <a href="" target="_blank">Eleven Experience</a>; more offerings in the remote peninsulas of the western region, like the <a href="" target="_blank">Arnarstapi Hotel</a>; and, of course, <a href="" target="_blank">the inevitable bubble hotel</a>, for glamping under the breathtaking Icelandic sky. Future openings include a sleek <a href="" target="_blank">EDITION</a> hotel in Reykjavik, debuting in 2019, and there are <a href="" target="_blank">more in the works</a>.</p><p>And there are even more ways to get there, with IcelandAir — which already offers free stopovers in the country on the way to other destinations — adding <a href="" target="_blank">new nonstop routes</a> from several U.S. cities. <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">WOW Air</a> are also adding new flights. Keflavik Airport, in the capital, <a href="" target="_blank">is expanding to accommodate growing numbers</a>. And more people are seeing the island by boat: Silversea’s <em>Silver Cloud</em><i> </i>will <a href="" target="_blank">circumnavigate the island</a> next year, Oceania Cruises has <a href="" target="_blank">new pre- and post-cruise land itineraries</a> leaving from Reykjavik, and <a href="" target="_blank">Ponant’s new <em>Le Champlain</em></a><i> </i>will loop around Iceland in its inaugural season.</p><p>But what’s really bringing people back? Iceland’s <a href="" target="_blank">sheer natural beauty</a>, which remains jaw-dropping — if no longer “under the radar.” Visit the <a href="" target="_blank">Vatna Glacier</a>, a stunning underground ice shelf; snorkel in the <a href="" target="_blank">Silfra Fissure</a>, between two tectonic plates; or take a dip at one of the country’s <a href="" target="_blank">famous black-sand beaches</a>. <em><a href="">Game of Thrones</a></em><a href="" target="_blank"> tourism</a> is a big draw, as is spa and wellness travel (there’s even a <a href="" target="_blank">new beer spa</a>, if that’s your thing). There’s <a href="" target="_blank">stellar new Nordic food</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">destination restaurants worth traveling for</a>. And what better place to see the <a href="" target="_blank">northern lights</a>? Iceland might not be the “next” big thing anymore, but by all accounts, <a href="" target="_blank">it lives up to the hype</a>.</p><p><strong><em>Read about Travel + Leisure’s editors’ pick for the 2018 Destination of the Year: <a href="" target="_blank">Japan</a>.</em></strong></p>
Categories: Travel