U.S. Citizens Will Soon Be Able to Visit Brazil Without a Visa

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 06:07
<p>The Brazilian government announced this week that it will soon be allowing visa-free entry to any residents of the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan.</p><p>As long as they have a valid passport, visitors will no longer have to apply and pay for a visa to enter Brazil whether they are traveling for business or pleasure. Tourists can stay up to 90 days per year, with an extension to 180 days possible. That gives travelers plenty of time to <a href="" target="_blank">go surfing with dolphins</a>, explore <a href="" target="_blank">wine country</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">see the region's rain forests</a>.</p><p>The government hopes the initiative will improve tourism to the country — and has previously waived visa requirements around events like the Olympics. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), measures like this could potentially increase tourism by 25 percent, according to the Rio Press Office.</p><p>Brazil has already implemented an electronic visa that has reportedly increased visa application for the country by 35 percent, according to a statement by Brazil Tourism. The new visa waiver policy should continue this upward trend.</p><p>The Ministry of Tourism hopes to reach its goal of 12 million foreign visitors annually by 2022. “This is one of the most important achievements of the Brazilian tourism industry in the last 15 years and we are confident that it will be extremely beneficial to the country," said Marcelo Alvaro Antônio, Minister of Tourism. “This is the first step; We still have much to celebrate.”</p><p>The new policy will take effect on June 17.</p>
Categories: Travel

Peek Inside More Than 1,000 Italian Historic Sites for Free in Honor of 'Spring Days'

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 05:49
<p>As if the prospect of warmer weather wasn’t exciting enough, Italy’s annual harbinger of springtime — the Giornate FAI di Primavera — is back again this year. Hosted by the National Trust of Italy, or the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), “spring day” will open more than 1,000 historic sites <a href="" target="_blank">across the country</a> for free this weekend.</p><p>During the first weekend of spring since 1993, the Trust has swung open the doors of places not typically open for tours in the name of promoting Italy’s cultural heritage. On March 23 and 24, 2019, a total of 1,100 sites, including storied castles, villas, theaters, lush gardens, palaces, churches, museums and libraries, will waive admission fees. So, not only are they free to visit, but the attractions are rarely glimpsed by tourists or locals.</p><p>Having a list of hundreds of <a href="">things to do in Italy</a> is definitely exciting — and possibly overwhelming. (There are dozens of options in and around Rome alone.) Near the Eternal City, consider checking out the jaw-dropping murals at Palazzo della Rovere and the waterfalls of <a href="" target="_blank">Villa Gregoriana Park</a>. In Florence, see more modern architecture at the headquarters of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, while in Naples, step inside Posillipo Cave, a more than 2,000-foot-long tunnel that houses the Tomb of Virgil. Beyond major cities, discover the <a href="" target="_blank">Charterhouse of Mombracco</a>, an ancient place of worship where you can listen to Occitan music on your tour.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">9 Most Underrated Things to Do in Rome</a></p><p>The Trust views spring days as an opportunity to connect people and foster civil commitment.</p><p>“The discovery of a special place of the immense Italian landscape heritage is not only an experience that enriches the cultural baggage of every visitor, but an extraordinary opportunity to meet people of [different] ages, interests, and origins united by the desire to know exceptional places of their territory. Places to return to as visitors and on which to turn on the spotlight so that they can be protected and valued,” reads the Trust’s <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.</p><p>At any of the open FAI sites, visitors can expect to be accompanied by a guide and a first- or second-grade student known as a Ciceroni Apprentice. Donations starting at 2€ are encouraged.</p><p>See the full list of open sites and their operating hours <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, and good luck choosing just a few.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Woman Lost Her Boyfriend at Disney World — and a Bunch of Strangers on the Internet Helped Her Find Him

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 16:35
<p>Losing something — or someone — at <a href="" target="_blank">Disney World</a> can be a real nightmare.</p><p>If you’ve ever misplaced your keys, your wallet, or, more importantly, one of your own companions at a <a href="" target="_blank">Disney park</a>, you know that finding them again can be like searching for a needle in the world’s biggest haystack.</p><p>But sometimes, there might be some good Samaritans around to help you out.</p><p>One woman, Brittany Blake, was lucky enough to get a little help from some online “friends” when she was separated from her boyfriend in Epcot at Disney World.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">ABC Action News</a>, Blake and her boyfriend, Regory Turco, were spending the day at Epcot with other “spring breakers” when she suddenly noticed that Turco was no longer at her side.</p><p>Blake apparently searched for Turco for hours, but to no avail. Turco’s phone was also allegedly not working when Blake tried to get ahold of him.</p><p>It was then that Blake decided to turn to Facebook to try and locate her missing companion. According to ABC Action News, she wrote on the <a href="">Annual Passholders - Walt Disney World Resort</a> group, saying, “Weird post but lost my boyfriend in Epcot today and haven’t been able to find him for hours because <a href="" target="_blank">his phone is dead</a>. If anyone sees him can they tell him to meet us at the Mexican pavilion?”</p><p>She also added, jokingly, that he was “probably off drinking.” She attached a photo of Turco in a very bright and colorful Hawaiian shirt in hopes of finding him quickly.</p><p>Many commenters likened Turco’s shirt to Stitch’s outfit from “Lilo &amp; Stitch,” or made jokes about Blake losing a fully grown adult man at a theme park. Some offered genuine help.</p><p>It was only minutes before the park closed that there was a solid lead on Turco’s whereabouts. Blake finally posted an update on her original post, attaching a photo of Turco in his now-famous Hawaiian shirt, standing in a line for a “Frozen” ride.</p><p>According to ABC Action News, she wrote in another update, “He was drinking all day while looking for me.” Hopefully, Blake also got to ride some rides while on her search. As one commenter pointed out, if you do lose someone, you’re basically a single rider now. So, going on <a href="" target="_blank">every ride in the park</a> is way easier.</p><p>Of course, Disney has some protocols if <a href="" target="_blank">you and your child get separated</a>, but two lost, fully grown adults are on their own.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Luxurious Microhotels Prove Bigger Isn't Always Better

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 16:13
<p>On an average weekday afternoon, the sunken lounge at the stylish <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Hoxton Williamsburg</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $159)</em> buzzes with millennials working on laptops, sipping coffee, and snacking on lemon poppy-seed doughnuts from the adjacent all-day restaurant Klein’s. The lobby’s vintage light fixtures and plush pastel couches make the space feel homey, and when evening falls, it takes on a casual house-party vibe as stylish neighborhood residents and out-of-towners pop by for dinner. The whole setup feels like your coolest friend’s apartment, but in reality it’s an evolved form of a hotel lobby that invites both visitors who crave a distinctive sense of place and locals drawn in by events programming (live music, panels, and more) that builds a sense of community.</p><img alt="Plance Wine Bar at the Hoxton, Paris hotel "src=""><p>Established in London in 2012, the Hoxton brand epitomizes the surging <a href="" target="_blank">“microhotel” trend</a>. After taking shape in Europe and Japan, the phenomenon is now shaking up the hotel industry in the United States (the Hoxton has already opened a second American location in <a href="" target="_blank">Portland</a>, Oregon, with <a href="" target="_blank">Chicago</a> and L.A. to follow) and other parts of the world. Emerging brands offer low prices by selling smaller-than-average rooms (hence the “micro” moniker), eliminating commonly underutilized amenities like gyms, and streamlining staffing. The best of them also prioritize great design, high-tech touches, destination-worthy dining and drinking options, and happenings that lure area residents as well as guests. Room sizes average around 150 square feet, but millennial and Gen Z travelers (without kids in tow) who are visiting urban hubs, where demand and prices tend to be high, often plan to spend most of their time exploring the city anyway. For these guests, a desirable location, immediate access to a vibrant cultural landscape (both in and just outside the hotel), and low prices make up for less space.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">This Millennial-focused Hotel Chain Has Some of the World’s Most Instagram-worthy Hotel Rooms — and You Can Actually Afford Them</a></p><p>Though microhotels have a lot in common with upscale hotel/hostel hybrids like Yotel and <a href="" target="_blank">Freehand</a>, they feel less like college dorms since their guests don’t typically share bunk rooms. They’re more akin to economical boutique brands like Mama Shelter — which was born in 2008 in Paris and debuted new hotels last year in Toulouse, France; Prague; and Belgrade, Serbia — and Ace Hotel, which launched in Seattle 20 years ago. The Jane Hotel, a 2008 New York City opening, was another early pioneer of the affordable yet fashionable hotel, with a rich history and an eclectic design that makes its 50-square-foot, luxury-train-inspired cabins appealing to the young, artistically minded set.</p><img alt="Microhotels in New York City (Public Hotel) "src=""><p>But the current wave of microhotels blends attractive price points, diminutive room sizes, and hipster cred in a fresh way that has spurred a steady influx of growth, particularly in New York. At its Bowery location, Amsterdam-based <strong><a href="" target="_blank">CitizenM</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $144)</em> channels a colorful, ultramodern aesthetic, which encompasses a ground-floor coffee bar, a rooftop lounge with sweeping city views, and the Museum of Street Art, a mammoth 20-floor stairwell with murals by top street artists. All 300 rooms have wall-to-wall windows, king-size beds with storage drawers, Eames chairs, and iPads that control everything from the temperature to the lights. Just a few blocks away, in a building designed by acclaimed architecture firm Herzog &amp; de Meuron, sits <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Public New York</strong></a> <em>(doubles from $150)</em>. Opened by <a href="" target="_blank">Ian Schrager</a> in 2017, the hotel lures nightlife obsessives with three bars and an art space that hosts interactive theater performances and DJ-fueled dance parties. The thoughtfully designed rooms, most of which are less than 250 square feet, feature custom beds with built-in reading lights, plus soundproofed windows and blackout shades to ensure a good rest. <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Pod Hotels</a></strong> added to its existing properties — three in New York and one in Washington, D.C. — with a Times Square location <em>(doubles from $129)</em> that houses the Polynesian, an upscale tiki bar from the hit-​making restaurateurs behind the Grill, while <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Arlo NoMad</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $179) </em>serves Italian-American cuisine at its Massoni eatery.</p><p>The Hoxton plans to enter Chicago and <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>, among other cities, this year; Pod’s next expansions will be in Philadelphia and Los Angeles; and Arlo Hotels is already scouting a second location in midtown Manhattan. But the micro movement is also reaching new destinations. Travelers to Tijuana, Mexico, can stay at <strong><a href="" target="_blank">One Bunk</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $48)</em>, where colorful Mexican textiles pop against industrial-chic furnishings. (One Bunk also has a location in San Diego.) In the port city of Thessaloníki, Greece, <strong><a href="" target="_blank">the Modernist</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $104)</em> brings a sleek, minimalist touch to a 1920s building, and in London, <strong><a href="" target="_blank">the Pilgrm Hotel, Paddington</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $166)</em> offers 73 rooms stocked with custom toiletries and organic mattresses. CitizenM has dynamic ambitions as well, with plans for hotels in Copenhagen, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as Boston and Seattle.</p><img alt="Bar scenes at the Hoxton, Paris hotel "src=""><p>Stalwarts like Hilton and Marriott have taken notice and are seeking to capitalize on the trend with projects of their own. Hilton’s forthcoming brand Motto by Hilton aims to open in 2020 in several cities — including London, Dublin, Boston, and San Diego — with rooms averaging 163 square feet. Marriott’s Moxy brand has nearly 40 hotels across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, with an additional 102 projects and 18,798 rooms in the pipeline. The newest: <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Moxy Chelsea</a></strong> <em>(doubles from $159)</em>, which just opened in New York’s Flower District with 349 rooms, an Italian café, a restaurant, a second-floor snack bar, and a rooftop bar. It also has self-check-in kiosks — another increasingly common staple among microhotels and an indication of how hotels of all sizes can innovate as travelers seek more streamlined experiences.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Last Supermoon of 2019 Is Coming — Here's How to Make Sure You Don't Miss It

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 15:29
<p>A big, bright Full Worm Moon will appear in the east on Wednesday at almost the exact moment spring begins in the northern hemisphere. It's <a href="" target="_blank">the first time in 19 years</a> that's happened, though this one is even more special because the Full Worm Moon is also a supermoon.</p><h2>What is the Super Worm Moon?</h2><p>It's a full moon, and that's really it. Although the Super Worm Moon could also rightly be called the Super Sap Moon or the Super Crow Moon. Known by Native Americans as the Worm Moon because of the seasonal appearance of earthworm trails, March's full moon will be visible from dusk on Wednesday, March 20 until dawn the following day.</p><h2>When to see the Super Worm Moon</h2><p>Although the Super Worm Moon officially reaches 100-percent illumination at 9:42 p.m EDT and 6:42 p.m PDT, it’s much more impressive if viewed as it appears low on the horizon. That can be a truly exquisite sight, clear skies allowing, which happens once per month for just a few minutes. No wonder many <a href="" target="_blank">stargazers</a> rate the rise of the full moon as one of the greatest sights in nature.</p><p>In New York, sunset is at 7:07 p.m. EDT and moonrise is at 6:48 p.m. EDT, while in Los Angeles sunset occurs at 5:41 p.m. PDT, followed by moonrise at 6:58 p.m. PDT. So in western U.S. states the Super Worm Moon will rise just minutes after its maximum fullness.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Spring Equinox is also on Wednesday</a>, at 5:58 P.M. EDT and 2:58 PDT, and though it has nothing to do with the full moon, the two virtually coincide.</p><p>If the sky isn't clear on Wednesday, check again at dawn, when the moon will be setting in the west. In New York, sunrise is at 6:58 a.m. EDT and moonset 7:37 a.m. EDT, while in LA, sunrise is at 6:31 a.m. PDT and moonset 7:37 a.m. PDT.</p><h2>What is a supermoon?</h2><p>It's not an astronomical term, instead <a href="" target="_blank">coined by an astrologer in the 1970s</a>, so it lacks a rigorous definition, However, it popularly refers to the point in the moon's monthly orbit that is closest to Earth. Since the moon has a slightly elliptical orbit, there are two points in its orbit when it's furthest away (a micromoon) and closest (supermoon). Both of those things happen once per month, but it is only when a supermoon combines with a full moon that anyone pays any attention. That's because a <a href="" target="_blank">supermoon is bigger and brighter</a> than most full moons.</p><h2>Why are there so many supermoons in 2019?</h2><p>The Super Worm Moon is indeed the third supermoon in a row, after <a href="" target="_blank">January's Super Wolf Blood Moon</a> (which was also a dramatic total lunar eclipse during which the moon turned red) and <a href="" target="_blank">February's Super Snow Moon</a> (which was the biggest and brightest of 2019 and the nearest full moon to the Earth until December 2026).</p><p>However, remember that there is a "supermoon moment" every month when the moon is the closest to Earth. It's just that this moment relatively rarely coincides with a full moon.</p><h2>When is the next supermoon?</h2><p>Supermoons always come in twos or threes, and in quick succession, though the Super Worm Moon is the final supermoon of 2019. The next supermoons will occur on March 9 and April 8, 2020.</p><h2>When is the next full moon?</h2><p>A plain old Full Pink Moon will rise on April 19, 2019. It's not a special full moon in any sense, and nor is the Full Flower Moon on May 18, 2019. Coming in June is the fourth full moon in a season, however, known as a Blue Moon, making a Blue Strawberry Moon something to get excited about, even if it's just a name.</p>
Categories: Travel

This New Hotel Draws Inspiration From Petra, Jordan's Famous Ancient City

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 15:21
<p>W Hotels' first property in Jordan, standing tall amid the low-rises of downtown Amman, is a contemporary landmark in the Middle Eastern capital. </p><p><a href="" target="_blank">W Amman</a> is one of the first skyscrapers in the Al Abdali district, which borders Jabal Amman (the city's historic center) and is surrounded by the seven hills upon which the original city was built. The hotel's design also aims to bring this history and culture <em>into</em> the 30-story tower — literally, with its 280 rooms each offering sweeping views from floor-to-ceiling windows, and figuratively, weaving the country’s ancient roots and Bedouin heritage into every part of the space. </p><p>Amman is the gateway to <a href="" target="_blank">Jordan’s historical wonders</a>, and many travelers who stay there will go on to explore the villages and archeological sites of the country's interior. With this in mind, the city's newest hotel has reinterpreted emblems of Jordan — <a href="" target="_blank">Roman ruins</a>, traditional craftsmanship, the <a href="" target="_blank">ancient city of Petra</a> — and incorporated them into its architecture and decor.</p><p>Here are some ways the property draws inspiration from Jordan's past and present:</p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Petra</h2><p>As one of the "new seven wonders of the world," Petra — built by an ancient Arab civilization called the Nabateans — is arguably Jordan’s most famous attraction. To visit the site, travelers wind their way through a mile-long red rock canyon called the <a href="" target="_blank">Siq</a>: a grand entrance to the ancient city’s temples, monasteries, and other ruins. W Amman draws inspiration from this fabled passageway with a grand entrance of its own. A jagged corridor spans the first five stories of the building, with geometric shards that change color to reflect the time of day — much like the rosy sandstone of the Siq, which change tones as the sun moves over the desert. The lobby is an earthy beige in daylight, and a fluorescent amber come nightfall. </p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Jabal Amman</h2><p>But Petra is far from the only historical site in Jordan — in fact, there are many within walking distance of the hotel. The city’s historic center, Jabal Amman, is another inspiration for the design. The clustered layout of the W's two-story bar and lobby mirrors the close quarters of the old city: narrow staircases connect stacked lounges tucked into alcoves, like alleys weaving through rows of matchbox-style houses. </p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Spice Souks</h2><p>The sacks of spices that greet diners at W Amman’s main restaurant, <a href="" target="_blank">Mesh</a>, are reminiscent of those found in the souks of Jabal Amman and at spice markets around the country. Spices are used liberally in dishes throughout the Middle East, with ingredients like saffron, nutmeg, and cardamom forming a cornerstone of the cuisine. Jordanian families take pride in creating their own spice blends.</p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Local Talent</h2><p>Bedouin culture is prevalent throughout Jordan, especially in relation to traditional arts like embroidery, and the property pops with color thanks to hand-embroidered silks and vibrant Bedouin textiles. The camel-adorned pillows and bed runners in every room were locally made in partnership with the <a href="" target="_blank">Jordan River Foundation</a>, a nonprofit that provides an economic opportunities for Jordanian artisans and promotes the preservation of Bedouin culture. In the bar and common areas, the low seating nooks — reminiscent of those found in Bedouin tents — are accented by a series of local portraits painted by Jordanian artist <a href="" target="_blank">Bader Mahasneh</a>. </p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Roman Ruins</h2><p>The pool, with its terraced seating layout, reflects by the seats of the Roman Theatre, built in Amman by Roman colonists in the 1st Century CE. Another site, the Amman Citadel — an ancient complex that includes the famous Temple of Hercules — is the inspiration for the colonnaded design of the rooftop bar. </p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>Olive Groves</h2><p>Driving south from Amman, you begin to see a vast quantity of olive trees popping up from desert sands, a common sight for visitors en route to the Dead Sea. In tribute to this agricultural tradition, which provides one of the country’s few major exports, the lobby of the hotel is lined with intricate sculptures meant to mimic the dappled shadows of the olive groves. </p><img alt="W Amman "src=""><h2>City Life</h2><p>Afternoon tea (with a side of shisha) has long been a daily routine for Jordanians — but a coffee is also a local favorite, with thick, cardamom-scented brews served at cafes around the country. The wallpaper in some rooms nods to this coffeehouse culture, depicting traditional coffee pots in mid-pour; other suites are plastered with cat designs, a salute to the friendly strays found throughout Amman, or outlines of the city's layered skyline.</p><p><em>W Amman provided support for the reporting of this story.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

This Is the Best Cruise Destination in the World

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 15:04
<p>If you're looking for the ultimate <a href="" target="_blank">cruise destination</a>, one place just took the top spot in the cruise industry's Wave Awards: <a href="" target="_blank">Greece</a>.</p><p>The U.K.-based awards recognize the best of the cruise industry, from the best locations to the best operators, and winners are decided by a combination of industry judges and public vote. The judges <a href="" target="_blank">named Greece</a> as the best destination — both as a port and a country — for 2019.</p><img alt="See locations like Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis of Athens. "src=""><p>Greece has more than <a href="" target="_blank">2,000 islands</a>, each offering their own charms and attractions, and the country's ideal climate makes cruising possible for most of the year. Wave Awards representatives highlighted the picturesque seascapes and many cruise options — including smaller ships that visit quieter islands — as a major benefit.</p><img alt="Giola is a natural pool located on the island of Thassos. "src=""><p>Greece’s islands are a longtime favorite, particularly with <em>Travel + Leisure</em> readers. The island of Páros was named the <a href="" target="_blank">best island to visit in Europe</a> and one of the <a href="" target="_blank">best islands in the world</a> in the <a href="" target="_blank">World’s Best Awards</a>. The country's tourism sector is growing at a record place, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">World Travel and Tourism Council</a>.</p><p>In the public vote, Greece came in second, just behind Barbados. Barbados also has a lot to offer, from the pristine coastline and 70 miles of beach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Dominican Republic Adventure Cruise Lets You Swim with Humpback Whales

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 10:30
<p>Have you ever seen a whale up close? The experience is otherworldly. I recently snorkeled within a few feet of a mother whale and her baby calf in Silver Bank, a <a href="" target="_blank">humpback whale</a> breeding ground 90 miles north of Puerto Plata. Let me tell you: A baby whale, while a baby, is not small.</p><p>I was traveling with <a href="" target="_blank">Aquatic Adventures</a>, a <a href="" target="_blank">Dominican Republic</a>-based tour operator that organizes week-long excursions to see the whales up close. In many ways, these trips transcend the modern age of Instagram-inspired travel. You'll learn quickly that whales explicitly <i>don’t</i> do it for the gram; the animals have this great power to remind you that nature often trumps technology.</p><p>It's refreshing. Even when when your fellow passengers point behind you, and you turn around just seconds too late.</p><img alt="Sailing with Whales in the Dominican Republic "src=""><p>Aquatic Adventures’ 124-foot boat departs out of Puerto Plata, a beach city with direct flights from the U.S. on several major carriers. They operate from January through April — humpback season, when thousands of whales travel down to the warmer waters around Hispaniola. I embarked on a Saturday night, with a 10-hour overnight trip to Silver Bank before me. The miraculousness of whale watching will hopefully make you forget about the turbulent ride out: Dramamine is your friend, and the boat is fully stocked with other remedies lest your pride gets in the way of careful packing.</p><p>The crew aboard the <em>Turks &amp; Caicos Explorer II</em> runs a pretty tight ship, if you will: Tom Conlin, who has led Aquatic Adventures since 1991, is a bonafide whale expert. He and his team, most of whom have some kind of marine biology degree, do as much as they can to ensure guests are comfortable both on and off the boat. This is a true <a href="" target="_blank">expedition vessel</a>, but it's not without its comforts: there are 10 cabins, each of which is equipped with a private bathroom with running hot water (a true plus for sleeping out on the open ocean). The Instagram factor is low, but that’s not the point. Your cabin a place to wash up, change, and sleep before heading back into the water — and the whales. </p><p>Twice a day, weather-permitting, Conlin and his team take guests out on the two 25-foot tenders that accompany the <em>Explorer II</em>. Experts drive eager whale watchers out across Silver Bank to delight in the <a href="" target="_blank">world of whales</a>. Everyone’s in charge of spotting them, and — if your captain deems it safe and worthy — you’ll soon be headed in that direction to get a closer look.</p><p>I learned that humpbacks are generally indifferent to nearby people, and the more gregarious ones will let you “work” them. (This is <a href="" target="_blank">whale-watching</a> lingo: to work a whale is to assess how it responds toward your boat’s presence and to gauge its comfort with your proximity.) When a whale seems amenable to human company, a crew member dives into the water in snorkel gear; if everything goes right, it's your turn to come in.</p><img alt="Swimming with Whales in the Dominican Republic "src=""><p>You won't be unprepared: In your orientation training, you’re taught PIWWE, or the Passive In-Water Whale Encounter technique, which helps you approach the animals with non-aggressive movements. Equipped with fins and a snorkel mask, it's surprisingly easy to tread near the humpbacks and behold their inconceivable grace. Don't worry — unlike many of their marine brethren, these animals are not interested in eating you. (Maybe I should have mentioned that earlier.)</p><p>On one of my dives, I swam above two adult whales sleeping near the bottom of the ocean. Their size was hard to grasp — and I felt a bit like an intruder as I watched them rest. Another day, I stopped just a few feet from a mother and her calf; the mother assumed her maternal role and warned a person from my group not to get much closer. She (lightly) tapped his underwater camera with her fin!</p><img alt="Whale Tail Splashing the Water in the Dominican Republic "src=""><p>We also spotted countless acrobatic performances from inside the boat. I watched a whale torpedo out of the water’s surface like a screw on a drill — it twirled. I looked on as the animals lazily came up for air, and couldn’t help thinking they looked like enormous, gray school busses. I saw a "lobtail" — when the whale slaps the water, loudly, with its colossal tailfin. There is something entirely fantastical about the size and the movements of these creatures, and at some point, seeing them so close starts to feel unreal.</p><p>When you’re not whale watching, you might be suntanning, learning more about <a href="" target="_blank">whale behavior</a>, or effortlessly stuffing your face. The chef on my trip pulled inspiration from seemingly every cuisine imaginable, drawing on her recent travels throughout Southeast Asia. Beyond the daily meals, the ship is brimming with snacks and beer — you can expect the friendly and fun kitchen staff to ask if you’re hungry several times a day. We were treated to crunchy slaws, slow-cooked pork shoulder carnitas, fat breakfast burritos and avocado toast… but back to the whales.</p><img alt="Whale Swimming in the Dominican Republic "src=""><p>I can’t tell you what you’ll feel when you see your first whale just a few feet before you. What I <em>can</em> say: photos will not do it justice. Don’t misunderstand — there’s ample opportunity to take great pictures on this trip, especially if you’ve got hi-tech, water-safe gear. But you’ll come away from this once-in-a-lifetime experience feeling small. </p><p>If anything, the whales prodded me to remember that we humans are just a speck on the world map. Swimming with humpbacks was a welcome relief from the world of perfectly staged, envy-inducing travel photos. On this trip, no matter how hard you work to get the shot, the whales will dazzle only on their terms. And when they do, you won’t kick yourself for not capturing it on camera — because you’ll have seen it with your very own eyes.</p><p><em>The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism provided support for the reporting of this story.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

This Airport Is Growing Faster Than Any Other in the World (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 10:01
<p>If you’ve looked around the security line and thought that airports are becoming more popular (and <a href="" target="_blank">more crowded</a>) than ever, you’re actually right. And it’s not just in <a href="" target="_blank">Europe</a> and the U.S., airports in Asia, in particular, are booming as a means for travelers to get from point A to point B.</p><p>In fact, according to a world traffic report published by the Airports Council International (ACI), China’s <a href="" target="_blank">Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest airport in the world</a>, with over 100 million passengers in 2018.</p><p>And China isn’t the only country in Asia that is seeing rapid growth.</p><p>According to research by <a href="" target="_blank">Routesonline</a>, Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia is the fastest growing major airport in the world, with an increased passenger count of over 38 percent in 2018.</p><img alt="Phnom Penh International Airport, Cambodia "src=""><p>The research showed that the airport saw over 6.25 million passengers pass through its terminals in 2018, compared to 4.5 million in 2017.</p><p>In addition, out of the study’s top 20 growing airports, 15 were located in Asia, with five in China and five in India. Back in 2018, <a href="" target="_blank">Routesonline also predicted that China and India</a> would become two of the fastest growing air travel markets since travel is becoming “easier and cheaper” than ever before in the two countries, especially due to a growing number of <a href="" target="_blank">budget airlines</a> in these regions.</p><p> shows Quanzhou Jinjiang International in China as the second fastest growing airport, followed by Semarang Airport in Indonesia and Kempegowda Bangalore International Airport in India.</p><p>To see the full list of the fastest growing airports, visit the <a href="" target="_blank">Routesonline website.</a></p>
Categories: Travel

This Waterproof Phone Pouch Has Over 19,000 5-star Reviews on Amazon — and It’s Under $10

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 09:30
<p>Taking your phone on vacation can be nerve-racking, especially if you’re going <a href="" target="_blank">somewhere tropical</a> where you’ll be at the <a href="" target="_blank">beach surrounded by water</a> 24/7. Even though many new phones like the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S10 were created to be water-resistant, accidentally dropping your precious device into the ocean will probably still give you a mini panic attack, water-resistant guarantee or not. Fortunately for you, the Joto waterproof phone pouch (<a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlwaterproofphonecasecbutan0319-20&amp;linkId=7e424c3f74e7f48ef62f335da09171c0&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank"></a>; from $8) will protect your phone even if it hits the very bottom of a pool.</p><p>The <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlwaterproofphonecasecbutan0319-20&amp;linkId=7e424c3f74e7f48ef62f335da09171c0&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank">simple and super affordable phone case</a> is beloved by tens of thousands of people — over 19,000 customers have left it glowing five-star reviews. It fits all smartphones with screens that measure up to six inches diagonally, which includes most recently released phones, whether you own an iPhone, Samsung, or Google Pixel (the max diagonal length for the aforementioned devices is around 5.8 inches).</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Waterproof Phone Cases for Admittedly Accident-prone Travelers</a></p><p>The phone case has a clear, touch-friendly screen on both the front and back sides, which makes it perfect for <a href="" target="_blank">using your camera underwater</a> to snap some fun pics. It comes with a neck strap for easy carrying, features a durable snap-lock feature that keeps out sand and dirt, and comes in several color options including black, white, pink, blue, and clear. Along with your phone, you can also store cash, credit cards, and any other personal documents without having to worry about losing or damaging them.</p><p>“I recently got back from an adventurous trip to the Philippines where this dry bag helped me take photos through all our adventures,” one reviewer raved. “We swam with whale sharks in salt water seas, swam through cold canyon waters, jumped through cliffs/waterfalls into the bluest waters, and traveled along several islands with this bag keeping my iPhone 6S and cash safe and dry!”</p><img alt="Waterproof Joto Cellphone Pouch "src=""><p>To buy: <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlwaterproofphonecasecbutan0319-20&amp;linkId=7e424c3f74e7f48ef62f335da09171c0&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank"></a>, $8 to $10</p><p>Another customer <a href=";ASIN=B00LBK7OSY&amp;linkCode=ll2&amp;tag=tlwaterproofphonecasecbutan0319-20&amp;linkId=d4de0ac18b770efaf1fca4869f5b89ff&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank">shared a story</a> wherein she accidentally dropped her Joto case — which had her phone, ID, and debit card in it — into the river while canoeing. Months later, she was reunited with the case and its contents were totally intact and “dry as a bone.”</p><p>“There was not one single drop of water in it and [the man who retrieved it] ended up purchasing a case for himself because he was just that impressed,” she wrote. “I’m not one who is easily impressed by much of anything anymore, but if you are planning a trip and need a waterproof case, this is the one to get.”</p><p>Convinced to take it on <a href="" target="_blank">your next vacation</a>? So are we. If you're nervous to use it after ordering, we recommend sealing a piece of paper inside and submerging it in a cup of water for several hours for a test run.</p>
Categories: Travel

So Many Celebrities Are Renting These New Turks and Caicos Villas, You’ll Have to Sign an NDA Upon Arrival

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 09:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Turks and Caicos</a> has a reputation for being a luxurious but sleepy island getaway, but it’s also a hot spot for celebrities (think Olivia Munn, Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt, and Cara Delevingne<b>) </b>looking to unwind and enjoy the “simple” luxuries with their closest friends or family members.</p><p>And now some, like Munn, are turning to <a href="" target="_blank">Beach Enclave</a>, a new collection of private luxury villas that offers vacation rental options so anyone can get the full celebrity treatment (for a price, of course).</p><p>You know when you’re asked to sign an NDA upon arrival, it’s going to be a good trip. Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure unobstructed views of the cascading infinity pool — and crystal blue waters beyond it — upon entry. The first face guests see is that of a smiling butler (yes, butler), with a cocktail featuring local ingredients at the ready. A complimentary butler comes with every rental. Hungry or thirsty? No worries. Everything you want is in the fridge because they have asked you for your grocery list ahead of time. They even make their own wine.</p><img alt="Beach Enclave Turks and Caicos "src=""><p>With <a href="" target="_blank">private villas</a> on the famous Grace Bay, North Shore, and the newest property on Long Bay, Beach Enclave offers a blended experience of the privacy you would get with an Airbnb and the full services of a luxury hotel. Just a three-hour flight from New York City and a quick one-hour hop from Miami, you’ll find yourself wondering why you stayed stateside for so many birthdays and <a href="" target="_blank">bachelor/bachelorette parties</a> — though here, you’ll have to bring the party with you.</p><p>Unlike St. Bart’s and other nightlife-heavy islands, Turks and Caicos focuses on the quieter luxuries with nighttime activities consisting of enjoying leisurely dinners of fresh seafood at restaurants such as <a href="" target="_blank">Provence</a>, mingling with locals over conch at a nearby fish fry, or having a private chef come make dinner at your villa. You’ll likely head to bed early anyway after tiring yourself out with <a href="" target="_blank">on-site yoga</a> and some of the best recreational water sports in the world (don’t miss the <a href="" target="_blank">kiteboarding</a>).</p><img alt="Beach Enclave Turks and Caicos "src=""><p>As a part of the package, Beach Enclave guests and owners also have access to their boat, the Addenda, and its captain, who takes you to the area’s most secluded beaches. Instagram envy comes free of charge.</p><img alt="Beach Enclave Turks and Caicos "src=""><p>Rates at Beach Enclave’s North Shore property start at $3,700 for a four-bedroom ocean view villa with a minimum three-night stay. Rates at Long Bay start at $5,400 for a four-bedroom beachfront villa and media room. At the top of the price range is a stay at a five-bedroom beach front villa in peak season (President’s Weekend, Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas/ New Years) priced at $14,000, requiring a 10-night minimum stay. A hotel with lower-priced options is in the pipeline for 2021, according to representatives. And if you just can’t tear yourself away, villas are also for sale, though living in luxury will cost you: One-bedroom villas start at $950,000, three-bedrooms at $2,850,000.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Get Extra Bonus Points at Hyatt Hotels If You Skip Housekeeping Services

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:06
<p>Going green while you travel might give you a few more perks on top of <a href="" target="_blank">helping the environment</a>.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Points Guy</a></em>, Hyatt is testing out giving its <a href="" target="_blank">World of Hyatt program</a> members some extra points when they opt to skip housekeeping services on stays longer than one night.</p><p>A photo of a door tag was shared on the blog, <a href="" target="_blank">View from the Wing</a>, which details the new offer.</p><p>According to the offer on the tag, members can earn up to 250 bonus points on their World of Hyatt membership for every night they decide to skip housekeepers bringing you brand new towels or changing the sheets. The new initiative is being called "It’s Your Choice for More Points," which is perhaps touching on familiar phrasing hotels use to encourage travelers to reuse their room amenities (like towels) more than once before changing.</p><p>A 2008 study in the <em>Journal of Consumer Research</em> showed that hotel bathroom signs that used bandwagon-like copy, such as, “Other guests saved this much water by reusing their towel” or, “This is how many guests opt to reuse their towels during their stay” were more effective than simple, eco-conscious messaging.</p><p>Reusing your towel or opting to sleep in the same sheets during your stay is becoming more and more popular as the “greener” option for travelers who want to decrease their carbon footprint. In fact, US hotels use an average of 25 gallons of water per room, per day, for laundry, according to <a href="" target="_blank">research by Hydrofinity</a>.</p><p>Other hotel chains, like Marriott, also offer similar services, <em>The Points Guy</em> reported.</p><p>World of Hyatt members can expect the bonus points to add up to about $4.25 in savings per night, according to <em>The Points Guy</em>. Of course, some restrictions apply.</p><p>In particular, as stated before, members cannot use this offer for stays that are only one night. In addition, guests cannot use this offer for the last night of their stay. Members are awarded 250 points per night that they forgo housekeeping services, and not for the entire trip. You must also be a World of Hyatt program member in order to opt in.<br /><br />Hotels are choosing greener upgrades to appeal to eco-friendly travelers. There are many ways to tell <a href="" target="_blank">how green your hotel is</a> simply by taking a look at its services and accommodations. There are also many <a href="" target="_blank">green hotels around the world</a> that boast environmentally conscious amenities.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Just Launched Flights to Hawaii — Here's What to Know About the New Routes

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 06:52
<p>Travelers have long been awaiting the inaugural flight between California and the Hawaiian Islands on Southwest Airlines. The low-cost carrier <a href="" target="_blank">received flight approval</a> from the Federal Aviation Administration in late February and started <a href="" target="_blank">selling tickets</a> on March 4 — with fares as low as <a href="" target="_blank">$49 each way</a>.</p><img alt="Southwest Airlines - Oakland to Hawaii Inaugural Flight "src=""><p>On Sunday, Southwest Airlines flew their first plane full of passengers to Hawaii. Southwest Flight 6808 made the 5.5 hour nonstop journey from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, landing at 2 p.m. local time. The flight was welcomed by Hawaii Governor David Ige and Southwest Airlines President Tom Nealon.</p><p> </p><p>From beginning to end, passengers on the <a href="" target="_blank">inaugural flight</a> received the Hawaiian treatment. Leis and in-flight hula dancing kicked off the trip, and travelers were the first to sample Southwest’s new <a href="" target="_blank">snack selection</a> for Hawaii flights. The snack pack will expand the airline’s offerings beyond the standard red bag of pretzels to include Wheat Thins, Welch's fruit snacks, Tic Tacs, and a white-cheddar cheese spread. Locally themed drinks on Southwest’s Hawaii flights will include Longboard Island Lager from <a href="" target="_blank">Kona Brewing Company</a>, Minute Maid pineapple orange juice, and Blue Chair Bay coconut spiced rum.</p><img alt="Southwest Airlines - Oakland to Hawaii Inaugural Flight "src=""><p>To start, Southwest will only fly one flight each way daily between Oakland and Honolulu with a second flight set to begin March 24. Starting on April 7, Southwest will fly between Oakland and Maui and begin inter-island flights. In May, Southwest will start flying between San Jose and Honolulu, Maui, and Kona. Eventually, Southwest plans to fly nonstop to Hawaii from San Diego and Sacramento, with flights to the island of Kauai expected as well.</p>
Categories: Travel

British Airways’ New Business Suites Will Make You Feel Like You’re Actually Flying Private

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 06:27
<p>There’s nothing more luxurious than the ability to sprawl out on a long flight. And when you shell out thousands for the privilege, you expect the best. <a href="" target="_blank">British Airways</a> is making strides to rank alongside <a href="" target="_blank">Delta Air Lines</a> and Qatar Airways, as the only major international airlines with a fully enclosed business class seat.</p><img alt="British Airways Business Class "src=""><p>Starting in July, travelers can book British Airways’ <a href="" target="_blank">new business class</a> “Club Suite.” Each suite has its own door and direct aisle access with 40 percent more storage than current World Club Seats, a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, power outlets, and high definition programming on an 18.5-inch screen. Each of British Airways’ <a href="" target="_blank">Airbus A350s</a> will have 56 business class Club Suites.</p><img alt="British Airways Business Class "src=""><p>After the delivery of the new planes in July, the seats will be tested on short-haul flights between <a href="" target="_blank">London</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Madrid</a>. Starting Oct. 1, the plane will take long-haul flights between Heathrow and Toronto with flights to Dubai beginning the following week. During this time, three new A350s will join the fleet and two Boeing 777 aircrafts will be retrofitted with the new cabin. However, the airline doesn’t expect to roll out the new Club Suite on other long-haul flights until 2020.</p><p>"At British Airways we have one of Europe's largest long-haul fleets and most far-reaching global networks, so it will take some time to make the cabin available to everybody. We hope that as more customers have the chance to experience it, they'll enjoy traveling in it as much as we've enjoyed designing it,” said Alex Cruz, <a href="" target="_blank">CEO of British Airways</a>.</p><img alt="British Airways Business Class "src=""><p>Amenities and space are two luxuries that have never been cheap, but if you’re flying business and have the budget, British Airways’ new Club Suites might make the extra fare worth it.</p>
Categories: Travel

LAX Just Broke Ground on a New $4.9-billion Project So You Can Take the Metro to the Airport

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 06:01
<p><a href="">Los Angeles</a> began construction last week of a $4.9 billion project that will connect <a href="" target="_blank">LAX Airport</a> to the city’s public transportation system, potentially making it easier for visitors without a car to navigate their way around.</p><p>“In Los Angeles, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘hey, can you give me a ride to LAX?’” <a href="" target="_blank">County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Thursday</a>. “In a few years, our answer to that dreaded question will be ‘no, take Metro.’”</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles Automated People Mover (APM)</a> will transport visitors around the airport terminals, to a Metro rail station or to their rental car pick-up. Unlike similar trains at New York’s JFK or Newark airports, this air-train will be free to anybody to access.</p><p>According to a video released by the mayor online, the new train will “significantly reduce congestion” currently on airport roads. LAX believes that the project will offset the carbon impact of <a href="" target="_blank">12 million vehicular miles driven around the airport.</a> It’s expected that 30 million people per year will use the train.</p><p>Trains, capable of carrying 200 passengers and their luggage at a time, will travel the 2.25-mile track (with six stops) in 10 minutes. The completely-electric trains will run every two minutes, 24/7. Top speeds are capped at 47 miles per hour.</p><p>“We can't have a truly world-class airport until we have public transit that brings people right to the terminals,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti <a href="" target="_blank">said at a ceremony for the project</a>.</p><p>The APM is expected to be completed and fully operational by 2023. The project is part of Los Angeles’s preparations for hosting the 2028 Olympics. In fact, the trains will be outfitted in special Olympics 2028 livery. Multiple terminals have already undergone renovation ahead of the global event.</p><p>Last year, LAX set an all-time record, with 87.5 million passengers passing through its doors (about three million more than in 2017). <a href="" target="_blank">According to the Federal Aviation Administration</a>, it is the second-busiest airport in the country.</p>
Categories: Travel

Flower-crazed Tourists and Instagrammers Cause ‘Super Bloom Apocalypse’ in California

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 05:14
<p>Who knew flowers could cause so much trouble?</p><p>City officials in Lake Elsinore, California have been forced to shut down Walker Canyon after last weekend, according to <em><a href="" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>. The reason isn’t because of fires, floods, falling rocks or any other dangerous natural disasters in the area.</p><p>It’s because of poppies.</p><p>Or rather, it’s because of the insatiable popularity of the poppies. Last weekend, thousands of visitors flocked to see the <a href="" target="_blank">“super bloom”</a> in Lake Elsinore, a special time of year when all the flowers off of Interstate 15 bloom at the same time in a stunning display of color.</p><img alt=": The super bloom creates a traffic jam along the 15 freeway as wildflower enthusiasts wait to exit towards Walker Canyon on March 9, 2019 in Lake Elsinore, California. "src=""><p>Unfortunately, travelers in search of the colorful flowers created a public safety crisis, <a href=";utm_term=.f67d45c7e1e6" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em> reported</a>.</p><p>Officials announced that “Disneyland sized crowds” strained resources on the small city of only 66,000.</p><p>“This weekend has been unbearable...We will evaluate all options next week including ways to shut this down...We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community,” the city said in a statement on Sunday on social media.</p><p>According to <em>USA Today</em>, both flower-loving tourists and people desperately searching for the perfect Instagram post have contributed to the frenzy. At least one injury was reported on Saturday, as the flowers grow on steep sides of the canyon that are not developed for pedestrians.</p><p><em>USA Today</em> reported sightings of people trying to take photos by climbing or hiking to dangerous spots, sometimes involving their pets and children as well.</p><p>The Instagram culture of taking photos from <a href="" target="_blank">high peaks or waterfalls</a>, with <a href="" target="_blank">wild animals</a>, or even <a href="" target="_blank">hanging out of moving trains</a>, is often a subject of concern since it allegedly promotes doing dangerous stunts just to get a good photo.</p><p>City officials in Lake Elsinore expected crowds for this year’s bloom, but nothing quite as intense as what they got, according to <em>The Washington Post</em>.</p><p>“The City has expended all available resources to address the #SuperBloom,” the city said in post on Saturday. “Our small City can not sustain crowds of this magnitude...We are running out of options.”</p><p>“Our employees that have been working 7 days straight and 12 hour days are being met with the worst kinds of behavior,” the city wrote in another post on Sunday.</p><p>Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos wrote on Facebook, “We're short-handed. One of our employees was hit and run by a driver. A rattlesnake bit a visitor. Residents have been screaming at the people directing traffic.”</p><p>The poppies are expected to stay in bloom next weekend, helped by forecasts of rain. However, with the canyon shut down and the gridlock as bad as it is, it might be a good idea to skip the super bloom this year.</p><p>There are, however, plenty of other places to see masses of blooming flowers. Texas is having its <a href="" target="_blank">best bluebonnet bloom in the last 10 years</a>, and the <a href="" target="_blank">annual National Cherry Blossom Festival</a> in Washington D.C. is just around the corner.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where to Stay in Denver: The Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for Every Type of Traveler

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 13:01
<p>With the easy layout of its streets and smooth transitions between neighborhoods, Denver is among the most walkable cities in the U.S.</p><p>You’ll find plenty to discover in historic downtown, where a 19th-century train station and hotel are both in operation today. If you’re a night owl, you’ll love the upbeat spirit of RiNo, whose concentration of craft breweries, street art murals, and karaoke bars has captivated hipster foodies.</p><p>For a city so obsessed with the great outdoors, <a href="" target="_blank">Denver</a> has a remarkably sophisticated stock of high-end hotels, many of which reflect the unique history and culture of their surroundings. Here are the best places to stay in Denver.</p><h2>Where to Stay in Denver for families: LoDo</h2><img alt="Sunset storm in Lower Downtown Denver "src=""><p>Despite its funky sounding name, LoDo is just an abbreviation for Lower Downtown. As such, it’s a convenient place for families to get a feel for Denver’s main attractions, like historic Larimer Square,<a href="" target="_blank"> Elitch Gardens Water Park</a> and the<a href="" target="_blank"> Children’s Museum</a>. For baseball fans, the proximity to Coors Field only adds to LoDo’s broad appeal.</p><h3>Magnolia Hotel</h3><p>Want a place with style? The Magnolia just wrapped up renovating its rooms this spring, and the results are fantastic—the sleek, neutral rooms are reminiscent of an airy studio apartment (some of the suites even have fireplaces). Be sure to grab a free cookie before bed: the hotel bakes them fresh from 8-10 p.m. each night.</p><p><em>818 17th St., Denver, CO 80202, 303 607 9000, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book</strong>: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h3>The Maven</h3><p>Opened last year, the Maven’s signature bunk beds offer a neat perk for families. Unusual rooming options here aren’t the only featured amenity, though. There’s also an airstream trailer where you can eat breakfast, and an <a href="" target="_blank">adjoining food hall</a> with over 20 different vendors.</p><p><em>1850 Wazee St., Denver, CO 80202, 720 460 2727, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h3>Four Seasons</h3><p>You can expect top-tier service at this venerated chain, whose concierge desk is well-experienced in helping families plan out their itineraries. You won’t go amiss if the weather’s bad, either: A library with DVDs, boardgames, and Nintendo Wii ensures the little ones won’t get bored.</p><p><em>1111 14th St., Denver, CO 80202, 303 389 3000, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h2>Where to Stay in Denver for Nightlife: RiNo</h2><img alt="Lauren Lowe mixes up a drink at the RiNo Yacht Club "src=""><p>Within the past five years, this industrial wedge along the Avon River has become an unlikely magnet for edgy restaurants, bars, and late-night breweries. It all started in 2013 with The Source, an eclectic market hall with food and design vendors; further up, on Hanover St, the bars spill onto charming patios and stay buzzing well into the night.</p><h3>The Ramble</h3><p>Don’t bother making plans to go out if you stay at this stylish newcomer, which has a vague Parisian feel. Below the 50 rooms, there is a booming lobby scene with leather studded couches and huge beaded chandeliers. Death &amp; Co. operates a bar and late-night restaurant here, and there’s also a posh dining room by CHEF.</p><p><em>1280 25th St., Denver, CO 80205, 720 996 6300, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h3>Source Hotel</h3><p>Building on the success of the market hall next door, the Source recently expanded its footprint with a 100-room concept hotel. Mini Japanese soaking tubs in the rooms, plus a 10-barrel on-site brewery and the neighborhood’s first rooftop bar, make this one a must.</p><p><em>3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216, 800 570 6216, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><h2>Where to Stay in Denver for History Buffs: Union Station</h2><img alt="Union Station, Denver "src=""><p>Practically every building in this tiny district neighboring LoDo deserves close inspection—especially Union Station, a Beaux Arts train terminal that miraculously looks as stunning today as it did on opening day, in 1884. When you’re not poking around the old ticket kiosks, you can head across the street to try on <a href="" target="_blank">Rockmount’s signature cowboy shirts</a>, or dine in one of the nearby Denver institutions like <a href="" target="_blank">Rioja</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Sam’s No. 3</a>.</p><h3>Hotel Born</h3><p>For a modern take on an old ‘hood, this Kimpton dwelling recently opened directly behind Union Station. Chilled-out but classy, the hotel features an upscale steakhouse, with reasonably priced entrees from $34.</p><p><em>1600 Wewatta St., Denver, CO 80202, 303 323 0024, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h3>Oxford Hotel</h3><p>If these walls could talk — they’d be full of rowdy, drunken banter. The lavish Oxford has been open since 1891, and even retains its original bar, the Art Deco-inspired Cruise Room, the first bar in Denver to reopen after Prohibition.</p><p><em>1600 17th St., Denver, CO 80202, 303 628 5400, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h2>Where to Stay in Denver for Culture Lovers: Golden Triangle Creative District</h2><img alt="Hamilton Art Museum in Civic Centre Park, downtown Denver "src=""><p>Set just below Civic Center Park, adjacent to the Colorado State Capitol, this small section of downtown is perfect for museum hopping. In a 3-block radius, you can hit the <a href="" target="_blank">Denver Art Museum</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Kirkland Museum</a>, and a separate museum devoted <a href="" target="_blank">exclusively to the work of Clyfford Still</a>, an abstract painter and contemporary of Jackson Pollock. Nearby, you can also browse through the <a href="" target="_blank">former possessions of Molly Brown</a>, a survivor from the Titanic.</p><h3>Art Hotel</h3><p>Curators and collectors will pay more attention to what’s hanging on the walls here than what’s in the minibar. Armed with an expansive private art collection, the hotel is also a blast after-hours: The restaurant, Fire, serves cocktails named after specific artists. (Try the Frida Kahlo, a riff on smoked mezcal.)</p><p><em>1201 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203, 303 572 8000, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><h2>Where to Stay in Denver for Shopping: Cherry Creek</h2><img alt="The Cherry Creek North shopping district "src=""><p>If you want to shop, you’d better book a night (or three) here. Cherry Creek, an upscale enclave 15 minutes east of downtown, is a hotbed of retail therapy. Make your way up East 3rd Avenue’s cluster of trendy boutiques, and wander in and out of luxury outlets in <a href="" target="_blank">Cherry Creek Shopping Center</a>. Either way, you and your credit card will be kept plenty busy.</p><h3>Halcyon Hotel</h3><p>From the intimate arrival, to the record players strategically placed in the rooms (guests can even choose which records they want waiting for them), this discreet hotel will make you think you’ve ended up at an old friend’s apartment—albeit one with a rooftop pool and a “Top Chef” winner in the kitchen.</p><p><em>245 Columbine St., Denver, CO 80206, 844 442 5296, <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a></p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Instagram Captions for a Disney Vacation

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 11:00
<p>Visiting <a href="" target="_blank">Walt Disney World or Disneyland</a> makes for an exciting vacation — and with so many <a href="" target="_blank">colorful walls</a>, Disney characters and <a href="" target="_blank">Mickey-shaped foods</a> to enjoy, it’s no surprise it doubles as an Instagram playground. Brainstorming the ideal photo caption while on vacation can be tricky, so much like our advice on <a href="" target="_blank">when to visit Walt Disney World</a> or how to book the best Fastpasses, we’ve gathered the best Instagram captions, no matter if you’re traveling to Disney with friends, family or <a href="" target="_blank">a significant other</a>.</p><p>From funny and quirky to heartfelt and lovey, plus everything in between, these quotes and turns of phrase pair perfectly with that snap of you channeling your favorite Disney princess, hugging Mickey Mouse for the very first time or anxiously boarding <a href="" target="_blank">Walt Disney World’s best roller coasters</a>.</p><p>Whether you’re a die-hard Disney film fan or have never even <a href="" target="_blank">seen Cinderella Castle</a> in person, these captions are sure to give your vacation photos the perfect touch of pixie dust — and plenty of Instagram likes. (If only you could trade those hearts in for a Mickey bar!)</p><h2>First Time Visits to Walt Disney World</h2><p>Chewie, we’re home</p><p>You miss 100% of the castles you don’t see</p><p>Hei Hei from Walt Disney World</p><p>Life is the bubbles! Ready to spend the next four days in the happiest place on earth (insert heart emoji)</p><p>Took a highway in the sky to my turreted castle home to ride an elephant, fly over London by pixie dust and go mad inside a teacup :)</p><p>We tried to rent this place but some girl Cinderella already had it for the week *insert shrug emoji*</p><p>All you need is faith, trust and pixie dust — and a Fastpass for [insert name of favorite ride]</p><p>And at last I see the lights (insert fireworks emoji)</p><img alt="Disney Vacation Captions "src=""><h2>Family Trips to Walt Disney World</h2><p>“Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind” - “Lilo &amp; Stitch” “Unless they walk too slowly towards Space Mountain” - Me</p><p>I want to be where these people are *insert heart emoji*</p><p>I’m so excited to be at Disney World with my family...and not just because my Magic Band is linked to their account</p><p>Hakuna Matata from the happiest place on earth</p><p>Oh no, I’m the Jack-Jack</p><img alt="Disney Vacation Captions "src=""><h2>Instagram Captions for Disney Selfies</h2><p>“Get in the elephant, loser, we’re going shopping”</p><p>I’m like Dory, I can’t remember anything before this trip</p><p>If I lived here, I’d be home by now</p><p>“Let it go” - me to all the cash in my wallet</p><p>Forget about your worries and your strife because my out-of-office is up and i’m not answering :)</p><h2>Lovely Couples and Disney Wedding Captions</h2><p>You’ve got a (forever) friend in me</p><p>Can you feel the love tonight?</p><p>Dreaming a little dream</p><p>Love is a song that never ends</p><p>You are my greatest adventure</p><p>Fairytales do come true, and this one is proof</p><p>I’ve finally found my happily ever after</p><p>That glass slipper, floating lantern, magic carpet kind of love</p><img alt="Disney Vacation Captions "src=""><h2>Instagram Captions For Disney Food</h2><p>Olaf said love is putting someone else’s needs before yours...unless they want a bite of my Mickey Waffles</p><p>A dream is a wish your heart makes, and I’m glad mine wished for <a href="" target="_blank">Dole Whip</a></p><p>Everything the light touches is our lunch...I mean kingdom</p><p>Sorry, I only eat foods that are Mickey-shaped</p><p>Some is for lil’ chef, I promise!</p><p>Eating so much I’ve outgrown Peter Pan’s shadow</p><p>I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast — and eaten a few more, too!</p><p>If wealth was marked by Mickey Bars I’d be a zillionaire</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Should Plan a Stargazing Road Trip in Idaho

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/17/2019 - 12:01
<p>If there’s one thing you should know about downtown Boise, it’s this: don’t go on a Sunday. The wide streets and 25-mile tree-lined <a href="" target="_blank">Greenbelt</a> make for a relaxed stroll, but judging from what we saw, this capital enjoys its day of rest. After landing at Boise airport and picking up our rental car, a lonely crew of <a href="" target="_blank">booze bikers</a> tearing down Main Street was the only sign of life we encountered.</p><img alt="Idaho, Ketchum, downtown "src=""><p>My friend Jack and I came to Idaho not to window shop, or explore Boise’s exotic <a href="" target="_blank">Basque cultural district</a>, but to get our stargazing on. Idaho is <a href="" target="_blank">home to the country’s first dark-sky reserve</a>, and as such, the potato state is drawing more astrophiles than ever. Particularly in mid-August, when the <a href="" target="_blank">Perseid meteor</a> shower <a href="" target="_blank">makes its annual appearance</a>. So, after our lunch, we were on our way.</p><h2>Ketchum, Idaho</h2><p>Google offered us three options for getting to Ketchum, the epicenter for all astral activity — and <a href="" target="_blank">final resting place of Ernest Hemingway</a>. We set off down Highway 21, also known as the <a href="" target="_blank">Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway</a>. At nearly four hours, it’s not the fastest route to Ketchum, by any means, but as the name implies, it’s easy on the eyes.</p><img alt="Ponderosa Pines Scenic Byway near Boise, Idaho "src=""><p>Shortly after leaving Boise, we began traveling through wide-open valley plains, where the sun-scorched tallgrass looked about as silky golden as a cup of honey. We were soon ascending into Boise National Forest, where the road took on a dreamy, Route 66-esque quality: a diminishing line of tarmac, conveying us through the wild expanse of the American west. Our view was sunbeams, telephone wires, and a whole lot of empty prairie.</p><p>No cell service reaches the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, but it was just as well. The unplugged mountain drive left us time to fantasize about the Perseid meteors, and what it would actually be like to witness a night sky without any light pollution.</p><p>We also found out it was going to be a new moon that night, which meant even better visibility than normal. The stars, it seemed, were truly aligned.</p><h2>Staying in Ketchum</h2><p>“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end,” wrote Hemingway, and in regards to our excursion from Boise, it couldn’t have been more true. While Boise National Forest felt pristine, vast, spellbinding, arriving in Ketchum early Sunday evening was uneventful.</p><p>Our hotel, the <a href="" target="_blank">Limelight</a>, looked out over Main Street, which has a Wild West-style saloon, a performing arts center, and a handful of high-end restaurants (As ski towns go, Ketchum is often billed as a tinier, quainter Aspen). Dinner at the Mediterranean-inspired <a href="" target="_blank">Town Square Tavern</a> was delicious. But the most exciting part of the night came after — when we headed into the backcountry to see stars.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Central Idaho Dark-Sky Reserve</a> covers a huge area of land — 906,000 acres, to be exact. Of course, stars are visible all over Idaho, but here you can really dive deep into darkness. In fact, as one of the <a href="" target="_blank">least densely populated states</a>, Idaho was made for stargazing.</p><img alt="Galena Lodge, Idaho "src=""><p>Ketchum is contained inside the designated area, and stars can certainly be viewed here, but we opted to drive 30 minutes north, to <a href="" target="_blank">Galena Lodge</a>, a rustic family resort with Nordic trails, yurts, and a whole lot of empty space.</p><h2>Stargazing in Idaho</h2><p>Supporting “the needs of wildlife” is listed as one of the virtues of a dark-sky reserve, like the one in Idaho (others have been designated in far-flung places like <a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Wales</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Namibia</a>). But they do just as much to stoke our own human sense of wonder.</p><img alt="Beautiful Stanley Lake, Stanley, Idaho during night with milky way in the background. "src=""><p>So, what’s it like to stand in the middle of a dark-sky reserve, on a new moon, during a meteor shower? Freaking awesome. After pulling into the parking lot at Galena Lodge, we hiked about 15 minutes to a field, where a few other star folk had gathered to watch. Aside from our small group of 10 or so, there was no one else around for miles. Settling into our portable folding chairs, we turned off our headlamps and turned our attention to the glorious inky void above.</p><img alt="Star trails over Sawtooth Range, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho, USA "src=""><p>Finally, the big reveal. A wash of stars, including the Scorpius constellation, and Pegasus, and ruby red Mars all competed for our attention. The richly silhouetted Milky Way was as seamless as oozing lava, or free-fluttering gauze, delicately embroidered with millions of tiny twinkling gems. And every three or four minutes, a yellowish-green streak would go skating across the sky, eliciting sudden “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from the small audience.</p><img alt="Starry night sky over Redfish Lake, Idaho. "src=""><p>On the drive back to our hotel, I strained my head out of the window to catch a glimpse of a few last meteors, stealing over the peaks of the Sawtooths.</p><h2>Don't miss: Sawtooth National Forest</h2><p>Of course, not everyone will be lucky enough to time their trip to the Perseid meteor shower. If you can, try to sync up with a new moon, to maximize the darkness. And spend some time exploring the wilderness of Sawtooth National Forest, the entrance to which sits just beyond Ketchum.</p><img alt="The Sawtooth Range sits in the distance in a meadow, in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area of Stanley, Idaho. "src=""><p>There are tons of accessible and easy-to-navigate campgrounds, like <a href="" target="_blank">Caribou</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Murdock</a>, both of which are excellent for fly-fishing and have dozens of scenic hiking trails leading up into the mountains. No prior camping experience? It doesn’t matter in Idaho. Locals are friendly, and often willing to help point you in the right direction if you seem lost.</p><p>My only regret? Not packing some warmer clothes. As it turns out, the mountains get freezing cold at night — even in mid-August — and neither my friend nor I had dressed appropriately</p><p>On our last night, snuggled in our tent at Caribou campground, we headed to bed early, since it seemed a better option than shivering in the open air. Nevertheless, I happened to poke my head out around 2 a.m. to scan the brilliant sky. In just a few seconds, a bright meteor projected itself over the northern horizon, sending a wave of joy through my half-asleep body. My <a href="" target="_blank">packing skills</a> left something to be desired, but I sure was warming up to Idaho.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Most Exciting New Flights Routes Coming This Spring and Summer

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/17/2019 - 11:01
<p>If <a href="" target="_blank">winter</a> is wearing you down, perk up by planning your spring or <a href="" target="_blank">summer getaway</a> now with some of these new airline routes and added services ready to fly you through the warmer months. </p><p>Budget carrier <a href="" target="_blank">Allegiant Air</a> recently announced 19 new nonstop routes for the summer season, including six new routes to Nashville, TN (BNA) and seven new routes to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in the Florida Panhandle.</p><p>Allegiant will fly twice a week between Nashville and Cleveland, OH; Allentown and Harrisburg, PA; Cedar Rapids, IA; Orlando, FL; and Bentonville, AK. Twice-weekly flights to Destin, FL will originate in Des Moines, IA; Little Rock, AK; Shreveport, LA; Wichita, KS: Rockford, IL; Huntington, WV; and Toledo, OH.</p><p>See introductory fares (some as low as $38 each way) on these and other new Allegiant routes <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p>This summer <a href="" target="_blank">Condor Airlines</a> is increasing the frequency of many of its flights from the U.S. to <a href="" target="_blank">Frankfurt, Germany</a>. Flights from Las Vegas and Portland, OR will be offered five times a week, while flights from Phoenix will fly three times a week. All flights operate on Boeing 767-300 aircraft and fares start as low as $279.99 one-way.</p><p>Beginning May 13, 2019, <a href="" target="_blank">El Al Israel Airlines</a> joins United Airlines in offering nonstop flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Tel Aviv (TLV). El Al’s flights will be on a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner and operate three times a week. More details <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Norwegian Air</a>, which recently announced the discontinuation of its flights between the U.S. and the Caribbean after March 31, will be adding seasonal flights between New York and Athens, Greece and between Chicago and Barcelona, Spain this summer.</p><p>Service between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) to Barcelona’s El-Prat Airport (BCN) will begin June 7, 2019 and continue through Oct. 26, 2019. Flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Athens International Airport (ATH) start on July 2, 2019 and continue through Oct. 26. Both flights will operate four times a week. One-way economy fares start at $159 for flights to Athens and $199 for flights to Barcelona. More details <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Spirit Airlines</a> will launch four daily routes from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in June, including flights to Baltimore (BWI), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Newark (EWR) and Orlando. The BWI flights kick off June 20, while the others start on June 19.</p><p>Spirit began its daily, year-round nonstop service between New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airports (MSY) and both Austin, TX (AUS) and Denver (DEN) on Valentine’s Day and will begin seasonal service, four-times weekly, between New Orleans and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) on May 2.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">TAP Air Portugal</a> begins flying between San Francisco International Airport and Lisbon Airport (LIS) on June 10, 2019. The non-stop, year-round flights will operate five times a week and be operated on a new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft that offers free text messaging for passengers the entire flight.</p><p>And <a href="" target="_blank">United Airlines</a> continues to boost service from its Denver hub. </p><p>On June 6, daily, year-round service will begin from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina (GSP) and Syracuse, NY (SYR). Weekend-only seasonal service will be offered between DEN and both Portland, ME (PWM) and Ft. Myers, FL (RSW) starting June 8.</p><p>Keep in mind as you start planning your summer travel that starting June 1 some major airlines will begin adding <a href="" target="_blank">new gender options during the booking process</a> for passengers who identify as non-binary.</p>
Categories: Travel