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TravelBits

Across the Pond

Norse Atlantic Airways, a Norway-based low-cost carrier that debuted last year, recently began selling tickets for its new transatlantic service between New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). Round-trip fares start at just $321 for the daily flights, which will begin on Friday, August 12, 2022. Take note, as with other low-cost, no-frills carriers, Norse pairs its most affordable tickets with copious extra fees for carry-on bags, meals, seat selection, and anything else they can think of.
Source: Business Insider

Oldest on Earth

The record for hotel longevity goes to Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, Japan. The 35-room inn has been in continuous operation since 705 A.D. — that’s more than 30 years before the birth of Charlemagne. In the hotel’s 1,300-year history, visitors ranging from samurai warriors to modern-day tourists have sought its remote location at the foot of the Akaishi Mountains to sample the principal attraction: a series of hot springs that have fed the hotel’s pools from the beginning. Perhaps most incredibly of all, the inn has been in the same family for 52 generations.
Source: Frommer’s

Snag a Great Deal

The most popular destination on Skyscanner, a travel booking engine and app with 75 million active users, is a search setting called “everywhere.” When searching for flights, the traveler plugs her home airport into the “from” field. In the “to” field, an option appears for searching “everywhere.” This simple trick can surface a panoply of tempting — and very affordable — options far below the average cost of airfare.
Source: The Barefoot Nomad

Heavy Waves

Big-wave surfers need more than skill, strength, and courage; nature and geography also must cooperate. The waters off Nazaré, Portugal, cooperate in a big way. Just-right conditions there have churned out some of the largest waves ever surfed. In winter, the waves off North Beach (Praia do Norte) average about 15 meters (50 feet) high. On an exceptional day, surfers can catch a wave towering around 24 meters (80 feet).
Source: NASA Earth Observatory


One for the Birds

Take a guided tour of artist-created birdhouses at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this summer, and you’ll find a travel goods blast from the past — a fanciful birdhouse made from American Tourister’s 1933 molded cosmetic case which was widely distributed worldwide. Source: Rose and George Cassius

Smithsonian of the West

Wyoming’s best museum is without doubt the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody — in fact, a complex of five museums, only one of which focuses on Western showman Bill Cody himself. The Plains Indian Museum is a peerless place to learn about regional Native American heritage (look for the extraordinary tepee made from 13 buffalo hides), while the Gallery of Western Art features iconic works by the artists who helped define the image we have today of the West.
Source: Lonely Planet

Most Rewarding

WalletHub recently released its picks for 2022’s Best Hotel Rewards Programs to help travelers maximize their savings. WalletHub’s study ranks the 10 largest U.S. hotel chains’ rewards programs based on 21 key metrics, including the average value of a point, point expiration policies, and the volatility of award-night pricing. Radisson Rewards Americas took the top spot as the best hotel loyalty program for travelers of all spending levels in 2022. And WalletHub declared the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card as the best hotel credit card of 2022 because it is affordable and highly rewarding.
Source: WalletHub

AKA “The Grand Canyon of the East”

Letchworth State Park, 35 miles south of Rochester, NY, contains myriad opportunities for adventure throughout its spectacular 14,350 acres and 66 miles of trails, from cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in winter to whitewater rafting and hot air balloon rides. It is also home to the Autism Nature Trail, an innovative, neurodiverse-inclusive program. Consult the Finger Lakes Trail website for routes, itineraries, and other resources related to the 950+-mile-long network.
Source: Forbes

Take a Breather

The experts at Psychic World investigated the most Instagrammable tranquil locations from around the USA revealing that Joshua Tree National Park in California came in first, with a massive 2,077,918 million people using the hashtag. This research is part of a larger study into the best locations to relax around the world and can be viewed at PsychicWorld.com.
Source: journalistic.org

No Excuses Necessary

American Express will now allow customers to cancel a flight for any reason, allowing card holders to book their next trip with a little more peace of mind. Going forward, travelers who book a flight through Amex Travel will be able to cancel that flight for any reason and receive up to a 75% reimbursement of the nonrefundable flight. To take advantage of the new benefit, called “Trip Cancel Guard,” travelers must cancel at least two calendar days before their departure date. However, it’s worth noting that the “Trip Cancel Guard” option must be purchased at the time of booking.
Source: The Points Guy

Backyard Dining

The under-the-radar dining experience at Regina’s Farm has become one of the hardest-to-snag reservations in South Florida. Tucked in a quiet neighborhood far from Fort Lauderdale’s glitzy artery (Las Olas Boulevard) and white sand beaches, you’ll find this unassuming, Brazilian-infused utopia. Owned in part by its namesake, Regina Rodrigues, it has become so buzzworthy that it’s already booked through July 2024, making it one of the hottest reservations in South Florida, if not the entire state.
Source: ReginasFarm.com

Rare Amenity

Behold, one of the most celebrated in-flight amenities in the history of commercial aviation: the Delft Blue House. Fly up front with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and you’re gifted with its signature keepsake — and fans of the Dutch airline have been collecting its signature keepsake for decades. Identifiable by its blue-and-white glaze, Delftware is a style of pottery that’s been associated with the eponymous Dutch city since the mid-17th century.
Source: Travel + Leisure

Airbnb of the Outdoors

HipCamp offers roughly 400,000 camp-friendly destinations across the U.S., with a local camping tool so you can book safe sites, both on public lands and private property (campgrounds, vineyards, public parks, and more) within two hours of home.
Source: The New Yorker

Truly Eye-catching

Pentagon Motor Group analyzed more than 7 million Instagram hashtags to find the world’s most stunning routes. The research found Australia’s Great Ocean Road is the most beautiful road trip in the world, followed closely by California’s Big Sur and Jebel Hafeet in the United Arab Emirates. That means there’s truly a road trip for everyone, no matter where you are in the world.
Source: Pentagon Motor Group

Dive Into It

Off the coast of Brazil, halfway between São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, sits the wilderness wonderland of Ilha Grande. There are hotels on the island, but it manages to feel largely untouched with monkey-filled jungles surrounded by brilliant blue waters. Dive into the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon (Lagoa Azul) to swim with seahorses, ogle the underwater coves, and follow a turtle or angelfish through a sunken jungle. The waters off of Ilha Grande are also home to dozens of shipwrecks — remnants of the battles between pirates and the Portuguese.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Timing is Everything – Sort of…

A good rule of thumb for travelers wondering how to get cheap last-minute flights: There is no secret time to score the perfect deal. But generally, the best prices tend to drop off once the flight is less than three weeks away, according to Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. If it’s 21 days before you plan to travel and you haven’t spotted a flight deal to your destination, you’ll want to stop waiting and book the airfare available. That’s because airlines’ automated fare systems are configured to treat later bookings as last-minute business traveler flights and price them accordingly (high, in other words).
Source: CN Traveler

Iconic Tree

New Zealand’s Lake Wanaka rests on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, offering scenic sierra views to those willing to hike. And seeming to sprout from the depths the lake, an iconic lonely willow tree has caught the eye of countless visitors to the South Island. Its delicately curved trunk seemingly grows directly out of the pristine waters of Lake Wanaka. Indeed, the tree appears to be floating on the surface of the water. It’s not a miracle, just an illusion perpetrated by nature.
Source: National Geographic

Don’t Break the Bank

The Michelin Guide awards restaurants stars for fine dining. But that doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune to eat fine food. Here’s where to eat out if you don’t fancy bourguignon tonight.

  1. The cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant is Hostellerie la Montagne in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, France, where the set menu is €20 (US $24.52).
  2. The cheapest American eatery with a Michelin star is State Bird Provisions in San Francisco with a 3-course-meal for $45.
  3. The cheapest three-star restaurant is Le Palais in Taiwan with a set meal for NT $3,800 (US $138.63).
  4. America’s cheapest three-star meal is at Le Bernardin in New York City, where the Prix Fixe is $175.

Source: Top Dollar: Financial Insights HUB

Underwater Museum

In 1985, a local sponge fisherman and his teenage son discovered the Peristera, an enormous vessel that sank around 425 B.C. off the east coast of Alonissos. Dubbed the Parthenon of shipwrecks, the Peristera was one of the largest classical ships ever found. Three decades later, the ‘Parthenon of Shipwrecks’ is finally open to amateur scuba divers. And as a post-dive bonus, you can savor life on a small Greek Island.
Source: Wall Street Journal

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