Recent Instagram posts from the TSA have included the “Massacre” prop, the Batarang–actually multiple Batarangs–as well as an armory of handguns, knives, throwing stars and a hacksaw or two.

In between photos of some cute bomb sniffing dogs, the TSA has been patting itself on the back with each discovery of a dangerous weapon. There’s even a hashtag: #TSAGoodCatch.

But the TSA says there’s another, more important reason why’s posting the items.

“Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds,” it says. “Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000.”

With each post, it also provides a friendly reminder to what’s permisable inside your carry on.

“While firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, you can pack them in your checked baggage, as long as you meet the packing guidelines,” it says, providing a link to: bit.ly/travelingwithfirearms.A passenger tried to board an airplane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with a camouflaged double-bladed knife shaped like a Batarang Batman would strap to his utility belt. Another was traveling with a prop of a dead body from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” (SEE PHOTO ABOVE)

Transportation Security Administration staff at airports have been surprised at just what passengers think is air-worthy–so much so that they’ve been keeping tabs and sharing them online through an Instagram feed and blog. 


​​As for knives, they “are always prohibited in carry-on bags no matter the size. Concealed knives can lead to fines and arrest.”

And don’t even think about carrying a bejeweled lipstick stun gun. Yes, that was an item confiscated by the TSA in Atlanta.

“All stun guns are prohibited from being packed in carry-on bags or carried on your person,” notes the TSA.

The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” prop was just fine, however.

According to the TSA, “he was screened and sent on his jolly way.”
​​

Average rating: 3 stars

​Hip rooms with pine floors and art deco style furnishings, one of the most photographed hotels.

​Address: 736 Ocean Drive

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By Carla Martilotti


Those little add-ons can build up quickly.

In the big complicated world of travel, with fluctuating airfares, hotel rewards points, and transit maps that look like an airplane schematic, renting a car is one of the simplest, most straightforward things you can do. But avoiding the extra fees, charges, and “because we feel like it” add-ons can be tricky. So here’s a quick guide on how to get around some common ones.

Collision Damage Waiver

Some rental car agencies will try and scare you into buying their collision damage waiver by saying things like, “So you’re comfortable being completely liable for any damage caused if you, for example, hit a school bus and turn it into a giant rolling fireball?” Don’t get freaked out. Yes, the CDW does provide good protection, but costs $20 a day or more.

Your credit card often provides rental car insurance if you use it for the rental, so always check with your card company first. Also, your personal auto insurance sometimes covers rental liability, so look into that as well. Bottom line, the CDW is frequently unnecessary, so it’s an easily avoidable extra cost.

Gas fees

The little sign at the rental counter inviting you to prepay the entire tank is tempting: The price per gallon they charge to prepay is substantially less than the average price in the city. But don’t be fooled! Unless you know, for a fact, you’re going to use an entire tank of gas during your trip, you’ll end up giving them whatever gas is left for free. It’s almost always ultimately cheaper to return the car full.


​If you do that, however, make sure not to return it with less gas than you started with. Refill costs can be a staggering $15 a gallon, and if you don’t budget time to refill before you drop off, an empty tank can add hundreds of dollars to your bill. If you don’t know the city well, use an app like GasBuddy to locate stations near the airport, and budget an extra 15-20 minutes to fill up.

Damage Fees

Even if you’re in a hurry, always take a few minutes to inspect the car for any damage it might have before leaving the lot. The people charged with inspecting it pre-rental aren’t always sticklers for detail, and sometimes miss large scratches and dings. Of course, the people charged with inspecting a car post-rental have the attention to detail of a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, and will attempt to charge you for any small discrepancy. That's not to say they’re at all dishonest, but it’s as much your responsibility as theirs to note any damage before you leave.


Airport concession fees

Renting in the city is almost always cheaper than renting at the airport because of airport concession fees—basically, convenience fees the airport charges agencies to operate on airport grounds. If you have the time, and the cost of getting to and from the city is minimal, you can avoid this fee by renting off-airport. Just be sure to leave extra time when returning the car.

There are some other fees, like underage driver fees and city taxes that are fairly unavoidable. But for things like gas, insurance, and damage you didn’t do, there’s no need to spend extra. Just be smart, and renting a car doesn’t need to be an expensive part of your vacation.

Since currency exchange desks in airports often hit travelers with sky-high transaction fees, the airport is probably not the best place to exchange your money. It sure is convenient, so if you’re willing to pay the price for that, so be it. A good strategy is to get foreign currency by taking out money at an ATM in your destination; this way, you’ll likely get the best interbank exchange rate, which is usually much better than rates offered at airport exchange counters. Contact your bank before your trip for more information on any possible foreign transaction fees.

American Airlines: Bouncing back after Hurricane Irma

5. Southwest Airlines

Score: 77.35

You knew Japan would end up on this list somewhere, didn't you? Well, perhaps it's not too surprising that they've got their own fascinating food custom or two, but more surprising is the form it takes: The traditional Christmas dinner all across Japan is KFC. Yep, that KFC. It began with the release of a KFC Christmas "party barrel" in 1970 which sought to recreate the traditional American Christmas dinner, just with fried chicken in the place of the turkey. By 1974, the promotion had been extended across the nation and, with no other Christmas traditions really existing in Japan at the time, KFC simply filled the gap.

Today, the KFC Christmas meal includes fried chicken, salad and a more traditional Japanese Christmas cake. It's estimated that 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC during the season, and food is ordered weeks in advance to beat the rush.

So you think you're fancy? You think that Michelin restaurant you visited last year is the pinnacle of choreographed, opulent dining? Think again. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the British royal family — you know, the most famous family on the planet, and one of the wealthiest, too — live an utterly unique gastronomic lifestyle.

It's not just the bizarre magnificence of their meals and traditions that proves fascinating about the royals, however, but also the day-to-day quirks each of them enjoys or insists upon. The media circus behind the family often makes it easy to forget that they're, you know, actual human beings, with foods they hate and silly little preferences and personal touches they like to add to their meals. And then, of course, there's stuff like the fact that they're not allowed to drink tap water. Seriously. It's a strange life.

Those interested in the massive undertaking of not only building a cruise ship but first designing one will find a new behind-the-scenes infographic from Foreship fascinating.

The engineering consultant based in Helsinki, Finland breaks it down into 10 detailed steps following its own completion of over 100 outline projects and 15 years of total experience.

The data itself is perhaps a little dry, but I’ll try to jazz it up a bit with additional insight. For starters, it’s worth noting that the company has worked on Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway projects.


​Let’s now take a look at the steps:

Agreement of Initial Values

Foreship’s first datasheet consists of speeds, capacities, pods or shaftline and more. This is when all umbrella considerations are on the table from propulsion to passenger counts before dialing in further specifics.

Main Dimensions

Next, overall dimensions are determined by the owner and Foreship statistics. Whether a ship measures in at Panamax would’ve been determined back in the day before the Panama Canal locks were recently expanded. Neopanamax is now the updated set of measurements for the maximum canal clearances.

Outline General Arrangement

Here’s when the drafting begins. The ship’s superstructure is outlined from different views to map out proportions and placements of decks above and below the waterline. The signature side profile takes shape at this stage.

Outline Specification

Foreship says this is a state-of-the-art, 100-plus-page document. Details, details and more details are put to paper for reference.

Initial Hull Form

This is the period when two dimensions expand to three and the shape of the bow to stern is considered for effective hydrodynamics. Scale model testing will take place in tanks to see just how well the hull form behaves under various simulated sea conditions.

Initial Weight and Stability Calculations

Beyond the hull, the rest of the superstructure above is taken into account when estimating the ship’s total weight as well as its intact and damage stability. That is how well will the ship stay afloat and upright when it is in its normal state or if it is ever compromised. (By the way, all of this has to pass rigorous muster in order for a finished ship to receive international certification.)

Preliminary Midship Section

At this step, the main steel structures and dimensions are looked at for additional engineering preparations covering the remainder of the vessel.

Other Documentation

Fleshing out other systems onboard are things such as fuel and water capacity calculations, a one-line power distribution diagram and polar code compliance. For example, if an expedition ship is built to sail icy regions, its structure must adhere to additional scrutiny.

Architect Rendering and/or 3D Rendering

Once all that’s done, final architectural renderings can be imaged to better visualize the project through to construction. These are also crucial to marketing the ship to potential guests so that sales can begin well ahead of time.


Project Book

Lastly, a less extensive than before (albeit still important) 30- to 40-page project summary is plotted out in which all the former steps are recapped for posterity.

Remarkably, everything here must take place before the first piece of steel is cut. Even once building begins, further changes can still alter the process. Requests from the cruise line may call for a last-minute modification to an entire block’s design.

Such was the case with the introduction of the AquaLab on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy. The block was already installed without the interactive waterpark but had to be retooled in order to add it in.

In so doing, you can be sure plenty of said specifications and documentation had to be swapped out as well. In other words, when looking at the infographic, there are likely many other arrows heading in reverse and circular directions too.


What's Trending in Future Cruise Ship Architecture?


“What goes around comes around” is very true in the cruise industry right now, especially as it pertains to exterior ship design.

It would seem AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are the source for emerging trends as recently seen in renderings at the Seatrade Cruise Global convention.


First and foremost, the predominant strategy is to be as bold as possible. No longer can any cruise ships be cookie-cutter in nature like the seagoing equivalents of track homes flying under the radar. As competition gets increasingly stiffer, they all must stand out as much as possible, and these books will thus first be judged by their covers.

AIDA Cruises’ new AIDAprima was the first modern cruise ship to reintroduce a vertical bow, not unlike classic ocean liners but a marked departure from the more common clipper type. Next, it was expected that Celebrity Cruises would reveal that its upcoming Celebrity Edge would similarly sport the 90-degree variety seen in unofficial renderings, but the premium line has been publicly coy about revealing anything final.


Instead, Norwegian Cruise Line beat Celebrity to the punch, revealing that its future Project Leonardo ships would definitively feature more of a blunt bow. In fact, it will be slightly inverted, as the tip of the bow sits behind the leading edge that is angled outwards below. Now, some are wondering if Celebrity might pull back from its seemingly initial plans to take a similar approach.


Where Celebrity is not being shy, however, is in unveiling the Magic Carpet off the side of the Edge. Unlike the bow design, this unique feature is truly unprecedented as a cantilevered platform that serves various purposes ascending and descending the height of the ship. It’s a remarkable element that only leaves spectators questioning why the line has chosen to paint it bright orange. But it certainly is bold.

Another new trend is symmetry and asymmetry. Looking at models of Celebrity Edge’s top decks, I was impressed by a jogging track that weaves up and down like the go-kart racetrack on Norwegian’s new Norwegian Joy. Meanwhile, Project Leonardo sports a similar symmetry in length as MSC’s new MSC Seaside also does.


At first glance, it appears that the Seaside and Leonardo could almost be sister-ships. As it turns out, that might not be entirely coincidental: Back in 2013, the Fincantieri shipbuilder charged with constructing both presented its Project Mille prototype. The design calls for a narrower superstructure stabilized with a better-balanced hull—the same touted by MSC, as well as a more efficient distribution of public venues.


​With even a similar placement of glass-enclosed atriums and suspended outer decks, it would seem that Norwegian is basing its new ships on the same Fincantieri design. Different cruise brands have based ships within a shared class in the past, just as car manufacturers have matched cars on a shared platform, even as they are typically all within the same corporate family.

However, it would be unusual for two competing cruise lines to share similar hardware, even though their software would surely set them apart.

Working under the most primitive of conditions in San Juan

Beach Paradise Hotel

Congress Hotel

South Beach

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Average rating: 3.5 stars

this vintage-modern boutique hotel was named for Britain's eccentric former prime minister) is a block from the beach.

​Address: 350 Ocean Drive
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How to Know If You Have Wireless Charging

Today, many Android-powered phones are Qi-enabled, but only since this year’s release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X have Apple phones allowed wireless charging. You can check the list on this page to see if your phone is Qi-integrated.

With more phones now allowing wireless charging it’s possible that we’ll see more wireless charging spots in airports and cafes, especially now that Apple has joined the game. There has also been a recent trend of furniture integrating wireless charging spots, so it probably won’t be too long before we see them popping up on hotel nightstands, too.


​If you travel a lot and are always running out of battery, upgrading to a Qi-enabled phone now could help you find a place to charge later. If upgrading isn’t an option, there are plenty of accessories and phone cases that can let you charge wirelessly: From the mophie juice pack, which also works as an external battery, to the more affordable charging receiver that slips underneath the phone case you already have, there are lots of ways to join the wireless charging scene.

Wireless charging, especially in crowded places like airports, can be a huge time-saver. You won’t have to spend time digging through your bag for your charging cables, and you’re more likely to get a spot the charging station in general—at least until everyone else catches up.

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Unless we're talking about Golden Gate, you probably can't think of a single bridge as famous as London Bridge. London Bridge has existed in various forms for nearly 1,000 years. It's the subject of a well-known nursery rhyme about structural failures and shoddy engineering leading to a city-wide catastrophe, and images of it are seared into the minds of schoolchildren around the globe.

Or so we think. Unless you're British or you went to London Bridge, your mental image of London Bridge is almost certainly wrong. The impressive, ornate bridge pictured above is actually Tower Bridge. The real London Bridge is a slab of concrete about as historically impressive as your average shopping mall.

If you want a handy, visual guide, the breathtakingly ornate piece of Victoriana above is Tower Bridge. This smaller but still elegant one is Westminster Bridge. And this drab slice of brutalist nothingness is the world-famous London Bridge. It looks like this because the old London Bridge did, indeed, fall down. Repeatedly. This version was built in the early 1970s, at a time when architects had decided to make the entire world as ugly as possible. Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge both date from the 19th century and thus look like something you actually might want to visit. Luckily, this conundrum is easily solved if you're at London Bridge. Simply walk 20 minutes along the Thames in either direction and you'll arrive at one of the better bridges.

Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach/Oceanfront

How to Eat Well at the Airport

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This luxury resort provides some of the most spacious hotel suites on the beach.

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1. Virgin America

Score: 84.61

Bizarre food rituals from around the world that you just WON'T BELIEVE

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Popular getaways you should probably never visit

The Koryaks are a tribe of people indigenous to a coastal region in the very far east of Russia. They're extremely capable of enduring the harsh, cold lifestyle of northern Russia and tend to eat foods such as reindeer, fish and any berries they can forage. This might not seem too far out for a culture which has adapted to the cold, but there's something to be said for their more unusual approach to the consumption of mushrooms.

For hundreds of years, it's been known for the Koryak people to ingest hallucinogenic mushrooms for largely recreational purposes. All the classic symptoms are there: exhiliration, euphoria, and hallucinations, along with the natural comedown which consists of headaches and nausea. In that sense, there's not a lot of difference between the Koryaks and those surfer dudes down at the beach who never actually seem to do any surfing. Where the Koryak distinguish themselves, however, is in other Koryaks drinking the urine of those who've consumed the mushrooms, so that none of their hallucinogenic powers should go to waste. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the practice has been on the decline ever since vodka was introduced to the region.

The Pyramid at Giza is the last of the Seven Wonders of the World still standing. That fact alone should be enough to land it on anyone's travel wish list, and that's before we mention the sheer architectural magnificence of the structure or its incredible historical importance. Imagine. Standing alone in the ruins of this great, bygone civilization, feeling the hairs on the back of your neck gently rising as the first rays of sunlight pierce the silence. Are you picturing it? Savor that feeling you just created: the real thing is almost nothing like that.

The pyramids today are a lot closer to civilization, about as remote and magically isolated as someone handing out free booze in Times Square on New Year's Eve. The edge of the Great Pyramid itself is just a few hundred yards from tacky hotels and the creep of civilization. You could almost fire a toy catapult from its base and crack the window of a KFC. Or a Pizza Hut. Yup, far from being an unspoiled ancient wonder, the necropolis complex is surrounded by the detritus of Western capitalism. You, lucky soul, can step over McDonald's receipts and other trash on your way to see the Sphinx. However, it also provides plenty of other, slower victims whose souls can be devoured first should Imhotep happen to rise during your visit.

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Across the street from Lummus Park, this all-suite oceanfront hotel occupies 5 art deco buildings and massive suites.

Address: 1052 Ocean Drive

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Restaurant meals

Trapped in their terminals, travelers are at the mercy of anti-consumer pricing schemes, especially when it comes to particularly convenient travel products like neck pillows. Order your neck pillow online ahead of time, and keep an eye out for special offers and sales. At time of publication, we spotted the SilverRest memory-foam neck pillow selling on Amazon for $17, below the retail price of $29.99. We also recommend the Travelrest pillow, which sells for $27.95 online.

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2. JetBlue

Score: 80.59

You’ll frequently find the better price at off-site parking lots, rather than at airport lots. Do your research. (Have we said this enough?) At JFK International Airport, parking in the long-term economy lot costs $18 for the first 24 hours and $6 for each eight-hour period thereafter. So if you’re parking your car for exactly seven days, you’ll pay $126. The Parking Spot, which promises shuttles every five to seven minutes at 22 airports, offers a coupon to get airport valet parking for just $14.90 a day ($104.30 for the week).

Which items do you avoid buying at the airport? Share your tips in the comments.

Cheese rolling is exactly what it sounds like. It takes place every year at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, wherein competitors, from the top of the hill, hurl themselves down it in order to catch a large wheel of cheese which has been released. Whoever reaches the bottom first wins the cheese. The event has been taking place for hundreds of years, according to the organizers, and is likely to have originated as a form of fertility rite.

The slope itself has a gradient of 1:2 (and 1:1 in some places) and is uneven enough to cause fairly regular injuries every year. The cheese itself is provided by local cheesemakers and has always been legit, save for the period of 1941-1954 in which rationing meant that a wooden replacement cheese had to be used instead.

It wasn’t that long ago that “good airport restaurant” was an oxymoron. A trip to the airport meant brown-bagging it, or suffering through whatever dreck was on offer at the fast-food outlet that happened to have the concession at your gate.


​The country’s airports still boast plenty of ho-hum eateries. In fact, mediocrity remains the norm. But slowly, almost imperceptibly, the lowest-common-denominator restaurants are being edged out by plucky independents, some with really (really!) good food.


​Proof positive of the improving airport gastronomical scene is a newly published list from Thrillist of the best restaurants at America’s 40 largest airports.

Here, for your delectation, is a random selection of 10 of the featured airport eateries:

Maudie’s Tex-Mex, Austin Bergstrom Airport (Gate 12) – “Classic Austin Tex-Mex joint for queso, the specialty fajita tacos, or the enchilada perfecto.”


Cafe L’Appetito, Chicago Midway (Triangle food court) – “Parma sandwiches, meatball subs, and sesame-crusted hoagie rolls filled with all varieties of Italian pork are the move.”


Whitetail Bistro, Dallas-Ft. Worth (Terminal D, Gate 22) – “Your inevitable six-hour holiday delay at DFW is much more enjoyable when paired with bobwhite quail on a johnnycake with sausage gravy. I mean, it definitely beats Friday’s.”


Shula Burger, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood (Terminal 1, Concourse C) – “The burgers are a char-grilled delicacy made from brisket, chuck, and short rib, and could stand up as Broward’s best burgers”


Hugo’s Cocina, George Bush Intercontinental (Post-security, Gate D6) – “The cochinita pibil wrapped in banana leaf with habanero salsa will have you raving about the food in Houston even if you’ve never actually “


Deep Blue Sushi, JFK International (Terminal 5, post-marketplace) – “… perhaps the most shockingly good dining experience you’ll ever have at an airport.”


ink.sack, Los Angeles International (International Terminal Great Hall, Level 4) “Stop in and enjoy chef Michael Voltaggio’s ridiculously delicious sandwiches.”


Tony Luke’s (Philadelphia International (Terminal F) – “It would be a tragic error if we didn’t tell you about one of the best cheesesteak shops in Philly sitting right there in Terminal F.”


Blancos Tacos, Phoenix Sky Harbor (Terminal 4) – “The best airport burrito in the country is at the small window attached to one of the valley’s best Mexican eateries.”


Kapnos Taverna Reagan Washington Nationa
l (Terminal C) – “A fantastic place to chow down on fire-grilled kebab, souvlaki, and pork shoulder.”


As the above list illustrates, there’s no longer any reason to settle for a Big Mac or a soggy slice of Domino’s pizza pre- or post-flight. Airports may not yet be culinary meccas, but neither are they culinary wastelands.

Seek and ye shall find.

The Vapur Anti-Bottle is our favorite solution to expensive airport water bottles. Stop buying water bottles in your terminal at three bucks a piece and invest in one of these foldable, reusable containers. Fill it up at a water fountain after you’ve gone through airport security. It’ll pay for itself after just a few uses.

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​This iconic art deco boutique hotel, with its signature 1955 Oldsmobile parked out front, is an Art Deco icon.

​Address: 700 Ocean Drive

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Emirates Cutting First Class Due to Holiday Demand

Tourism is coming back to Puerto Rico and, as hotels reopen, air traffic returnsto normal and cruise ships set a course for the island's ports, a sense of resiliency has lit a fire in those determined to rebuild.

Average rating: 4.5 stars

​The Loew's  offers luxury guestrooms and suites, resort-style pool, and flexible meeting space in the heart of S. Beach.

​Address: 1601 Collins Avenue

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Souvenirs

Red South Beach Hotel

Average rating: 4 stars
Stylish boutique hotel with lush gardens, a nightly hosted wine hour & beach cruiser bikes.

Address: 660 Washington Ave.

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Hotel Riu Plaza Miami Beach

Penguin Hotel

Watch Jimmy Kimmel as he tells his daughter that he ate all of her Halloween candy

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Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Stylish rooms & suites at an upscale art deco hotel with an outdoor pool, cabanas & a private beach.

​Address: 1741 Collins Avenue

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4. Hawaiian Airlines

Score: 78.55

Impressively, however, Cooper's Hill's cheese rolling isn't even the weirdest British food festival out there. That title goes to the Seething Sardine Festival, which takes place every year in Surbiton, because Seething isn't actually a real place. During the sardine festival, crowds gather in the town before following a number of fisherman down to the River Thames, to encourage and support them as they try to catch as many sardines as they can, despite sardines not existing in the Thames in any capacity whatsoever.

Afterwards, when the sardines haven't been caught, four giant guinea pigs lead the crowds back to the local Claremont Gardens for a BBQ, music and games, most of which are themed around sardines. It's probably best not to question it, really.

How to Design a Cruise Ship

The Maasai people are an ethnic group which occupies the south of Kenya and north of Tanzania. They're particularly well-known for their colorful fashion sense and, yes, their unusual rituals and customs. One of the stranger things they're known for is their use of cow's blood and milk in their diets. Milk is used by the Maasai for tea, butter and simply as a drink, while blood is drunk raw, cooked and often combined with milk. The Maasai cut the artery of the cow so precisely that the act of taking blood doesn't even kill the animal, thus preventing the loss of what is a highly-valued animal in their culture.

Blood is a frequently enjoyed ritual drink at Maasai weddings, though at major ceremonies the unfortunate cattle in question is usually killed. It's drunk straight from the wound as the animal is killed and passed around for the men to drink. We'll, uh, stick to the Champagne, thanks.

Average rating: 4.5 stars
This upscale boutique hotel dating to the '40s features elegant Georgian Revival architecture and walnut floors. Address: 1440 Ocean Dr.

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Clevelander South Beach

Hotel and Restaurant

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​​Vintage chic design, dining and private beach at their luxury South Beach boutique hotel and lifestyle resort.

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Nov. 10 will also kick off the annual C'est pas Classique! in Nice, which is a three-day classical music event that also happens to be free to members of the public. The concerts will be hosted in the Acropolis convention center, located in the center of the city.

You Can Spend Your Flight Savings on Next-level Dining

Look, you’re going to France, so just make sure to pack very comfortable and loose-fitting clothing because you’re going to be eating and drinking more than you could possibly imagine. But it’s a vacation, and you saved so much on airfare that it’s totally acceptable to splurge on every French cheese, chocolate, and glass of wine that you come across. It is a cultural experience, after all.



In the early days of September, Hurricane Irma joined the record books as one of the costliest and most devastating hurricanes in this country's history. 


​After taking form off the African coast and barreling its way through the eastern Atlantic, growing with breakneck intensity as it marched towards the United States.The storm caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane. As of October 10, the hurricane has caused at least 134 deaths: one in Anguilla, one in Barbados, three in Barbuda, four in the British Virgin Islands, 10 in Cuba, 11 in the French West Indies, one in Haiti, three in Puerto Rico, four on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, 90 in the contiguous United States, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two others in unknown locations in the Caribbean.


​Unofficially, Irma is the fourth-costliest hurricane on record, having left behind an estimated $63 billion dollars in damage. And nowhere was this damage felt more than the island of Puerto Rico, leaving behind what many are aptly calling "apocalyptic devastation." As this story goes to press, the island is still undergoing a humanitarian nightmare, with full power not expected to return to the island until December of this year.


And even though American Airlines had canceled thousands of flights ahead of and during the storm, it still managed to perform a yeoman's job in terms of getting relief help from the United States into San Juan. It also was the first airline to reinstall service to the storm-devasted island. Jose Guentert, American's station manager at Miami International Airport, said that the airline immediately jumped in and began getting help to where it was needed. American Airlines provided relief flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday after Irma caused significant damage to the island and left its inhabitants without electricity. 


​"As soon as we could, American was flying relief flights into Puerto Rico," Guentert said recently during a telephone interview from his Miami office. "After spending 14 days after a Category 5 storm that blew off roofs, toppled utility poles and stranded residents and tourists without electricity, internet or cell service, the storm survivors just wanted out."


Guentert said that getting the sick and stranded out of San Juan was priority number one.


“Because there was such an overwhelming need, we were able to dispatch one of our planes for the relief effort going down and also to help the folks come out,” he said. “There were other immense challenges, even at the airport. That’s why we waited until conditions were appropriate for us to get back in that market. As the world’s largest airline, American Airlines is used to operating in difficult environments. But Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have challenged not only our team members, but also our customers and the communities we call home. This storm has had an impact on our operation, including a direct impact on our more than 11,000 Miami-based team members and the many more that call Florida home.Our team members have rallied together to support communities affected by Irma to resume operations as quickly — and safely — as possible. Our service is even more critical in the Caribbean, where our flights represent a life line for residents and visitors. At American, we prepared for Irma by adding flights, enabling more of our customers to evacuate from locations from the storm’s path. We also capped fares at $99 for one-way, non-stop flights."

Guentert said that these caps remain in place through the end of October.





























"Today, our Caribbean neighbors need our help the most," Guentert said. "American has transported more than 1.5 million pounds of cargo and relief items to the islands, including water, food, medical supplies, tarps, cots, blankets, and cleaning supplies. Since Sept. 22 we have also operated more than 170 flights into and out of Puerto Rico; operated humanitarian relief flights to St. Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos; and donated $1.96 million to the Red Cross since Aug. 25 through our website and the generosity of American’s customers to support efforts for recent natural disasters. And, American’s team members are working to provide much needed food to hurricane victims. In Miami, 200 American team members partnered with Feeding America to pack 5,000 boxes of essential food items. The kits are being distributed to Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, as well as throughout southern Florida. Later this month our New York team will partner with Feeding America to assemble at least 5,000 more food boxes, each of which can feed a family of four for two weeks, to be distributed to Banco Alimentos de Puerto Rico."


Guentert said that above all, Irma and its aftermath -- which is still being felt in Puerto Rico today on a variety of levels -- has had a sobering effect on him and his co-workers.


"We have proudly served San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands for more than 45 years," Guentert said. "I am humbled by the resiliency and dedication of our teams who have come to work in spite of challenging personal circumstances, and also by many others throughout the world who have stepped up to help their friends in need. At American, it has been all hands on deck to provide support for these communities that we serve and are proud to call home."

You may have noticed that restaurants commonly charge higher prices for menu items in airport locations than they do elsewhere. There’s reason for this: Restaurants’ operating expenses are generally higher at airports than at street locations. But food costs can vary even by terminal, heightening the confusion for travelers who want to compare prices. USA Today found that the same 20-ounce bottle of beer cost $4.49 in one terminal and $5.49 in the next at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

To sidestep the gouge, bring your own lunch from home. Or avoid sit-down restaurants and seek out more affordable snacks like grab-and-go fruit.

Majestic Hotel South Beach

Suites on South Beach

It may be possible to snag a duty-free deal once in a while, depending on your airport. But it’s important to know that duty-free in no way ensures a good buy. “Duty-free is almost never a deal for the casual shopper out to get a bargain,” said Jason Clampet in a report from USA Today. “You can save significant amounts if you’re a smoker who lives in a state with high taxes, but you’ll find that electronic goods, beauty products and luxury items such as designer purses usually cost less at home or online,” advised Clampet.

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins agrees. Perkins saw significant markups on items such as iPads and liquor, compared to retail prices (with local shopping taxes included) available elsewhere. The solution? When making duty-free purchases, do a little homework. Go online ahead of time and do some cost comparisons beforehand.

The Princess Ann

Room Mate Lord Balfour

ustravelonline.net

When can I go back to Puerto Rico?

.US Travel Magazine Travel Articles travel news

U.S. Travel Magazine sat down with Puerto Rico Tourism Company Executive Director Jose Izquierdo to find out what travelers can expect when they visit the island.

U.S. Travel: What is it like on the ground right now in Puerto Rico?

Jose Izquierdo: Old San Juan, the emblematic city that it is, will definitely become the center of our rebuilding process and the main attraction on the island while the rest recover. The fact that it’s just a few weeks out from the storm speaks to the resiliency of our people.


UST: Have you been traveling around to some of the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico?

JI: I have. The first place I went to was Vieques to see firsthand what the challenges were on the island. They are known for their clear water and beautiful white-sand beaches. The people are working really hard to rebuild.

It is an opportunity to reboot the whole tourism product, in Vieques and throughout the island. And you are seeing that resiliency and kindness in Vieques and throughout Puerto Rico.

The people of Vieques are very organized right now and they are making progress.


UST: Overall, What is the outlook for Puerto Rico? Will most businesses rebuild?

JI: I think that everybody is planning to rebuild and they are seeing opportunity. Businesses have aligned with our 90-day strategic plan with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

At first, the focus was on relief efforts, but now it’s on rebuilding and we want to highlight the collaboration between the public and private sector.

We are seeing a lot of optimism around the island, and people are finding ways to improve their product. There is money from insurance and the federal government that is improving the situation. People are making a concerted effort to remake and improve themselves.

UST: When should people make plans to visit Puerto Rico?


JI: We are encouraging people to visit during Christmas. Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas season in the world, and we are very much into the festivities of the season. It is a very important milestone that coincides with the timeline, around December 20, to regenerate demand for leisure travelers.

UST: What is the best way to help out with the recovery in Puerto Rico? Are there opportunities for volunteerism?

JI: We are encouraging travel with a purpose—the purpose to help rebuild Puerto Rico. Hotels are creating packages for volunteerism efforts and we are working with them to create a cohesive experience.

Right now, we are dealing with partners from the corporate brands and private entities. We also have a government command center here. And they are channeling volunteer opportunities as well.

Average rating: 2.5 stars
Set 1 block from the ocean, this modern boutique hotel in South Beach’s Art Deco District is a 5-min. drive from Lincoln Rd. Mall

Address: 920 Collins Avenue

Website


Spain isn't exactly short on strange food events and rituals — Bunol's annual tomato fight, for example, is a legendary festival for locals and tourists alike. Less famous, however (despite arguably being much, much cooler) is the Haro wine battle. Haro, in Spain's northern La Rioja region, is a small but important part of the country's wine making tradition.

It's said that the festival can trace its roots back to the 13th century, when a tradition saw Haro's inhabitants mark its property lines between them and their neighbors in Miranda de Ebro, to prevent Haro being subsumed by that town. In the 17th century, the tradition broke down and the residents of each town settled their differences by throwing wine at each other, and thus a new tradition was born. Today, the revelers (dressed in white, of course) join a procession, and take part in religious mass before battling for hours against each other with buckets, water guns, hoses and anything else they can get their hands on. After the battle is over, the feast commences. Doesn't sound too bad, really.

Fair pricing is a rare thing in airports. A captive audience of consumers coupled with high operating costs at stores’ airport locations make for manifold markups, from expensive cuisine to pricey parking.

Things You Should Never Buy at the Airport

To save money, do some research ahead of time and compare costs—especially when you’re in the market for one of these nine items.

Average rating: 3.5 stars

The Clevelander is an icon among Ocean Drive Hotels, South Beach bars, and entertainment venues in Miami Beach.

Address: 4835 Collins Avenue

Website

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Grand Beach Hotel Miami

​Beach

The Standard

Average rating: 4.5 stars

​Featuring bold, modern decor, it offers an ideal, exceptional location with bay view rooms.

​Address: 1100 West Avenue

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Average rating: 4 stars

This all-suite hotel overlooks white sand beach from its location on Millionaire's Row.

Address: 4835 Collins Avenue

Website

Average rating: 3.5 stars

This trendy boutique hotel with red and white roomslies a block from the beach and 1.2 miles from the shops and cafes of Lincoln Road.  Address: 3010 Collins Ave.
Website

Loew's Miami Beach Hotel

Thorrablot, named for the month of Thorri in which it takes place, is an Icelandic midwinter festival in which locals conjure up a feast derived from a tale in the Orkneyinga saga, in which the Norse offered sacrifices to Thorri in the midst of winter. At dinner, speeches are held, poems are recited and food is eaten. That food consists of such delicacies as singed lamb heads, cured ram's testicles and the notorious schnapps known as Brennivin.

Thorrablot is a fairly big deal in Iceland to this day, and is particularly widely celebrated out in the countryside beyond Reykjavik. The larger events even resemble festivals, complete with staged performances, music and after-dinner dancing. If you're after something a bit more low-key, however, many restaurants in Reykjavik itself will serve food fitting for the occasion.

Sorry, first-class travelers! Dubai-based airline Emirates is adding more seats and doing away with first class on several routes this winter to and from London.

Emirates currently operates three Airbus A380 planes between Dubai International Airport and Gatwick Airport every day, but that will change in November and December, according to Finance.co.

Routesonline.com is reporting several flights operating between the cities will fly planes that only boast economy and business classes, increasing the number of seats from 489 to 615 per aircraft, a 26 percent increase.


​“With fares cheaper than ever before, it is great news for customers, but it also means airlines have to work harder to keep fares down,” Air Transport World’s Victoria Moores said. “That means airlines have to stay flexible with their products, in this case swapping aircraft layouts to suit market demand.”

With fares down across the industry, Emirates is feeling the pressure to reduce unit costs and cutting first class on routes that don’t have the demand is an easy way to increase revenue. By operating the higher-capacity, two-cabin A380s, Emirates can carry more passengers and avoid empty first-class seats.


Emirates isn’t the only carrier experimenting with adding more seats or cutting first class, either. British Airways is adding 52 extra seats to its fleet of Boeing 777s at Gatwick, and Qantas will not offer first class tickets on its non-stop service between Perth, Australia, and Heathrow launching in 2018.

“Emirates is following the airline trend to drop the exclusive first class on less prestigious routes,” Business Travel News editor-in-chief Malcolm Ginsberg said. “It is more profitable for the carriers to increase business class than fill the front end with upgrades at a high cost. Emirates’ next move will probably be to introduce Premium Economy.”

Weird Things People Bring to Airports that Cause Long Security Lines

Plan ahead and be sure to buy your souvenirs before you’re at the airport, waiting for your flight home. Airport souvenir stores usually hawk severely marked-up merchandise that can be found elsewhere for a lot less. Plus, the wares tend to be quite unoriginal: trite Statue of Liberty T-shirts, cityscape mugs, key chains in the shape of Dutch canal houses.

There are exceptions to this rule, as some airports offer unique finds, like gifts crafted by local artisans. (Portland International Airport has some great Made in Oregon stores.) Our advice, as always, is to do your research before you get to the terminal so that you can compare prices. You could even take a quick look at what’s on offer when you land, and then buy whatever you need when you return to the airport upon departure.

Bentley Hotel

1001 Places to See Before You Die. Top 10 Must-See Sights in Asia. 50 More Incredible Places for the Pantsless Tourist … we've all seen these articles, and others like them, plenty of times before. And the world is full of spectacular, unforgettable locations — you'd be foolish not to check them out.

But there are the truly spectacular places, and then there are the places that everyone just thinks are spectacular. Visiting these places will leave you feeling either very disappointed, very broke, or very unpopular with the locals. (If you're really unlucky, it might be all three.) Ready to quickly cross some entries off your bucket list without having to haul your Cheetos-stained frame off the sofa?

From boutique to budget, mom-'n-pop to luxury, you'll find everything under the bright Florida sun on Miami Beach when it comes to hotels. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular ranking or order... they're just places that we've frequented, rated, reviewed and recommend to anyone in search of high-quality lodging. RATINGS by hotels.com

Avalon Hotel

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Evoking 1930s' vintage style in Miami's famed Art Deco District, this is one of the best-kept secrets in South Beach.

​Address: 1650 James Avenue

Website


Shelborne Wyndham Grand

South Beach

Average rating: 4.5 stars

​Arguably the most luxurious hotel on Miami Beach, it oozes elegance at every corner.

Address: 4441 Collins Avenue

Website


You’re not normally taking a big hit to your budget when you grab the latest copy of National Geographic at the terminal newsstand. But when overseas, watch out. Imported U.S. magazines cost a lot more than those sold at home and can sell for well over the recommended list price at overseas airports, even if they’re old (mostly due to taxes and shipping costs). I was almost charged more than $10 for a months-old issue of Martha Stewart Living at Guayaquil Airport in Ecuador. Sorry Martha, but I returned it to its shelf.

There’s no doubt that over the past decade, airports have done a lot to make sure there are plenty of electrical outlets available. From charging stations to USB ports built right into your seat, finding a place to plug in shouldn’t be difficult. But if you’ve been in an airport during a busy holiday season, you’ve seen how quickly those charging stations fill up.


​What you might not have realized is that there’s usually still plenty of room to charge your phone at that station or elsewhere—if your phone allows for wireless charging.

Wireless charging spots are usually indicated on the charging station shelf by a symbol like the one below, but the design varies from airport to airport. If your phone is Qi-enabled, making it compatible with wireless chargers, all you need to do is place your phone on the symbol and you’ll be charging cord-free. This is great news if you already have a phone with this feature, but unfortunately for most—particularly owners of iPhones older than the iPhone 8—you’ll need to buy a special accessory to take advantage of this little-known airport perk.

Average rating: 3 stars

​Built in 1948, this art deco hotel is ecorated with full-wall, nature-inspired art.

​Address: 1418 Ocean Drive

Website


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9 Things You Should Never Buy at the Airport

4.1-star hotel

​​Great hotel, great location and great/clean strip of the beach... city view, oceanfront, and poolside suites. 

Address: 1685 Collins Avenue

Website





If you’ve been dreaming of packing your bags for a quick, spontaneous European getaway, now’s your chance as flights to several cities in France are insanely cheap and just begging for you to buy them.

According to Scott’s Cheap Flights, tickets to places like Bordeaux, Nice, and Paris are running under $500 round-trip from origin cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, and Las Vegas.

But why head to France in November? Two words: Shoulder season.

November is smack in the middle of two tourists seasons, meaning you’ll arrive just as the summer tourists are leaving and before the holiday madness begins. This means in Paris you’ll experience shorter lines at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. In Nice you’ll be able to walk the shoreline of the French Riviera in peace, and in Bordeaux you’ll be able to experience vast vineyards and wine tastings all to yourself. Keep scrolling for more of the benefits to booking and taking a quick trip to France this November.

Eden Roc Miami Beach

Average rating: 4 stars
Airy rooms with colorful accents floors, some rooms with balconies & ocean views.

Address: 3101 Collins Avenue

Website


How to Rent a Car and Avoid Extra Fees

Average rating: 3 stars
This 49 room boutique hotel located in the heart of the Art Deco district and close to the fun.

Address: 660 Ocean Drive

Website


An intensely weird rock formation in Coyote Buttes North, Arizona, The Wave (pictured above) is like a living Salvador Dali painting. Multicolored ripples and whorls frozen in rock unspool across an undulating landscape. Visitors have reported vertigo, dizziness, and a sense of awe bordering on the religious. Hiking permits (the only way to visit) are in such high demand that the Park rations them to 20 a day, chosen by lottery. It may be hard to get in, but The Wave is so beautifully, surreally unique that if you're in the neighborhood, you'd be silly not to go. Right?

Well, The Wave isn't unique at all. There's a nearly identical formation called White Pocket just up the road and, unlike The Wave, almost nobody has heard of it. You can turn up whenever you want and have the whole, overwhelming place to yourself.

This is even crazier when you realize that a good number of hikers consider White Pocket to actually be better than The Wave because it covers a much larger area. From their point of view, entering the lottery for a ticket to The Wave is like desperately praying for permission to visit Paris, Texas, while someone else is frolicking around in actual Paris. The only catch is that there's no proper road to White Pocket. You'll need an off-road vehicle or good hiking boots, but you can also have a tour guide drive you in. Still, that seems like a small price to pay to have your mind comprehensively blown.

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Delano South Beach

Average rating: 3.5 stars
This modern hotel features boutique rooms with balconies on the ocean & art decor.

Address: 3925 Collins Avenue

Website


The Angler's Hotel

3. Alaska Airlines

Score: 78.98

The Colony Hotel

If you enjoy shellfish on occasion, then you've indulged in something the royals aren't allowed to enjoy. They're banned from lobster, crab, shrimp and the like, for the simple reason that it's just too much of a risk. Shellfish, of course, is a notorious source of food poisoning and the rigorous schedule and constant touring of the royals means that taking the risk of being put out of action for any period of time is a serious no-go. The same logic applies with other meats, and the leading members of the family are also forbidden from eating anything cooked rare.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken. Not by the Queen, of course — she adheres to the shellfish ban completely — but Prince Charles in particular is known to indulge in a little from time to time. Good on him.

Starbucks has been serving overpriced coffee to failed screenwriters with laptops since before hipsters first made it cool and then quickly made it really annoying. That kind of longevity buys you things most brands can only dream of: legions of fans desperate to see where it all began. The very first Starbucks at Pike Place Market is a major Seattle tourist attraction. On any given day, you'll see a line outside the door that extends halfway down the block as people giddily wait to get their hands on that sweet, sweet taste of pretty decent coffee. And sure, it's the same coffee you can buy in literally any other Starbucks in existence, but come on: it's the first Starbucks!

Yeah, about that. Time we let you in on a little secret. The "first" Starbucks at Pike Place? It's not actually the original Starbucks at all.

The original Starbucks opened about a block away, six years earlier. The one all those fans are standing in line for is the second Starbucks. The reason no one goes to the first location is it's no longer a Starbucks. So you can still go to a really old Starbucks location in Pike Place (and it is the oldest in existence), but it's the Buzz Aldrin to the original's much-missed Neil Armstrong.

The Toraja are a people indigenous to the Sulawesi region of Indonesia. Their story is similar to that of many east Asian tribes: a beautiful culture, amazing customs, hit by missionaries in the 20th century and are now thriving off tourism. What makes the Toraja unique, however, is their novel approach to death (be warned, there's some fairly gruesome imagery included in this source).

After a member of the Toraja passes away, they're not buried or burned. Instead, they're kept around by their family to continue taking part in the daily routine. The cadaver remains at home until their funeral, usually some months after their death. The Toraja believe that the soul of the deceased is still with them. And the new life of the dead doesn't simply end with their presence in the home — they're fed, too. The body joins the family at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will 'enjoy' the meal along with the others.

Foreign currency

Fontainbleau Hotel

Have an Old iPhone? Here’s the Airport Perk You’re Missing

Wazwan is a feast, a ceremony and an art form all rolled into one. It's a tradition held by the Kashmiris of northern India and originated in the 15th century when the invasion of the warlord Timur led to a great number of cooks (among others) settling in the Kashmir Valley. The feast itself consists of a staggering 36 courses, each of which is meticulously prepared and cooked using only the finest meats (lamb, chicken or mutton) and vegetables. Guests, in groups of four, share the meal from a platter known as a traem. Over the following hours, they're served seekh kebabs, korma, lamb ribs, chicken in countless sources, yogurt, chutney, meatballs, rogan josh, roasted lamb and more.

The Kashmiris take wazwan incredible seriously, viewing it more as an art to be perfected than a meal to be prepared, and the chef in charge — known as the vaste waze — is usually nothing less than a master at the craft.

Average rating: 3 stars

​It offers the rare combination of spacious accommodations, a prime location, and outstanding value. 

Address: 1330 Collins Avenue

Website


Marseilles Hotel

Editor's Picks: Top Hotel Picks, Miami Beach, Florida

Wifi

Average rating: 4 stars

Ultra cool and stylish, this boutique hotel and spa is a 10-minute drive to the beach.

Address: 40 Island Avenue

Website

Sanctuary South Beach

A parking spot

The Inuits are not like us. They inhabit the northern regions of Canada and Greenland, and are hard-wired to live and thrive in some of the harshest conditions known to man. They've never farmed — they can't — so they fish, hunt and trap to eat. Their customs regarding marriage, childbirth and death have been a source of fascination for hundreds of years.

In terms of diet, the Inuits will eat anything from walrus to whale to polar bear to whatever fish they can hunt from the ice waters of the Arctic. Very few spices or complex cooking methods are employed, and some food is eaten while still frozen. Naturally, they drink seal blood too. Much of that has to do with location more than tradition, but the final one is the kicker — it's considered good manners in some Inuit cultures to pass wind after eating, as a form of appreciation. Something tells us that's a tradition that wouldn't go over too well in many places.

You don't have to be an intrepid explorer to know that the world is a very, very strange place. All across the globe, hundreds of different cultures exist and go about their lives, each compelled by their own history, traditions and odd little quirks. It doesn't really matter where you are — whether it's Kenya or Japan; England or Siberia or anywhere else beyond — the simple fact is that we've all got our own way of doing things. This is particularly true, of course, with food. Every culture has its own way of cooking and consuming food, and more than a few have their own utterly bizarre rituals, in which religion, history or even circumstance has driven them to doing things that any other culture would, frankly, be shocked at. These are but a choice selection of the oddities our world has to offer.

Why You Should Book a Last-minute Trip to France Right Now

It’s the Perfect Weather

Right now temperatures in Nice, Bordeaux, and Paris are hovering in the mid-50s to low 60s, making it an ideal time to go and explore the country. This way you’ll be able to walk all day, enjoy the sights, and not feel like you’re overheating or need to escape the cold. Just pick up a café au lait and a crepe along the way if you’re feeling chilly.

There Are a Ton of Cultural Events to Experience

There are more events than we can possibly count happening around the country in November, but a few noteworthy must-attend happenings include Armistice Daycelebrations on November 11. The day marks a national holiday for France, which honors members of the armed forces who died or were injured during war. It is celebrated on the day the armistice was signed at the end of WWI.

Every year on Nov. 11 a ceremony takes place beneath the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of Paris where the president lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

And all month long the region of Bordeaux will be hosting — what else? — wine tastings from different vineyards. On Friday, Nov. 17, the region is also hosting the “Bordeaux so Good” festival, which will bring together the region’s best in food, wine, and healthy living as part of its annual Gourmet Week celebrations.


When it comes to the pain points of travel these days, airlines usually get the brunt of complaints. So when a carrier scores big with fliers, it’s usually because of company-wide efforts by pilots, ground crew, gate agents, booking and sales agents, and customer-service reps to deliver premium-class service to all customers — whether they’re flying first or coach.

The airlines that scored big with our readers this year are the ones that are doubling down on making customers happy. Among this year’s winners, JetBlue continues to win accolades for its Mint premium cabin service. When it comes to the onboard snacks, one reader also cited how the airline “goes the extra mile for passengers with food allergies by serving nut-free and gluten-free choices. A serious plus when you travel with children.”

Both Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest consistently rank high for their frequent-flier programs and excellent flight service (mahalo, Hawaiian, for still providing complimentary meals!), with the latter getting extra shout-outs for value. “Southwest offers flexibility and no hidden costs,” wrote one reader. “You can check two bags free of charge, there are no change fees, and the flights are STILL economical.” Alaska Airlines’ increasing popularity is owed in large part to a great loyalty program and an expanding flight network, and its customer base will soon be growing due to its acquisition — and ultimate dissolution— of Virgin America in 2019. Virgin America has held the No. 1 spot on our domestic airlines list for the past 10 years, and it’s no surprise, given that many of our readers praised the customer service. “They really know how to get it right,” said one fan. “Every employee seemed to love their job, and I never felt for one moment that I was a bother as a passenger,” added another.


How do we determine the best? Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, we asked readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the airlines category, readers rated carriers on cabin comfort, service, food, customer service, and value. See below for how the best U.S.-based airlines fared among our readers.

Average rating: 4 stars

​This chic art deco-style boutique hotel has a scenic rooftop pool and an on-site Latin-inspired restaurant. 

​Address: 1745 James Avenue

Website


Duty-free merchandise

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Mondrian South Beach

The Betsy - South Beach

Although many airports offer free Wi-Fi, some hubs are still firmly entrenched in the dark ages, charging flyers to search the Web while waiting to depart. At JFK International Airport, for example, travelers can only access the Web through Boingo, which charges $4.95 per hour for those who aren’t already members. Before you enter your credit-card number, though, see if you can get connectivity for free. Some ways to do this: Sit near the entrance of an elite-flyer’s lounge or in an airport hotel lobby, both of which might offer free Wi-Fi that’s not password protected.

Or try your terminal’s Starbucks. The Starbucks located in D30 in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has free Wi-Fi, whereas flyers must pay $4.95 to connect elsewhere in the airport. Although all Starbucks stores offer free Internet, airport locations are sometimes the exception. Some offer free connectivity; some don’t. Check the Starbucks store locator online before you get to your hub to find out.

Albion Hotel South Beach

Bottled water

Average rating: 3 stars
An art deco hotel dating to 1929, this budget oceanfront property is within easy walking distance of restaurants, shopping & more.

Address: 600 Ocean Drive

Website