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Canada Travel news and opinion

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    By Carin Olsson, CNTraveler.com

    2014-01-07-cn_image.size.marchemaubertparis.jpg



    Any local will tell you, there's nothing more Parisian than going to the market. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor markets scattered across the French capital, and they're worth a visit even if you're not staying in Paris long enough to cook your own meal. Peruse through the rows of bustling stalls, admire fragrant bouquets of fresh-cut flowers, sink your teeth into some sweet organic peaches, and pick up small baggies of dried fruit and nuts. Some markets even offer excellent, ready-made dishes.

    The perfect market for first-time visitors to Paris is the charming Marché Maubert. It's small and not overwhelming, and has a great, friendly atmosphere that's not quite as frenetic as the larger markets. If you want to eat while you shop, visit Paris' oldest covered market, Marché des Enfants Rouges. It's much busier than Maubert, but you can tuck into delicious, freshly cooked food while you're there. And we're not talking just typical French fare, either. You can get yourself authentic homemade Lebanese, Turkish, and Moroccan dishes, too -- think lamb tagine, couscous, falafel, and shawarma sandwiches. Who said France didn't have great street food?


    See Also: Stop Visiting These Places! You're Ruining Them!


    For health-conscious travelers, Marché Biologique des Batignolles in the 17th Arrondissement and Marché Biologique Raspail in the 6th Arrondissement boast consistently top-notch organic produce and locally made fruit jams and canned goods. The latter is famous for letting shoppers sample produce, so get ready to sink your teeth into some chunks of juicy cocktail tomato.

    To find out which market is closest to you, consult this list. Check the opening hours before you head out, and time your visit so that you arrive right after they've set up shop -- you'll get the best selection of produce and might even score some good deals.


    See photos of the gorgeous Marché Maubert at CNTraveler.com


    More from Condé Nast Traveler:
  • Must-Have Gadgets for Every Traveler

  • Incredible Treehouse Hotels

  • The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the World

  • 12 Travel Mistakes You're Definitely Making


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    New year, new vacation days. To Travelzoo Deal Experts, and millions of our subscribers, the change in the calendar means another opportunity to embark and expand our horizons. For travelers looking for a little inspiration, here's where our team of North American Deal Experts will be heading in 2014.

    Safe travels!

    Natural wonders
    • My 2014 bucket list trip is Peru's Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. This ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site tucked away in the misty mountains of Peru will not be around forever, and each year restrictions on tourism get tighter. These ruins showcase the power and strength of humanity during the height of the Inca Empire. -- Mary Walker Baus, Los Angeles
    • I plan on going to Iceland this spring with a Travelzoo deal my friends and I bought. Visiting around the spring equinox is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights, plus this is a peak year in the lights' 11-year cycle. Even if we miss the lights, I'm looking forward to the spectacular scenery. --Kelsey Rexroat, New York City
    • My 2014 wish list is to book a 5-star "The Bachelor"-esque type vacation to South Africa. I tried to make it happen for my honeymoon in 2013, but it fell through ... I'm feeling like this is the year! Open-air accommodations look super romantic, helicopter rides are right out of an episode, and the game drives are perfect for an up-close and personal glimpse of the Big Five. -- Gia Anayas, Chicago
    Thailand seems to have it all from enchanting temples to beachfront paradises. Over the past few years we've seen an increase in packages and hotel deals; because of that I've had a number of friends visit Thailand as one of their first experiences with Asia. It's easy to take an escorted package, but it also seems fairly simple to mix up the vacation by self-packaging and maybe even adding on Bali or the Maldives -- may as well while you're out there. -- Blaire Constantinou, Los Angeles

    Setting sail
    • I expect a cruise to be such a very different way to experience Europe during Christmas: beautiful vistas from cruising down either the Rhine or Danube and visiting world-famous Christmas markets. A river cruise is like a floating hotel through Europe at a relaxed pace. The itinerary usually includes many ports of call -- including smaller, hard-to-get-to villages -- and you only unpack once. Best of all, all meals, wine and guided tours are included in the cruise price. -- Debbie Kwok, Mountain View
    • Cruising in Alaska: I've always been a warm-weather gal, but for the past four years, I've wanted to sail on an Alaska cruise. Being able to spot glaciers and wildlife from the ship would be unlike any cruise experience I've ever had. Just based on pictures I've seen from Alaska itineraries, I'm looking forward to making Alaska part of my cruising repertoire in 2014. -- Jessica Tilley, Las Vegas

    Big city stays
    • St. Petersburg, Russia, is on my list this summer. I've heard great things about their white nights, and it's unchartered territory for me. I'm looking forward to experiencing the culture, arts and history as well. -- Rifi Sachdev, Los Angeles
    New Orleans: beignets, gumbo and po' boys. -- Annie England, New York City
    • I've spent years reading about the beautiful street art and the stunning architecture of Lisbon: I'm hoping 2014 is the year I see Portugal firsthand. -- Hilary Solan, Chicago
    • Riga, Latvia, was named the 2014 European Capital of Culture, and there's cheap air access: Ryanair and Wizz Air have been operating low-cost flights for some time now. -- Hafeez Jessa, Vancouver

    Family-friendly fun
    • I'm going to Disney World! I've always wanted to say that - we're taking our toddler to meet Mickey and counting down the days! Then once we get to Orlando, we'll be counting the minutes in line ... -- Josh Gershenson, Chicago
    Niagara Falls, a classic vacation destination. It's time I see what all the fuss is about for myself. -- Lydia Smith, New York

    Postcard-worthy landscapes
    • In 2014 I'm hoping to head to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I've never been to Italy, and the wine, food, culture and picturesque coastline seem truly unique -- and romantic. -- Jessica DeBolt, Los Angeles
    • Cambodia. I haven't made it to Asia yet, and I'd love to make Cambodia my introduction to the continent. Friends who have gone have told me that the gorgeous scenery, rock-bottom prices and friendly locals make it worth the trip. -- Ashley Hamilton, Chicago
    Napa & Sonoma -- I wish it was a more exotic bucket list, but with young kids, the ultimate dream of a South Africa safari, an Emerald Isle experience or a New Zealand quest is still a few years off. -- Andrew Young, New York City
    • St. Johns, Newfoundland, not to be confused with Saint John, New Brunswick. It is the oldest and most easterly city in North America. There is a ton of Maritime history and unique shops and restaurants along with landscapes that are hard to come by elsewhere. -- William Brown, Chicago
    • I would like to go to Australia and New Zealand. I've always wanted to go and now have more of a reason because I made some friends from there during my 2013 Travelzoo Experience to Thailand! -- Sarah Firoozi, Austin

    Sun-soaked stays
    • For me, it's Belize! Why: It's exotic while still accessible. I am an avid sailor, and they have some great conditions plus there's a nice combination of beaches as well as hills and mountains with a bit of a tropical touch. -- Saskia Jacques, Toronto
    • Booked: Bora Bora and Moorea honeymoon plus Cancun bachelorette party. -- Meghan Turner, Los Angeles
    • Within the U.S., I'd like to spend a long weekend with a good book and my feet in the sands of Puerto Rico. With no passport required, and U.S. currency accepted, it's the closest and most convenient way to escape the Midwest and take in island life. -- Antoinette Fadera, Chicago
    Cartagena: I've heard it has a rich cultural history along with a great beach. It's a pretty inexpensive trip, and JetBlue flies direct from JFK! -- Sean Cahill, New York City
    • A girl has to dream big, so my list wouldn't be complete without a trip to the land of opulence -- Dubai. -- Heidi Stallings, Chicago

    -- Hilary Solan is an editor at Travelzoo and based in Chicago. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.

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    Norway is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It's home to more natural wonders than we can count and it has stunning cities, fascinating history and really happy people.

    Norway's not cheap. But it's worth it. Here are 25 reasons why.

    1. It's actually one of the happiest places on Earth.
    norway
    In the United Nation's 2013 World Happiness Report, Norway took the second place spot. The report surveyed 156 countries and looked at a number of factors, including life expectancy and health, freedom and social support.

    2. It's really safe.
    oslo
    The crime rate in Norway is incredibly low. The murder rate is low. The incarceration rate is low. As one wise law student once said, "happy people just don't shoot their husbands."

    3. There's a law called "allemannsrett."
    norway hiking
    Allemannsrett literally translates to "all men's rights." It's a "freedom to roam" public rights law that allows the right of access to and passage through all uncultivated land. This means you can pitch a tent or hike through any land that is "utmark" (non-cultivated). Also, wild-berrying is permitted everywhere. This little rule is extra awesome because there tons of jaw-droppingly beautiful places to see in Norway and few barriers stopping you.

    4. Trolltunga is the perfect photo op.
    trolltunga
    Trolltunga is one of those insanely gorgeous locations.

    5. So is Kjeragbolten.
    kjeragbolten
    See that boulder? You can stand on it. Where else can you hover thousands of feet above solid ground, suspended in the crevice of a mountain?

    6. Even urban spaces are lush.
    oslo
    Such as Oslo, Norway's capital. Forested hills rise above the city and there's plenty of green space within Oslo -- it's definitely no concrete jungle.

    7. Fredrikstad Fortress is an ancient wonderland.
    gamlebyen
    Fredrikstad Fortress claims to be one of the best preserved old towns in Scandinavia.

    8. Fjords.
    fjord norway
    Norway's fjords are natural wonders that just beg you to go exploring.

    9. Norway produced this beauty...


    10. There are adorable fisherman's cabins.
    fishing cabin norway
    They're everywhere! You can even stay in one, if your heart desires.

    11. See the midnight sun.
    midnight sun norway
    This natural phenomenon -- 24 hours of visible sun -- occurs during the summer in northern Norway, which sits above the Arctic Circle. Not only is the midnight sun an incredible sight, it leaves more hours in the day for fishing, boating, climbing and exploring.

    12. It's regarded as the birthplace of skiing.
    norway skiing
    Early evidence of modern skiing has been found in Norway. The word "ski" actually comes from Old Norse and roughly translates to "split piece of wood."

    13. It has more lakes than Finland aka "The Land of 1,000 Lakes."
    norway lake
    While Finland has an impressive 60,000 lakes, Norway surpasses it. There are hundreds of thousands of lakes in Norway and they're really beautiful.

    14. Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest lake in Europe.
    hornindal lake

    15. Norway also boasts the world's longest tunnel.
    lærdal road tunnel

    lærdal road tunnel
    Lærdal road tunnel is 24.5 kilometers (15.2 miles) long. Three colorfully-lit caves separate the tunnel into four sections in order to make passing through it less stressful on the driver. The drive through the tunnel takes about 20 minutes.

    16. This view from the top of Mount Fløyen in Bergen.
    fløibanen funicular
    You can take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of the mountain. Epic views are guaranteed.

    17. You can see the Northern Lights.
    lofoten islands
    Head to the Lofoten Islands for a spectacular view.

    18. Two words: Wild. Reindeer.
    wild reindeer norway
    Santa can't be far.

    19. Two more words: polar bears!
    polar bears svalbard
    You can spot them on a trip to the Svalbard Islands.

    20. The national drink is Aquavit.
    norwegian aquavit
    It's a potato-based spirit flavored with herbs. It's very potent. Most people use beer as a chaser. It's hardcore.

    21. You can ski in the middle of the summer.
    stryn summer ski
    Stryn Summer Ski Center opens in late May and welcomes skiiers through late July or mid-August depending on the snow conditions. If you get a hankering for skiing during the warm months, you know where to go.

    22. Aalesund is gorgeous by day...
    aalesund

    23. And by night.
    aalesund

    24. Ferrying through Geirangerfjord is breathtaking.
    geirangerfjord

    25. And finally, Norway has some 50,000 islands and a coastline that stretches over 51,600 miles.
    norway islands
    There's more water than you could ever explore by boat. There's more land than you could explore by foot. How could you ever be bored?

    Correction: A previous version of this story said the picture of Fredrikstad was in Oslo.


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    Ever since she arrived in Cartagena, Kelly had been desperate to get to the beach. Phil and I had just spent weeks in Panama and before on beautiful beaches, but Kelly was coming directly from Canada and she wanted some hot beachy goodness. When we finally made it to the beach on the 28th of October, 2013 it was a bit of a disappointment.

    Aside from our time in the Amazon, Ecuador proved not to be nearly as warm as its name suggests. Kelly said several times that she thought the country's being on the equator guaranteed hot weather. How wrong that proved to be.

    After our freezing fiesta in the mountains at Laguna Quilotoa we rode down 4,000m in elevation and when the sun set, we made an overnight stop in a beach town that time forgot, Puerto Cayo. We were the only guests in the hotel, and the owners were extremely helpful, even walking us down the street to help find a restaurant that was open.

    Our own private hotel for the night

    Phil and Jugs with the very helpful hotel owner.

    The next morning we wandered down the deserted beach and ate breakfast in the only place that was open, then headed further south down the coast to a beach town that had been recommended to us several times. Montañita.

    The Ecuadorian beach party town,  Montañita has a selection of restaurants and tourist shops catering to, and priced for, gringos. (Here in South America the term "gringo" has evolved from meaning Americans, to meaning foreigners in general.)

    It was low season, and the hostels were competing for business, all that was, except for the one we first stopped at. The lady at the front desk was one of the least welcoming and most unhelpful people we had run across in a long time.

    While we were parked outside, a skinny, dodgy looking character called Mike came over to chat. He soon revealed himself as one of the local drug dealers. We told him that we weren't interested in what he had to offer, we were just looking for a cheap hostel. He told us he knew just the place.

    While Phil and Tom investigated a couple of the other places along the street, Kelly and I went with drug-dealer Mike to check out the place he was recommending. Phil was slightly unsure that he would ever see us two ladies again.

    Following Mike, we soon came to this road:

    You want me to ride through that? I can't even walk through it!

    I flat-out told him that there was no way that I was going to attempt to take Cricket through all that mud! He assured me that the hostel was just a little further, and that there was a different, better road to get to it.

    Drug dealer Mike might have been dodgy, but he came through. The Paradise South hostel was $7.50 each per night for a room with two bunk beds and a private bathroom with hot water. There was wifi and a really nice courtyard to park the bikes in. And there WAS another road, that whilst still muddy, was nowhere near as bad as the original one he walked us down.

    We spent two nights in Montañita, and we really tried to enjoy it as much as the people who had recommended it to us. It didn't help that the constant grey skies were not good beach weather.

    Who goes to the beach in jeans and boots? We do!

    It seemed like every second building in town was under construction

    Overall we found Montañita very disappointing. We did have a couple of nights out. One where we spent a long time being talked at by an older lady who talked extensively of her days as a paid escort.

    The lady of the night, well into her monologue.

    The next night we met an Aussie guy who'd been in town for quite a while. He showed us the best cocktail stands, and where to buy burgers on the street for the best price. Even with this inside knowledge, we just didn't feel the vibe, and we left the next day.

    Kelly and our Aussie friend, hanging in the hostel courtyard

    We decided that our time in Ecuador had come to an end, and to make a beeline for Peru. We'd heard the Huaquillas/Tumbes crossing was terrible, busy and corrupt, but that was the one closest to us so we decided to chance it.

    We stopped for the night in Naranjal, for no other reason than that it was where we happened to be when it seemed the right time to stop. When we woke up the next morning, it was the 31st of October, 2013. Halloween.

    In Latin America the Day of the Dead (Nov 4th) is much more celebrated than Halloween is, but we decided to paint our faces as skeletons and cross the border that way. Surely that would make the busy, corrupt border crossing much better?? It's not like anyone would be comparing our faces to the pictures in our passports or anything...

    Skeleton Kelly painting skeleton Tom

    Our masterpieces, before they were attacked by our helmets.

    The Ultimate Skeletons

    Ready to cross the border. Are you scared?

    The ride to the border was hilarious. Almost everyone who looked closely enough at our faces did a double take and then burst out laughing.

    At one traffic light I slowly looked around at two schoolgirls in the back of a rickshaw, and one of them screamed with fright. We all melted in hysterics.

    The riding dead.

    When we neared Huaquillas Phil decided that he wanted to find a bank machine and take out some more US dollars to save for Argentina. We stopped at the only place we saw that had a bank sign, but it was some kind of customs checkpoint, and there was no ATM. We rode another 4km or so until it was clear we were about to get to the border which is when Phil and Kelly left Jugs'  paperwork with me, and went back towards town in search of a bank machine.

    Tom and I rode to the border, or what we thought was the border, and asked where the customs office was to clear our bikes out of Ecuador. They told us we had already passed it, it was back down the road on the right hand side. Remember the customs checkpoint with no bank machine? Yep - that was where we had to clear the bikes out. Luckily they didn't notice that I had paperwork for three bikes, but we only actually had two bikes there.

    Tom and I rode back to the "border" which turned out not to be the border at all. The same guys who had sent us back to the customs place, told us to keep riding down the road to get to the border.

    We rode for a few minutes and then saw this sign:

    But we haven't left Ecuador yet...

    Wait. We haven't had our passports stamped out of Ecuador yet. Have we missed yet another checkpoint? There was no way to turn around, so we just kept going into Peru. Soon we pulled up to a group of buildings with a big Peru sign on the grass in front of them. Tom and I pulled up to the first building, looking for Phil and Kelly, who surely must be there by now?

    I asked the guy standing in front of building number one if he'd seen a tall hairy man with a face painted like mine. He hadn't. He did however want to take a picture of us and our scary faces. Soon all of the customs officers had come out and they all wanted pictures. With me, with Tom, with us both, in groups, individually, the photo shoot went on for at least 15 minutes, but there was still no sign of Phil and Kelly.

    One of the many pictures taken with the customs officers

    They just couldn't get enough of us!

    When there were no more pictures to be taken, we asked if we were in the right place. They told us to pull up in one of the many empty parking spaces, and pointed in the general direction of the other buildings. Just after Tom and I had parked, Phil and Kelly pulled up to the customs guys, who, of course, took one look at their faces and knew they belonged with us.

    Easy parking at the Peruvian border.

    Kelly and I gathered all our passports and headed across the road to the building pointed out to us by a bored security guard, who also told us off for not using the crosswalk. I found this very surprising as no one anywhere since Mexico has paid any attention to crosswalks, and especially not in a traffic free place like that was!

    In a wonderful display of cooperation, we had our passports stamped out of Ecuador at one desk, and in to Peru at the desk right beside it. Far from our painted faces causing trouble, the immigration agents loved them, and spent the whole process laughing and joking with us. They did insist on seeing the boys though before they would stamp their passports too.

    Kelly enjoying the border crossing experience

    We then had to return to our friends the customs agents in building number one. They were thrilled to welcome us back, and clamoured to help us. We were the only customers they had and so we had them all helping out. There was a bored lady at an insurance stand who sold us a month's insurance for $35. Pretty expensive we thought (It was only $5 in Ecuador), but we wouldn't be allowed into Peru with the bikes without it.

    Tom and I working with the most helpful customs agents in the world


    I got two whole customs agents to myself!

    Paperwork complete, a few more pictures with our new friends, and we were free to enter country number 13. Far from being the terrible, difficult, corrupt border we'd been warned about, the border into Peru was one of the nicest, quietest, friendliest borders we've crossed.

    Phil and I saying goodbye to our customs friends with one final photo (or five).

     

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    2014-01-07-croppedwhitneybeach.jpg
    Photo Courtesy of Whitney Tressel. Article by Whitney Tressel of Budget Travel.

    We can almost guarantee that if you haven't been to Costa Rica yet, one of your travel-crazy friends has. And they've told you all about it, right? The beaches and the rain forests. The food. The eco-resorts. And, of course, the zip-lining. Yes, it really is as great as your friends say it is. And, yes, you can try zip-lining over a cloud forest no matter what your level of daring is! Here, five ways to see this tropical paradise suited to five types of "vacation personalities." But the truth is, in Costa Rica you can really do it all.

    Click here to see photos of the ultimate (affordable!) tropical vacation!

    RELAX!
    Sure, Costa Rica is known for its thrill factor, but its local greeting, pura vida, is a reminder to take it easy and enjoy yourself. The country's string of gorgeous, warm Pacific beaches is just the place to do it, and Blue Water Properties has more than 50 vacation rentals over several beaches. In Tamarindo, Blue Water's Casa Ruby offers a private back yard pool, three bedrooms, Wi-Fi, and daily housekeeping. Head south on the Nicoya Peninsula for some rest and relaxation on the almost-private beach Playa Samara, and stay at Entre Dos Aguas, treehouse lodging that can start as low as $25/night. Of the region's many tempting hot springs, the sulfur springs of Rio Negro in Rincon de la Vieia National Park -- heated by a nearby volcano -- are the way to go.

    GO GREEN!
    In a country that practically invented ecotourism, the Ecolodge San Luis, run by the University of Georgia, is a bargain (from $102 per night during the high season) and a must for back-to-the-earth vacationers who want to mix their R&R with cow milking and demonstrations on farming and sustainable living. At the neighboring La Finca Bella coffee and sugarcane farm, you can sample locally sourced raw sugarcane, or watch the sugarcane go through a manual juicer to create an irresistibly super-sweet drink. Want a unique, earth-friendly souvenir? Take a tour of the tiny paper-making center launched by local women who wanted to get out of the house and start a business and help their community. EcoBambu sells handmade notebooks, bookmarks, and stationery sets made from 100 percent recycled materials.

    CHECK OFF THE MUST-SEES!
    If zip-lining through a rain forest isn't near the top of your bucket list, it should be. Selvatura Park's canopy tour will have you "flying" along 15 cable lines through the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Exploring the park on nature hikes and birdwatching walks is just as thrilling, with 400 species of birds -- including the endangered three-wattled bellbird with its deep "boooooong" call and the fabled blue, green, and red quetzal. North of the rain forest, Arenal Volcano National Park is dominated by the 5,437-foot volcano presiding over the lush green parkland. On the park's east side, jaw-dropping La Fortunawaterfall is worth the hike -- and jumping into its icy cold waters is one of those "why not" moments that belongs on your list!

    EAT!
    The University of Georgia campus at Santa Elena offers an incredible experience-learning the art of cooking the perfect empanada or arepa with a Costa Rican family for $6.50 per person. Nearby Café Caburé Restaurant & Chocolate Shop offers a $10 tour filled with "bean to bar" info and tasting of the rather bitter cacao nibs and hands-on truffle-making. Most Costa Rican menus will feature casados: meat or fresh fish served with rice, black beans, salad, and plantains. Yeah, it's as good as it sounds! But you can also switch it up when you get to the Pacific coast -- Cala Moresca at Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, near Tamarindo, offers "gourmet fusion" style dishes and was the first restaurant in Costa Rica to serve exclusively sustainable, organic food with a biodynamic wine list.

    GET DARING!
    You haven't really surfed, ridden a horse, or floated down a river until you've done it Central American style -- which, quite honestly, should be reserved for adrenaline junkies only. The legendary Witch's Rock surf spot, featured in the film Endless Summer II, is a bit gnarly for novices, but the Witch's Rock Surf Camp provides lessons on the sand and, if you're so inclined, will get you up and hanging ten in no time. Northeast of the beaches, in Guanacaste, the Hacienda Guachipelin adventure tour company leads horseback rides that plow across creeks and up and down forest trails, culminating at Victoria Waterfall, where you'll switch to rafts for floating the rough rapids of the Rio Negro--a far cry from the leisurely pace of your run-of-the-mill water park.

    Click here to see 25 Stunning Scenes from Costa Rica!

    More From Budget Travel:

    10 Best Budget Destinations for 2014
    10 Stupidest Things Americans Do Overseas
    40 More Passport Stamps Worth Bragging About
    13 Travel Products You'll Need This Winter
    11 Bucket List Adventures You Can Actually Afford


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    In case you haven't heard, a good portion of the country is in the grips of a "polar vortex" that's bringing record-breaking low temperatures and wind chills to places unaccustomed to such extreme cold. If that's you, take a mental vacation with these 9 gorgeous luxury homes that are blissfully far away from any temp with a minus sign. In fact, they are so far from this nonsense, they're in Hawaii. Here's what you could be doing over there right now.

    You could be drinking a nice cocktail while overlooking a gorgeous vista.



    You could be contemplating the palm trees from a porch.


    You could be sitting out on a patio, watching the waves crash onto a picture-perfect beach.


    You could be swimming in a pool.


    Or you could take a nap, then wake up to a stunning view.


    You could be relaxing on a lanai.


    You could be swimming up to a bar.


    You could walk through a gorgeous garden landscape.


    You could take a shower...outdoors.

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    Air travel safety is serious business, but it never hurts to infuse some fun into the matter.

    Virgin America's safety video, released in October, is already pretty fun, with all the singing, dancing and some good natured humor.

    Apparently, the safety video just isn't fun enough. One Virgin America fight attendant decided to enhance the video with his own sweet dance moves and lip synching. And really, it's pretty awesome.

    See for yourself in the video below!


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    Ah, the friendly skies. I long to be able to travel like they did in the 1950s where it seemed fun and exciting. Those were the days of happy passengers who dressed up for their special trip. The pilots wore happy smiles and it was actually a thrilling career to be a stewardess. There were no long lines to wait in. You didn't have to remove your clothes and deal with cavity searches. And, most importantly, you didn't have to go broke before you even got on the airplane.

    How did we go wrong?

    Up, Up and Away

    I recently went on a trip from Los Angeles to Raleigh Durham with my husband. Being a financial planner, I am always looking for creative ways to save money on traveling. Even with some careful calculations, I still shake my head when we arrive at the airport and our budget implodes almost instantaneously. It feels like there is some sort of uninvited guest that reaches into our wallet and pulls money out without asking for permission.

    How can you travel these days and not go broke before you board? Here are a few tips based on our trip to save you from a nervous breakdown before you board.

    Park and Ride, or Drive ABC's:

    Take the shuttle vs. park your car? Los Angeles airport is a fiasco to get to. Someday I dream of living somewhere else where the "getting to the airport" piece is a lot less stressful. I digress.

    Shuttle Basics -- Taking the shuttle in L.A. costs you around $40 for us both each way on Super Shuttle. Not too bad if you don't mind leaving super early for the airport and potentially sharing a ride.

    Parking -- Please make sure you use a discount-parking site to find a better deal on parking and reserve your spot. We saved $3 a day by doing so on www.cheapairportparking.com. Total to park for our trip was $70, less expensive than the shuttle.

    Also, look at your alumni discount offerings as sometimes they have a deal with airport parking. For instance, I went to Pepperdine University and they have an arrangement with The Parking Spot -- score!

    One Bag For Me Please ABC's:

    Baggage Fee -- Seriously? I mean really? Why on earth does it cost $25 per bag? I will avoid a rant on price gouging and just offer what you need to know. If you fly a particular airline like we do, American Airlines, then get their credit card. Not only do you get enough points when you sign up for a free flight, but with the American card we get four free bags and priority tagging so we can avoid any nasty over weight fees. Right there we saved $50 each way!

    Honey, I'm HUNGRY ABC's:

    Even if you weren't hungry when you got to the airport, suddenly every belly begins to rumble when you finally make it through the dreaded security points. Most airports are offering some great eateries... with some not so great prices.

    We chose to eat at what seemed like a good choice at the time, La Provence Patisserie. Two innocent sandwiches cost us $28. I would pay $14 for a sandwich if I was in Paris, the mecca of great sandwiches, or some other amazing culinary destination. Not at LAX.

    OK, so we failed in this area, but you can do better. You are allowed to bring food through the checkpoints, just not liquids. Go to Subway, pack a sandwich, make extras from your dinner the night before, anything will likely run you at least 50 percent less than what you would pay at the airport.

    Quick, I Need Water ABC's:

    I'm lovingly called a camel. Hey, camels can be cute. I can out-drink anyone on water consumption. Those sneaky airport devils have me beat hands down. I simply must get water, and a ton of water. Luckily, I don't drink coffee, but they have you beat there too. Three bottles of water later and we've spent another $15. Here's a good suggestion to save you money here, especially if you are traveling a distance. Drink your bottle in the airport if you must, and then ask the flight attendant to refill your entire bottle. Or better yet, bring along a couple empty bottles with you and have them fill those up.

    Look Who's On The Cover ABC's:

    Don't the stores in airports look like bright shiny objects? You must explore, even the crazy touristy swag looks appealing in the store in the airport. I could write a whole article on how to save money on magazines, but here is what you need to know. You are paying a premium when you buy them at the airport. Three or four magazines and you've spent close to $20 for something you will read and likely leave behind.

    We bought an issue of Rolling Stone and it was $6.99! I'm sorry (whoever was on the cover) but you aren't worth that sticker shock.

    Get a subscription and bring magazines from home, or load up some on your Ioad that will cost you less. When you get on the plane, ask the flight attendants if you can look through the magazines they have on the plane. You would be surprised what is left behind and just sitting there waiting to be read.

    Don't get sucked into the vortex of airport spending. Beat them at their own game! Yes, you likely have to pay for parking, and probably some water or coffee, but you can win in all the other categories of spending with some creative thinking and planning ahead.

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  • 01/08/14--07:41: Paris, Believe the Hype
  • I'm a hater of all things hyped. New York, the Rolling Stones, croughnuts -- overrated! It is a surprise then, even to me, that I am so besotted with Paris. Could there be a metropolis more absurdly romanticized? Even New York doesn't hold the mantle of the most defied plot of land on planet earth. Despite all the hoopla about Paris -- the cinema, literature, poetry, music and art --it still exceeds my expectations.

    As a nonbeliever in hype, I am also firmly against places you "have to go" before you die. As if some generic deathbed checklist (skydiving! scuba diving! do all the diving!) is the sum of a satisfying human experience. And yet...I felt strangely compelled to go to Paris, it was the one place I had to see before I bought the farm. Burrowed in my cynical heart was the certainty that all those luscious films -- The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, An American in Paris, City Lights -- knew something that I didn't.

    This is a city you slip on like a velvet glove. That you savor more than a melting salted caramel. A city that is as pleasant with bite of wind and fallen leaf as it is with buttery sun and fragrant bloom.

    What a pity that Parisians never get to visit Paris.

    Eat

    Bistrot Paul Bert. They did things with asparagus that I never thought possible.

    Berthillon. My only regret in life was that my second time in Paris it was too cold to eat ice cream.

    Candelaria. When the big wines, fluffy quiche and creamed spinach become all too much, this fresh taquería with cool cocktails is the perfect antidote. I had a soup that tasted exactly like tamale, but in soup form. Enough said.

    Drink

    There is no shortage of good wine, but Paris is also perfecting the craft cocktail. Here are a few places to take a break from sumptuous Burgundy's and bright Bordeaux's.

    Experimental Cocktail Club. An excellent place to brush elbows with hip locals while an aloof French DJ mixes Koko Taylor.

    Le Marie Celeste. The best oysters I've ever had the pleasure of, and a cucumber cocktail is filled with all that is good and pure in this world.

    LMDW. This chic liquor store that will make you salivate: bitters with looping ink fonts and gold-embossed labels, and glistening colored-glass bottles filled with small batch heaven. But most important they have an upstairs bar where they do mixology training and whiskey tasting. Why buy boutique cocktails when you can make them yourself?

    Be Merry

    Les Marionnettes du Luxembourg. This mirthful piece of theatre will have you simultaneously filled with enchantment and hatred. Enchantment for the magic filled hour of puppetry and hatred that Paris is, in fact, amazing enough to have a five-euro marionette theater in the middle of glorious Luxembourg park.

    Cabaret. The Moulin Rouge may be costly and touristic, but it's also good, dirty fun and I highly recommend it. If you're looking for cabaret off the beaten path, then check out the Aux Trois Mailletz instead. The show gets started late and slowly builds to a magnificent crescendo before your wine-glazed eyes.

    Vélib' Bikes. The cheapest and most thrilling form of entertainment you can have in gay Paree is a bike ride through the sweeping boulevards. Go ahead, put a baguette in your bike basket. Treat yourself. You're in Paris after all.

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    2013-12-29-4fbfd817a6af0c19ae9001d89ffe025c.jpg
    Positano seem from the Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse. Photo: Pavia Rosati

    Summer may be a distant memory, but we still have warm weather on the brain! Craving gorgeous vistas (other than our cubicle walls!) we turned to Pavia Rosati. Rosati founded Fathom and "been going to Italy since before [she] could walk," so we knew she'd be able to steer us to the best of la dolce vita.

    Rosati suggested the Amalfi Coast, a stunning -- to say the least -- stretch of coastline on the Sorrentine Peninsula (south of Naples), as well as the historically-glam isle of Capri, located just offshore. Here, she answers our questions about her favorite Amalfi haunts and jaunts -- and gives us some packing advice for good measure.

    WHERE TO STAY?

    If you're traveling on a budget, stay at the Amalfi Coast's Lo Scoglio in Nerano, a mellow, family-run boutique hotel and restaurant right on the sea. It's in a small village, and it gets really quiet at night, which means you wake up to the sound of waves crashing below. 'Waves' on the Amalfi Coast, by the way, translate as 'gentle lapping sounds.'

    If you're splurging, spend a night on Capri at J.K. Place Capri. It's impossibly chic -- a great place to hide when the tourists invade the island. The breakfast spread is worth waking up for."

    WHAT ARE SOME CAN'T-MISS SIGHTS?

    1. The gardens and the views at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello are stunning. Well-known, but for good reason.

    2. Villa San Michele on Capri - more gardens, art, and views. Not that anyone could ever tire of this.

    3. St. Andrew, the Amalfi Cathedral. The imposing staircase. The many rooms and architectural styles. The crypt. The sheer weight of history. Beautiful.

    NOT IN THE GUIDEBOOK!

    1. The nature walk down to the bay of Ieranto. Start in Nerano and follow the path down to the sea. You'll pass olive groves, old Saracen watch towers, a few homes (who lives here?), and an abandoned quarry on your way down to the water.

    2. Punta Campanella is another cove to walk and explore. The cliché is that the Amalfi Coast is too crowded. It can be, but then you walk the path along the coastline and don't see anyone for miles.

    3. Pedalò is the Italian term for paddleboats, and it's what you want to rent along the beach in Nerano. For 20 euros, you can spend hours exploring the coastline from the water, stopping for a swim or a beer at La Conca del Sogno, a restaurant you can only reach by boat.


    PERFECT NIGHT ON THE AMALFI COAST:

    Start with cocktails at Relais Blu in Termini, as the sun sets over Capri on the horizon. Then have a four-hour dinner at Don Alfonso. At the end of the night, explore the wine cellar, which is built into an old Etruscan passageway down to the sea.

    WHAT SHOULD WE SAVE ROOM IN OUR SUITCASES FOR?

    Olive oil from Don Alfonso and hand-made sandals from Il Piccolo Positano in Nerano.

    WHAT SHOULD WE PACK?

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    1. Big sunglasses. It's bright, and the sun reflects off the sea.

    2. A few casual but pretty dresses, in case you need to go from a walk around the coast straight to dinner. Wear colors; black looks all wrong on the Amalfi Coast. And nothing too fitted -- you're going to be eating a lot.

    3. A scarf and a sweater in case it gets chilly at night.

    2013-12-29-mailing_amalficoast_A.jpg

    4. One bold piece of jewelry, preferably gold, that looks expensive. The look is classic, not edgy, around here.

    5. A fun but not-too-taxing novel that you can get lost in, like The Imperfectionists, and Fellini movies on your iPad.

    Shoptiques.com is an online destination for the world's most exceptional boutiques.

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    According to Monocle Magazine, Copenhagen is the most liveable city in the world 2013. "World-conquering urban quality of life requires the trickiest of balancing acts between progress and preservation, stimulation and security, global and local. Perfection is unobtainable but Copenhagen is striking one of the best deals right now."

    2013-12-30-IMG_0556.JPG

    I surely became fascinated with this cosmopolitan city on my trip there. Yes, there was a bit of rain, and let's be frank, it is not a cheap city...but Copenhagen has just about everything: eco-friendly environment, fashion, culture, attractions, natural beauty, lakes, international cuisine, beautiful people, and friendly faces. The efficiency of public transport made my trip even easier. Thanks to Visit Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Card, which came in handy on many occasions. I indulged, visited, observed and experienced my way through the Nordic hotspot. From art, to culture, to fun, the city opened itself up to me.

    Like a kid, one of my first stops was the Tivoli Gardens, the renowned amusement park that sits right in the middle of the downtown area. Rides, games, and food delight every park-goer, whether you're two years old or 80 years old! Since the park is right in the center, I also enjoyed walking around the city, stopping in to little boutiques and stores.

    The city is certainly a green capital, and people enjoy biking everywhere. I was impressed at the ease and safety of the bike paths spread throughout the city. I also marveled at the fact that the bike lane had its own traffic light, and that Copenhagen residents line up with their bicycle at the red light. Where else would you see such order and obedience?

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    The beauty of the city is also characterized by an ever-present natural element: water. Most Copenhageners enjoy swimming in the harbor, dining near the canals, and having a picnic at the lakes.

    On the fashion front, the city overflows with designer shops, flagship stores, high end department stores, budget-friendly chains and small boutiques, and indie designers.

    2013-12-30-IMG_0542.JPG

    As if all this wasn't enough, Copenhagen is fast becoming one of the leading gastronomic destinations. In fact, the world's 'most popular' restaurant, NOMA, is a coveted reservation. You have to reserve at least 12 months in advance. Besides NOMA, the city has food for every palette: Danish, Thai, Vietnamese, French, Turkish, you name it.

    I was surrounded by fresh ingredients and international fare, and I could not have been happier. I enjoyed learning about the gastronomic scene from Copenhagen Food Tours. This tour shows you some of the best in Copenhagen food, tasting all along the way. It meets at Torvehallerne, a food market with an array of fresh fare and lunch options.

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    Outside of great Nordic food, Copenhagen has some of the best Asian cuisine. I had read online that restaurant Lê Lê and its quick dining take away venues was a big hit in the city. I hung out with both the chef, Vincent Chaisy, and Ahn Le, owner of Restaurant Lê Lê. Ahn treated me to one of the best feasts and conversation of my life.

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    Thank you to Visit Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Card.

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    Thai budget airline Nok Air is taking Ryanair's skimpy flight attendant calendar concept to the next level once again.

    Instead of the airline's flight attendants gracing the pages of its 2014 calendars (à la Ryanair), the "10 hottest bunnies" of Playboy Thailand strike poses alongside Boeing 747s.

    The calendar isn't all that shocking -- last year Nok Air featured Maxim models on the pages of their calendar, which made some controversial waves.

    In March, Nok Air published a very specific advertisement on Facebook seeking flight attendants for its fleet. Some of the specifications included being less than 25 years old, having proportional height and weight, and absolutely no braces.

    Interested in the calendar? You can download a preview at Playboy Thailand's website or check out photos via their Instagram account. You'll probably have to fly on one of Nok Air's 747s to get a hard copy.

    Check out some of the photos below:

    nok air











    h/t Jaunted


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    With 2014 nearly here, we know what's coming -- a new year, a clean slate, and a list of New Year's resolutions. And while it's easy to stray from your most well-intentioned goals, do your best to keep those travel resolutions intact. After all, globe-trotting is a whole lot more fun than, say, dieting.

    We asked Travel + Leisure's Twitter fans and editors to share their travel resolutions for 2014, using the hashtag #TLTips. Our favorites include T+L editor Peter Frank's plan to slurp up every noodle in sight while traveling in Asia and T+L fan @wanderbliss's goal to "make more of an effort to meet locals and speak foreign languages."

    When it comes to travel, it's okay to have lofty goals. Just don't wait too long to book your getaway. Only then will it become a reality -- and a completed resolution. We'll toast to that.

    --Gabrielle Blitz

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    To say there's room for improvement in the airline industry is a clear understatement. Between baggage fees, customer-service fails, and hellish flight delays, most carriers consistently keep our expectations at tarmac level. It's about time for the airlines to do a better job, and we know just where they should start. Across the board, all airlines should make an effort to execute the following 10 ideas.

    Do you agree? Tell us what you think airlines should improve upon in the comments.

    Sell a la Carte Tickets

    Amtrak does it. A few airlines, like JetBlue, AirTran, and Southwest, do it too. They have an a la carte pricing scheme. They sell one-way fares that cost the same amount per mile as round-trip tickets. Still, the major legacy carriers continue to sell us one-way or open-jaw tickets at exorbitant, cringe-worthy prices. The reason they pummel us like this is because business travelers often buy one-way tickets and their companies will eat the costs. Therein, the legacy airlines force all one-way travelers, whether flying for business or pleasure, to try tricky schemes like buying throwaway or hidden-city tickets in order to find affordable fares. Let's stop playing these silly pricing games, airlines. Give us fair fares.

    Offer Electronic Boarding Passes

    Some airlines have check-in systems that allow passengers to use electronic boarding passes stored on their mobile devices at select airports. This is a small effort, but it makes a big difference. It's often difficult for travelers to find a printer, and there's not always time to wait in line at the check-in desk at the airport. Most major carriers now offer the option to download a mobile plane ticket, but some are still shackled to paper: Spirit and AirTran come to mind. Southwest is working on it and says it will offer mobile boarding passes by next year.

    Arrive on Time

    Airlines: You have one job. Get us to our destinations on time. Some carriers do this a lot better than others, and we're going to name names. A recent Air Travel Consumer Report from the Department of Transportation (DOT) showed that only about three-fourths of Southwest flights arrived on time in September 2013. In other words, if you were flying on Southwest this past September, there was a one-in-four chance that your flight would be delayed. Not cool, Southwest. According to Skift, Southwest says its poor performance was the result of "unexpected summer weather" and that the airline is "working on schedule tweaks that will improve our performance in the next few months."

    Let Us Surf the Web for Free

    Take away the dirty seatback screens and give us a fast, decent Internet connection. I would much rather stream Netflix, take care of some emails, and beef up my Pinterest boards than watch lousy in-flight movies or old Two and a Half Men episodes. So far, JetBlue is the only airline to provide an in-flight Internet connection that rivals at-home speeds. For now, the ViaSat-powered Wi-Fi is free (hurray!), but it's only available on a few of the aircraft in JetBlue's fleet. Some other airlines use expensive, slow systems like GoGo, but, overall, in-flight connectivity is still few and far between in the industry.

    Refund Fees When Our Bags Are Delayed

    This is the ultimate slap in the traveler's face: The airline makes you pay, oh, $25 for a checked bag. Then the carrier loses your suitcase for a few days and practically ruins your trip. You eventually get your bag back, but you're still out 25 bucks. It's rubbish. Airlines must refund bag fees if they permanently lose your luggage, but carriers aren't required to give back the fees if you get your stuff back... eventually. And most won't. This isn't fair, and it needs to change.

    Have a Sense of Humor

    I was waiting to board a JetBlue flight when the gate agent called "all New York Giants fans" to board before the economy crowd. There was a quiet pause as we processed the instruction. Then we realized it was a joke and a smattering of laughter broke out. In that momentary silence, I sensed the brief uncertainty caused by a divergence from the somber air-travel routine. We're not used to color and comedy in the airport or on the plane. But it makes the experience worlds better. Humor helps us to relax, to treat others better, and to see the silliness in stressful situations. The airlines would do well to hire more gate agents, attendants, and customer-service reps with wit and vivacity.

    Participate in PreCheck

    In order to be eligible for PreCheck security screenings, a traveler must be flying with an airline that has agreed to partner with the TSA. But not all airlines participate in the TSA's expedited-security program. As it stands, nine U.S. carriers are part of PreCheck; this limits the reach of the program. Even if you pay the $85 application fee and are approved to join PreCheck, you won't receive expedited screening when flying with, say, Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier, or AirTran. For those travelers who regularly fly these airlines or smaller regional carriers, PreCheck is a bust. It's a complex issue, but our desire is a simple one: We want a faster, more streamlined security process, no matter with whom we're flying.

    Show Us All the Available Seats on the Seat Map

    We're not stupid. We know, when it's time to choose our seats, that the airline website isn't being totally honest. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, we're right:

    "Airlines routinely block coach seats for a variety of reasons, reducing the pool of available seats to reserve free of charge in advance when you book a trip. On many flights now, 30 percent to 40 percent of coach seats are held back by the airline for premium customers [or] people with special needs or [are] available only for a fee."


    That's pretty slimy. But there's a workaround. Most airlines release these hidden seats the day before departure. Check in for your flight 24 hours in advance, peek at the seat map again, and you might come across a better selection of fee-free seats that are not middle spots in the back of the plane. Or the airlines could show us accurate seat maps. Just a thought.

    Allow Gate-to-Gate Device Usage

    While we're happy that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally came to its senses and cleared gate-to-gate device usage on flights, we're impatiently waiting for all carriers to get on board. For now, only select airlines allow flyers to use mobile devices during takeoff and landing. (Before an airline can change its device rules, it must show the FAA that its fleet can withstand radio interference.) Once you've been on a flight during which passengers were permitted to listen to music or play games during takeoff, it seems absurd and regressive to be told to stow mobile devices when you fly on an airline that hasn't verified its fleet with the FAA.

    Respond to Our Complaints

    It's not easy to get an airline to respond to a complaint. It's even harder if you don't declare your concerns before a community of online followers. It often seems as if airlines will only respond when high-profile passengers get vocal in front of a significant audience, via Twitter complaints or Facebook callouts. Passenger complaints in the form of emails or phone calls can feel futile. In September, a British Airways flyer spent $1,000 advertising his complaint on Twitter when the airline lost his luggage. The man got an apology and his bag back. But really, passengers shouldn't have to use social media advertisements to get an airline's attention. Your Klout score should not make you more worthy of a customer service rep's time than the passenger who is not an online "influencer." Hey, airlines: If you worked on your basic communication skills and answered our emails, we wouldn't have to expose your faults on the Internet.

    --By Caroline Costello

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    Read the original story: 10 Things We Wish All Airlines Did by Caroline Costello, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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    We all know that feeling: when you return home from a fabulous trip and struggle to reacclimatize to everyday life. Post-travel hangovers can leave you exhausted, unmotivated, or blue (if not all three). But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can beat the inertia, dive right back into a productive routine, and even infuse your home life with that excitement and inspiration you felt while you were away. Read on for 10 ways to prevent that next vacation hangover.

    Unpack

    Do this, if nothing else: Unpack your bags as soon as possible. While you might tell yourself that tomorrow is just as good as today to begin the annoying (and potentially heartbreaking) process of removing all signs of your recent trip, you're really just fooling yourself. Each day that you let your unpacked suitcase take up space in the corner of your bedroom is another day that you're not fully committing yourself to the present time and place.

    Do Laundry

    Leaving a mountain of dirty vacation clothes in your hamper is almost as bad as leaving it in your suitcase. Take some time out of your schedule to launder, fold, and put away the bathing suits and shorts that are only serving as painful midwinter reminders of the 80-degree weather you were basking in just a few days ago.

    Go Grocery Shopping

    Your fridge is most likely empty -- or funky-smelling from that spinach you forgot to throw away before you left -- so clean it out, then head to the grocery store and stock up on your regular essentials. It may seem like a small thing, but having your go-to snacks and food items right where you're used to seeing them will go far toward making your house seem like home again.

    Detox From Vacation Food

    One of the best parts of traveling is trying out new foods and savoring every last special treat. But when you get back, your body will probably be craving fruits and veggies, so give it what it needs. Take a break from rich, heavy feasts by avoiding takeout and preparing a few healthy dinners yourself. While it might seem ho-hum after a week of dressing up for fancy out-of-town restaurants, making a meal in your own kitchen can really help you settle back in and getting a healthier eating routine back on track.

    Get Some Exercise

    Beat the post-travel blues by releasing some endorphins via physical activity, whether it's getting back into the swing of your yoga-class schedule or going on a run. The disappointment you might feel as a result of your vacation's end can lead to the feeling that nothing -- aside from getting on a plane and heading straight back -- can bring about that same energy again. Blast those thoughts away with a good workout session and remind yourself that there are many ways to get that feel-good boost.

    Balance Your Budget

    Make sure to check your bank-account balance as soon as you get home, if you weren't already keeping up with it while you were away. Not only will your travel spending inform your budget decisions for the immediate future, but you'll want to take a close look at your statement -- while the recent charges are still fresh in your mind -- to make sure there is nothing you need to take up with the bank.

    Organize Your Photos

    Wait too long to unload, edit, and share your travel photos, and you'll run the risk of forgetting the rich details of your trip. Don't let your camera collect dust: Block out a few hours and organize your snaps. Instead of mourning the loss of those scenic vistas, relive your vacation by making a photo album that serves as a reminder of why you love to travel.

    Beat the Jet Lag

    On your first Monday back in the office, don't give in to that urge to crawl under your desk and take a nap at 2 p.m. Instead, fight your jet lag by going to bed at the normal hour for your current location (taking melatonin or sleeping aids if necessary) and staying hydrated. You can also start fighting impending jet lag before it even starts; read our tips for avoiding it here.

    Nurse Your Reverse Culture Shock

    To beat that "What am I doing in [insert boring place] when I could be back in [insert fabulous vacation destination]?" feeling, try to remind yourself of the things that you love about your hometown. What that means is entirely subjective, but it could be anything from taking a walk through the park near your house to catching up with friends at your favorite neighborhood bar. Just remember that if you were always on vacation, there'd be nothing left to look forward to (and you'd be very broke).

    Plan the Next One

    In the midst of this thrust to readjust to regular life, make sure you take time to reflect on your trip and share the details of your getaway with friends and family. Think about everything you learned and what you most want to take away from the experience. And then start planning again! There's no better way to cure a travel hangover than to pull out a map, do some research, and get excited about the amazing adventures to come.

    --By Julianne Lowell

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    Read the original story: Cures for the Travel Hangover by Julianne Lowell, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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    Marcus Kydd was crabbing with his father and younger brother in Nanaimo, B.C. when he decided to attach his GoPro camera to a pod. The resulting time lapse video is mesmerizing.

    You can see how crabs approach and then devour the bait inside the pod. Guest appearance by a seal.

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    And we thought the TSA was the most invasive part of flying.

    An American Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York's Kennedy Airport was forced to make an emergency landing in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, after what appears to be a camera -- disguised as a flash drive -- was discovered taped to part of the airplane bathroom.

    The creepy find was reported by NBC News, who received the tip from unnamed senior government officials.

    American Airlines confirmed to The Huffington Post that the flight had indeed been diverted "due to a safety concern," but had no other information to disclose about the incident.

    In the absence of any other firm details, CNET's Chris Matyszczyk strung together the words "mile," "high" and "club" as one possible theory for the alleged camera. Conde Nast's pop culture travel blog, Jaunted, went a step further to ruminate on just who would do this:

    It's a creep who tapes a tiny camera in a bathroom and spies on people while they're doing their business, and - because of said creep's mind-blowing creepiness - forces a transcontinental flight to make an emergency landing, thereby stranding over 200 people in of all places Kansas City. It boggles the imagination, doesn't it, how much you would have hated that person if you were on the flight.


    Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte later confirmed the item was not an explosive of any sort, tweeting:




    All the Boeing 767's 227 passengers and crew members were evacuated safely, reports the Associated Press.

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    (MOSCOW-AFP) - Moscow's two main international airports Wednesday announced a flat ban on all carry-on liquids as part of a mass security clampdown ahead of next month's Sochi Winter Games.

    Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports handle the vast majority of Russia's international air traffic and will receive the bulk of foreign fans arriving for the February 7-23 sports festivities on the shores of the Black Sea.

    Their joint move caught many Russians off guard and sparked a furious online debate about a measure that appears to extend to medication and cosmetics.

    Russia this week launched the largest security operation in Olympic history that is meant to ward off the threat of Islamist violence following twin suicide attacks in the southern hub of Volgograd last month.

    The December 29-30 bombings left 34 dead and sparked fears of a renewed terror campaign by militants from the nearby North Caucasus who have threatened attacks before and during the Games.

    Sheremetyevo airport said on its website that the ban covers "all liquids, including personal hygiene items, cosmetics, medicine, liquids, sprays and gels in any amount."

    The restrictions -- adopted by the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) -- apply until March 21. The two airports had previously let passengers take up to 100 millilitres (3.4 ounces) of liquids on board their flights.

    Security has been a prime concerns ever since President Vladimir Putin beat extreme odds in 2007 to bring Russia's first post-Soviet Games to the Black Sea summer resort.

    Russia on Tuesday saw soldiers in armoured vehicles and navy officers on the Black Sea join a 37,000-strong contingent overseeing security in and around Sochi.

    A Kremlin decree also establishes a so-called "forbidden zone" around Sochi that blocks highways into the city and prevents all residents from using roads leading to Olympic venues without special permits.

    Security analysts argue the mass attention devoted to safety around Olympic venues may have left Russia exposed to attacks at other locations.

    But the stringent new airport restrictions sparked complaints from some Russians.

    Russia's Aeroflot flagship airline notably said travellers will be stripped of prescribed medication unless they can prove it needs to be used during flights.

    "This is really inconvenient," a man who identified himself as Yevgeny Koval complained on Aeroflot's Twitter account.

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    ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines says it will install new seats and bigger overhead bins on many of the planes it flies within the U.S. It's squeezing more seats onto many of those planes, too.

    Delta said on Wednesday that the project will cover 225 planes. Passengers will have electrical power at every seat, and most of them are getting bigger overhead bins and new seats. Delta will be able to fit more seats onto many of those planes, including about 19 more seats on its Boeing 757-200s, six more on its Airbus A319s, and 10 more on its A320s.

    It's getting the extra space by using so-called "slim-line" seats that have a smaller, lighter-weight frame from front to back. And on the 757s, the new kitchens, called galleys, will take up less space. Also, some of the 757s will have fewer business-class seats, making room for more coach seats.

    Legroom on the planes will be about the same as now, Delta Air Lines Inc. spokesman Paul Skrbec said. Seats on the Airbus planes will be slightly wider.

    Atlanta-based Delta is also overhauling the interiors on its Boeing 737-800s, but the number of seats will remain the same.

    Delta's 757s include a mix of planes that it has always owned, and planes it got when it bought Northwest Airlines in 2008. The remodeling will make the interiors on those planes the same.

    Delta plans to spend $770 million on the three-year project, which begins this winter and will run through the end of 2016.

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    Perhaps the only thing more astonishing than people surfing in Minnesota is people surfing in Minnesota when it's thirteen degrees below zero.

    As a series of winter storms pounded the Midwest, Burton Hathaway and roughly ten other brave souls didn't batten down the hatches like everyone else; they saw a great opportunity. Stoney Point, Minnesota, according to Hathaway, is "the Mecca of Great Lakes surfing." Because Lake Superior (the deepest of the Great Lakes) holds its heat the longest, the water temperature was a pleasant "36 to 38 degrees," even as the windchill was -51 degrees.

    Hathaway, a Southern California native, now lives in Wisconsin and drove seven hours to catch the swell at Stoney Point. He applied Vaseline to his face to prevent frostbite and told GrindTV that the toughest part is having to wait until all the ice melts off of your wetsuit in order to change out of it. The defrosting process can take up to 30 minutes, but if you don't endure it, "you’ll rip your wetsuit trying to get out of it."

    Freshwater surfing, he told Surfline, is "a total different experience." Surfers have to use thicker, wider boards since the freshwater isn't as buoyant as the ocean, making floating a bit more difficult. "You feel like you're surfing in slow motion on some of these waves," Hathaway said.

    "In the back of your mind," he told GrindTV, "you know you can die surfing in these very harsh and unforgiving conditions, but we live for surfing out here on the Great Lakes, and that is our passion."

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