Travel News: 10 Best Museums Across The UK As Voted For By Tourists

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10 Best Museums Across The UK As Voted For By Tourists

Travelnewswire reports the UK is home to a whole host of brilliant museums from historic buildings to galleries with impressive art collections, but there are an elite few that never fail to dazzle visitors. Now, the UK’s top 10 best museums have been revealed by tourists themselves, in this year’s TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards. 1. Victoria & Albert Museum, London; 2. National Gallery, London; 3. British Museum, London; 4. Natural History Museum, London; 5. Roman Baths, Bath; 6. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; 7. Churchill War Rooms London; 8. National Railway Museum, York; 9. Titanic Belfast: 10. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.

 

Riu Palace Reopens In Punta Cana

Open Jaw reports that Riu Palace Punta Cana has reopened following an extensive renovation that introduced a host of new amenities along with new décor. The all-inclusive resort now features a new interior design in the common areas and all of its 676 rooms have been updated to feature larger bathrooms with walk-in showers. Around the resort, the property now features four new pools, including one next to the new RiuLand Kids Club with water slides. Other new additions include a brand-new spa and gym. The hotel also now offers five bars, including a cocktail lounge, lobby bar, 24-hours sports bar, poolside bar with a swim-up bar and a new café and pastry shop. There is also a new Spanish restaurant, in addition to the five other dining venues that were all updated during the renovation.

 

Hundreds To Clear Plastic Waste Off Dominican Republic Coast

Travelmole reports the Dominican Republic has drafted in 500 workers, including the military and local authority teams, to clean up tons of plastic waste being washed up on its beaches. Residents and conservationists have also joined in the clean-up and an estimated 54 tons of plastic has been cleared over the past few days. Conservationists have warned the waste is threatening the Dominican Republic’s reputation as a natural paradise and is harming wildlife. A video has been released by conservation group, Parley, entitled State of Emergency: Santo Domingo, showing the waste being carried by the waves around Montesinos Beach in the city. At certain points, the Caribbean Sea is not visible because there is so much plastic. Parley said: “With wave after wave of plastic waster ashore in the Dominican Republic, Parley teams are on the ground dealing with the world’s largest garbage emergency. Unless urgent action is taken, scenes like this will become more common.” Parley plans to recycle the plastic and is working with local leaders to help prevent future rubbish build ups.

 

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Raises Ticket Prices

Effective July 23, 2018, general admission tickets for KSC Visitor Complex will increase from $50 to $57. It’s the first hike in ticket prices since 2012. It will cost more to see the retired space shuttle Atlantis, a Saturn V moon rocket or IMAX movies at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The standard admission price is going up $7, to $57 for adults (age 12 and over) and $47 for children ages 3 to 11, increases of 14% and 18% respectively. A smaller $4 bump will be implemented for senior citizens and military service members, who will now pay $50, up 9%. There’s no change for student field trips or to a $10 parking fee. 

  

TSA And American Airlines To Launch 3D Scanning Technology For Carry-On Bags

Forbes reports new imaging technology is coming to the American Airlines security checkpoint in New York’s JFK airport that may help speed the screening process. According to a joint release between the airline and the Transportation Security Administration, American is trialing a new type of 3D X-ray scanner that will give screening staff better and more comprehensive images of carry-on bags. The resulting images should better-help screeners identify materials and cut down on flagged bags that require a manual search. The new technology, which is provided by analogic, uses Computed Tomography, or CT to produce 3D images of each scanned bag. That technology, which has been employed by the healthcare industry for years, has already been deployed to scan checked bags in most airports, but due to size constraints, has so far not been widely integrated at passenger screening checkpoints. 

 

 

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Quick Guide to the Paris Navigo Pass

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Last week, we announced the upcoming release of the Navigo Easy Pass, due out April 2019. This is an electronic (that means totally paperless!) system of navigating Paris’ maze of public transport networks.

This means: unlimited travel in selected zones and unlimited validity. Oh la la!

Conde Nast reports that the Navigo Easy Pass will be identical to London’s Oyster or Stockholm’s Access cards. It will charge a flat 2 euros then you can load it up with tickets. They’ll be unlimited – that means you can go virtually anywhere, without that pesky Monday business (read below for that fiasco).

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The only catch is you’ll have to wait at least until next April to enjoy all its benefits.

But there DOES currently exist a Navigo Pass, aka the Navigo Découverte that’s open to tourists RIGHT NOW and may be a good bet for travelers staying in Paris more than a week. So what’s all that about and is it worth it? Read on to find out more.

Where is the Navigo Découverte valid?

You can use it on the metro, RER, bus, tramway and train — but NOT  Orlyval, SNCF train lines with reserved seating, and the Optile special fare lines.

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Wait – isn’t there already the Paris Visite Pass?

The Paris Visite is specially designed for tourists and offers discounts on museums and tours. It’s more expensive, but better in a lot of ways. If you’re into sightseeing and wandering around all corners of Paris, the Visite is your best bet. The Visite is also valid from any day of the week (the Navigo is only valid from Mondays), and it’s available in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-day versions. BUT if you’re a total veteran of Paris and choose to go barebones aka the Navigo, it’ll only set you back a little bit.

Monday what now?

The Navigo pass starts on Monday morning with the first cars, and ends on Sunday. This may impact you, a traveling tourist, especially if you’re not arriving in Paris on Monday.

Navigo Liberté or Navigo Découverte?

We’ll make this easy. The Navigo Liberté is reserved for locals. Navigo Découverte is open to anyone. In this article, we always refer to the Découverte, naturally.

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So how much?

The card itself is €5 for one week, and you add on the duration you want:

  • €21.25 for Paris for the week starting Monday
  • €70 for the month (for those staying longer than a week)

How do I get one?

You can buy a Navigo pass at almost any transport ticket window in Paris.

You can also go to the website Navigo.fr to complete all of the application procedures online.

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But I’ll also need…

You will need a picture of yourself for the pass, 3cm high by 2.5cm wide, which is smaller than passport sized. You can purchase them in photo kiosks near the ticket windows that sell passes on the Metro, RER and Ile-de-France trains.

Learn more

There is an excellent page explaining how a foreigner purchased a Navigo pass here.

BOOKED A TRIP TO FRANCE WITH WITTRAVEL? ASK YOUR WITTRAVEL AGENT FOR MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO NAVIGATE THE PARIS METRO. IS THE PARIS VISITE OR NAVIGO DECOUVERTE RIGHT FOR YOU? CALL US AT 503-224-0180 OR EMAIL INQUIRY@WITTRAVEL.COM.

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The Best Travel Apps in 2018

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According to a report by Lonely Planet, around 137 million people in the USA alone use travel apps each month!

There are literally thousands of travel apps to choose from – figuring out which are the best can be a headache! So we asked around our agents and clients on their favorite apps to use overseas.

Have some you’d love to see on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Viking Voyager

Viking Cruises’ go-to app is all about enhancing your experience onboard. Guests can book dinner, shore excursions, and spa appointments—all on their phone! Access the daily program so you always know what’s going on in every corner of the ship. Read up on your ports of call, and be gently reminded when you should be back onboard. You can even watch the cruise TV on your phone.

Viking Art Guide

Did you think Viking Cruises had just one app? Think again. Perfect for art lovers, the Art Guide illuminates your cruise with details on the artwork, public spaces, and décor of the ship with a self-guided audio experience. Learn about the Bayeux Tapestry along the ship’s eight decks. Discover the unique photography that adorns the walls at Manfredi’s restaurant. Enjoy insightful commentary from artists, designers and curators, plus description of all 36 public spaces.

Moovit

Mootvit is a subway/transit guide with live time updates. With schedules and maps of 80+ countries worldwide, this is the perfect app to survive the wild chaos of London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Athens and more.

Citymaps2go

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of an overseas data plan. Or maybe you just want to get offline for the day. Citimaps2go offers offline maps to navigate those tricky streets, even when you don’t have a reliable connection.

XE Currency Converter

For years, XE has been a favorite resource for international travelers. It converts USD to every single currency in a second—necessary for those haggling markets or souvenir shops.

Aurora Forecast

Northbound? If your winter travels take you to the poles, don’t miss your chance at one of the greatest sights in the world—the aurora. This forecast app is a definitive resource in predicting aurora sightings.

WhatsApp or Skype

If you want to stay in touch with back home, either of these applications are a must. Skype is great for voice or audio connections, whereas WhatsApp delivers the message straight to your loved ones’ phones.

WIT Agent Tip!: WhatsApp can also make phone calls—just be sure to download the app on your phone while your USA SIM card is installed. The number you register the app in, stays with the app, regardless of what foreign SIM card you use later on. This is also the number the app will send a message to for verification. For example, if you want to associate whatsapp with your American number, it will send a verification message to your American number. (if you have a Malaysian sim card in your phone and you’re trying to set up whatsapp to associate with your American number, it won’t work because you won’t receive your verification code.)

Google Translate

Carry a virtual translator wherever you go. It has many added benefits, like a downloadable option so you have the language dictionary always at your fingertips, even offline. With some languages, you can even hold the camera over text in the real world, and the app translates it for you. It can even translate (with varying success) complex writing systems like Japanese Kanji.

Apple Wallet

Only available to iPhones, the Apple Wallet is a handle organizer for all sorts of tickets and cards, meaning coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, public transportation tickets, loyalty cards. I’ve found this huge as I don’t need to sift through my papers or my photos to find a boarding pass—I get it instantly, when I want it, where I want it.

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Travel News! The Planetarium Aboard the Viking Ship

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Big Sur Road Is Coming Back

LA Times reports Big Sur road coming back: Highway 1, closed for a year and a half because of massive slide, to reopen by July 20 (that’s today!). Travelers soon will be able to do something they haven’t in a year and a half: drive the 650-plus miles of California’s Highway 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Caltrans announced Tuesday that full access to the blocked area south of Gorda would reopen by 11 a.m. July 20. The new stretch of road could open to traffic a few days sooner, depending on when work is completed, according to Caltrans.

The Mud Creek Slide, which rained debris in one of the state’s largest landslides, destroyed a quarter-mile section of roadway on May 20, 2017. The road will be open to traffic in both directions, meaning there’s still time to take an uninterrupted summer road trip along the Big Sur coast. Last year, heavy rains led to slides and debris flow that wiped out a bridge and closed several points on Highway 1, including Paul’s Slide, roughly at Post Mile 21. The road is now open with a single lane and a traffic signal to direct drivers, which may cause some slowing. Construction crews worked round the clock seven days a week to complete the $54-million emergency repairs. They built new roadway across the slide, fortifying with embankments and other support features such as berms, rocks, netting and other materials.

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Courtesy of Silversea

Luxury Line Silversea To Cruise The Northeast Passage 

Silver Explorer will become the most luxurious cruise ship to sail the Northeast Passage through the Arctic when it sets sail from Nome, Alaska, to Tromso, Norway, on August 10, 2019. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Silversea’s expedition arm, the line is offering a rare cruise ship itinerary to the far northern reaches of the globe. The 25-night cruise will take in destinations in Alaska, Russia and Norway, including Wrangel Island, a UNESCO site where polar bears and walruses live; the otherworldly Champ Island with its mysterious stone spheres; Murmansk, a Russian city that dates to the early 20th century; and coastal villages like Chukotka’s Uelen, where passengers can interact with and learn about the native Chukchi and Yupik people who live there. A highlight will be the day Silver Explorer spends sailing as far north as it can toward the edge of the polar ice cap. The expedition team will be in search of seals, walruses and polar bears hanging out on the ice floes. Its onboard expedition leaders will offer lectures and workshops, and lead Zodiac trips and other shore excursions to educate passengers on the itinerary’s remote destinations. The ship carries a mere 144 passengers, and pampers them, even in rugged climates, with suite accommodations, butler service and all-inclusive fares that cover all drinks, gratuities and unlimited Wi-Fi. Fares for this sailing start at $37,260 per person, based on double occupancy. Note that all suite categories but the lowest three are currently showing waitlist status.

EU Gets Tough With AirBnB On Pricing and Policy

the European Commission and EU consumer authorities are calling on Airbnb to be more transparent with its pricing. They say Airbnb’s current pricing and some of its terms do not comply with EU rules and it has given the homeshare giant until the end of August to fall into line. Consumers must easily understand what for and how much they are expected to pay for the services and have fair rules e.g. on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner. Airbnb has been told to show all fees and charges from the initial search or, where that’s not possible, clearly inform customers that additional fees might apply. It must also clearly identify if the accommodation offer is made by a private host or a professional, as consumer protection rules differ.

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American Airlines To Eliminate Plastic Straws From Cabins, Lounges

Reuters reports American Airlines on Tuesday said it plans to no longer offer plastic straws and stir sticks in its lounges and onboard its flights, amid a broader global push to abandon one-time use plastics. Starting this month, American said drinks in its airport lounges will no longer come with plastic utensils and will instead feature biodegradable straws and wooden stir sticks. The phase-out onboard its planes will begin in November, with plastic straws and stirrers to be replaced by environmentally friendly bamboo. The carrier will also transition to “eco-friendly” flatware in its lounges. American said that the move will eliminate more than 71,000 pounds (32,200 kg) of plastic each year. On Monday, Starbucks Corp, the world’s largest coffee chain, said it would no longer offer plastic straws at its 28,000 locations by 2020.

Disneyland Just Experienced The Hottest Day Ever At A Disney Park 

Travel + Leisure reports Disneyland just had its hottest day ever. While southern California experienced a heat wave temperatures in Anaheim (home of Disneyland) soared to 113°F on July 6. It is not only the hottest temperature on record since the park opened in 1955, it is the hottest temperature recorded at any of the Disney parks around the world (including Orlando, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong), according to Theme Park Insider. Because of the oppressive heat, park officials closed all outdoor rides, including Big Thunder and Mountain Railroad – several food vendors also shut down because of the heat. Those who went to the park on that day said that lines for rides were short, as the park was practically empty. Disney first aid staff were on call to help guests experiencing dehydration. “There was one medic run right after the other,” one park cast member said. Wait times for many popular attractions dropped to the point where it was basically possible to walk right on.

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This High-Tech Planetarium Is On A New VIKING Cruise Ship

The Explorers’ Dome is located on the second level of the Viking Orion’s Explorers’ Lounge. The newest Viking Ocean Cruise ship, made its debut in Italy on June 14, revealing a unique high-tech feature: a planetarium at sea. The ship is named after the constellation Orion (the hunter) and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the first crewed capsule designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit. The ship’s name also honors retired NASA astronaut Anna Fisher, who is the “godmother” of Viking Orion and worked on the Orion spacecraft before retiring in May 2017.

The planetarium, called the Explorers’ Dome, features shows about space and exploration, including two 3D films: “Journey to Space” and “Under the Arctic Sky.” “The Explorers’ Dome onboard Viking Orion is currently the highest-definition 7K planetarium in the world,” Ralph de Klijn, Viking’s executive director of ocean operations, told Space.com. “The Explorers’ Dome is a versatile space that can operate as a high-tech planetarium, as well as show films and other programming in 2D or 3D.” Viking Orion is only the second cruise ship in the world to have a planetarium; the other is the Queen Mary 2.

Although Viking Orion is not the first cruise ship to offer a planetarium, the company says this one is the most advanced, with:

– Digistar 6 display system, five projectors and studio speakers.

– Viking resident astronomer. Howard Parkin, a Royal Astronomical Society fellow and founding member of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society

– lectures on the wonders of the cosmos

– offer guided tours of the night sky during stargazing sessions using Viking’s portable telescope.

While other Viking ships have resident historians, Orion is the only one with a resident astronomer and historian. Parkin will continue to offer lectures through the ship’s 2018 maiden season, de Klijn said.

Read more on Space.com: https://www.space.com/41145-space-cruise-vacation-viking-orion-reflections.html

Club Med Cancún Yucatán Introduces Expanded Family Area 

Club Med Cancún Yucatán has doubled the size of its Aguamarina family area, adding 60 rooms and a new pool. The Aguamarina family area now offers an additional 30 Club Rooms and 30 Deluxe Rooms. Both of the two-bedroom accommodation options provide oceanfront views. This expansion doubles the Aguamarina area’s capacity to 120 families. Club Med Cancún Yucatán also introduced a new Aguamarina reception area and concierge service. The resort also added a new family pool, offering water games, lounge areas and outdoor activities. After a long day in the water, guests can dine at the pool area’s new family bar La Marina. Here kids can visit the restaurant’s kids’ corner and the whole family can order special treats that change from day to day. Guests of the Aguamarina area receive all the benefits featured in a stay at Club Med Cancún Yucatán. This includes dining at the resort’s three restaurants, water and land sports such as snorkeling and flying trapeze, kids’ and teens’ clubs and nightly entertainment. The additions to the Aguamarina area follow a full renovation the resort completed at the end of 2017. The work included improvements to all the resort’s rooms, its meetings and events spaces and the 5-Trident Jade area. The property also introduced new wellness opportunities as well as new and improved dining options.

More glimpses of the family area here: https://www.clubmed.us/r/Cancun-Yucatan/y

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Paris Métro Ditches Paper Tickets, Moves to London-Like System 

Cntraveler reports Paris’s more-than-a-century-old, white paper Métro tickets are on their way out. Starting in 2019, entry to Paris’s efficient public transport system, including buses and express RER trains, will be done through contactless Navigo cards. The city’s transport agency, Ile-de-France Mobilités, announced Wednesday that it would be rolling out two different travel cards, in addition to the unlimited Navigo card for residents already available, over the next year for all sorts of travelers and commuters. If you’re visiting the city for a short time, you’ll need the Navigo Easy pass, available starting in April 2019. Almost identical to London’s Oyster card, the Easy pass costs €2 ($2.34) to buy. Then, you’ll load up the card with T+ rides, what the paper tickets represent now, which will cost the same in 2019 as they do today: €1.90 ($2.22) per ride or €14.90 ($17.39) for a pack of 10 rides. That’s a more than 20% discount, and will cover one-way Métro rides, RER trains in Zone 1 (central Paris), and bus trips. Much like the Oyster card in London, you can top the card up as needed at all transit stations so be sure not to throw yours away. There will be no time limit on them and the card is not nominative, meaning it can be given to a friend. You can also load Orlybus (to Paris Orly Airport) or Roissybus (to Charles de Gaulle Airport) tickets on the Easy pass as well.

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6 Mouthwatering Vegan Restaurants in Paris

We know that you all visit Paris for the food (Well, we do anyway…), but for those of us who are vegan, eating out can be a bit of challenge when you’re traveling.

Leaders in gastronomic innovation, Parisians have even mastered the art of plant-based vegan recipes. Check out these cafés putting an unapologetic spin on the traditional brasserie-fare.

Le Potager du Marais

Craving traditional French? You don’t have to go without – this amazing restaurant revives classic French onion soup, crème brûlée, Bourguignon—all in vegan guiltless delight! Go for the spinach-walnut lasagna with melted vegan cheese.

24 rue Rambuteau

Le Potager de Charlotte

Le Potager de Charlotte promises seasonal menus with wild global flavors. Start off with roasted carrot with mustard, cumin and paprika. Spring for the rice and chickpea pancake topped with roasted squash seed, or go eastern with soba noodles and roasted shallots. Another vegan pancake is crowned with mouthwatering cashew cream. Each dish is an obvious labor of love that will tantalize the tongue.

12 Rue de la Tour d’Auvergne

Hank Pizza

Hank—an acronym of Have a Nice Karma—is a widely popular vegan pizza and burger joint dedicated to its positive ecological values. Here you’ll find simple and flavorful patties topped with fresh veggies and vegan bread. It’s a well-known staple of Le Marais that never disappoints.

18 Rue des Gravilliers

Cloud Cakes

This luscious café is piled high with cupcakes, croissants, carrot cakes and lattes—of course everything is 100% vegan! Lovers of the sweet should go for the cloud breakfast, which including a croissant, drinks and a basket of bread served with chocolate spread. There are also avocado toast and buddha bowls for those craving something a bit more healthy.

6 rue Mandar.

VG Patisserie

Since we’re in Paris, we can’t go without mentioning a vegan patisserie. VG bakes everything fresh to whet your appetite, from pain au chocolate, éclairs, and whipped-good croissants. You can even order a light yoghurt with granola, fruit salads and your birthday cake!

123 boulevard Voltaire.

Gentle Gourmet

Imagine vegan lies in the sheets with haute cuisine—this is Gentle Gourmet. Perfect for a special occasion, romantic dinner, or just in the neighborhood on a European tour, GG promises seasonal, local, mostly organic, made in-house, succulent Vegan fare. Tomato carpaccio with saffron oil and pesto sauce. Gazpacho served with black bread toast and tofu cream cheese. Tempeh tartar with cocktail sauce and vegetable tagliatelles. Eggplant teriyoki, homemade seitan with seaweed, portobello mushroom burger with red onion fondue. Is your mouth watering yet?

24 Boulevard de la Bastille

Need more recommendations or a whole trip planned? Ask your WIT travel agent

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8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

We have a bunch of New UNESCO Heritage Sites on the list, to add to our ever-growing bucket list!

All of these cultural and natural landmarks are recognized for their outstanding value to humanity. Discover which wonders made the list this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a handful of our favorites. Learn more about other sites on the UNESCO official webpage

What are some of YOUR favorite UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Let us know in the comments!

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1. Naumburg Cathedral, Germany

Built in the 11th century, this gorgeous cathedral is remarkable from a distance for its stain glass windows and soaring Gothic arches. Its real claim to fame, however, is the medieval art inside—including 12 life-sized statues of the cathedral’s founders. The Naumburg Masters was a workshop of sculptors and stonemasons in the 13th century who dedicated their work of realistic sculptures to the cathedral and all over France, Middle Rhine area and boundaries of the German Empire. This is a destination for history buffs — the cathedral and the region around it has a high density of authentic monuments and structures dating back to the High Middle Ages.

2. Chiribiquete National Park, Colombia

Ever-surprising Colombia takes next place with this national park, sometimes called the Maloca (“Amazonian long house”) of the Jaguar. As Colombia’s largest protected site, it protects 10,810 square miles and over 3,000 species of animals and plants. High on the sandstone plateaux, over 75,000 rock paintings have been found. Nature lovers will surely love this one.

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3. Ivrea, Italy

This small Piedmont town near Turin is famous for its 20th century industrial boom in typewriters and computers. Stunning Ivrea is also a remarkably beautiful village, resting on the Dora Baltea river, and, at the time of writing, still off the usual tourists’ map.

4. Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain

The Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus is highlighted all across southern Spain, especially Alhambra. Added to the list of must-sees this year is the Medina Azahara. These ruins, 1.5 hours from Seville, were built between 940 and 975 c.e. and once held the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

5. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, South Africa

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains are so ancient, with volcanic and sedimentary rocks dating back over 3 billion years. More adventurous travelers will have quite the holiday hiking and biking around the town of Barberton and the nature reserve.

6. The Border of Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany

Once a Viking trading post, this cultural landscape now consists of the ruins of a 33-km-long fortification–the Danevirke–as well as the archaeological site of the trading town Hedeby. Hedeby rose in power on the major trade routes between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia, as well as between the Baltic and North Seas.

7. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

This mysterious archaeological site in southeastern Turkey is the oldest known example of hunter-gatherer settlers in the world. It houses the world’s oldest known megaliths, with around 200 pillars in about 20 circles, and may have the world’s oldest temple as well. Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 9600 and 8200 b.c.e., and is a fascinating glimpse into ancient Mesopotamian culture.

8. Hidden Christian Sites, Japan

Kyushu Island keeps many historical secrets, but its historic Christian community that draws the eye of UNESCO—with 10 villages, Hara castle and cathedral that were built between 16th-19th centuries, despite a ban of all outsiders during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Along with these Christian remnants, visitors can explore active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs and marvelous waterfalls.

What UNESCO World Heritage Sites are you looking forward to seeing in 2018?

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Travel News: Snakes on a Plane?

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TSA Finds Python Hidden In Hard Drive

ABC News reports airport security agents stopped a woman from boarding a plane with a python wrapped in a nylon stocking concealed in a computer hard drive Sunday. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said its agents stopped a real-life version of “Snakes on a Plane” from happening after an agent noticed the ball python. “A traveler on her way to the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Barbados attempted to smuggle the snakelet inside of an external hard drive packed in her checked bag. If you think airplane seats can feel constricting, imagine how this little guy felt! Talk about bad memories!” the TSA continued. “While the python itself posed no danger to anyone on the aircraft, an organic item concealed inside electronics raises security concerns, which is why our officers took a closer look. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was notified. They responded and took possession of the snake and cited the traveler. Both the traveler and the snake missed their flight,” the TSA added. “Conversationally, this python had not gone full monty. It was wearing a nylon stocking.”

If You Owe The IRS It Could Cost You Your Passport

EtN reports if you have a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS can certify that debt to the State Department for action, and that department generally will not issue a US passport to a potential traveler after receiving certification from the IRS. This is all in plain print at the IRS website: “Upon receiving certification, the State Department shall deny your passport application and/or may revoke your current passport. If your passport application is denied or your passport revoked, and you are overseas, the State Department may issue you a limited validity passport good only for direct return to the United States. Seriously delinquent tax debt is an individual’s unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling more than $51,000 (including interest and penalties) for which a Notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted, or seriously delinquent tax debt is limited to liabilities incurred under Title 26 of the United States Code and does not include debts collected by the IRS such as the FBAR Penalty and Child Support.

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Anguilla Retains Best Caribbean Island Ranking

Travel + Leisure reports the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) is pleased to announce that for an unprecedented second year in a row, Anguilla has been ranked #1 island in the Caribbean, Bermuda and Bahamas in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, honoring the top travel destinations and companies around the globe as rated by its readers. Frangipani Beach Resort has been ranked #1 in the Top 25 Caribbean Resort Hotels category and #3 in the Top Hotels Overall category. The Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Anguilla has been ranked #12 in the Top Caribbean Resort Hotels category; Zemi Beach House was ranked #15; and Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort was ranked #18 in the Top Caribbean Resort Hotels category. The World’s Best Awards appear in the August 2018 issue of Travel + Leisure, on sale July 27, and online: travelandleisure.com/worlds-best.

Singapore Airlines To Launch Non-Stop Flights From LAX To Singapore

By Christmastime, Singapore Airlines will be flying ten times a week between LAX and Singapore. If you don’t mind sitting on a plane for 17 and a half hours, getting from the West Coast to Singapore will be a whole lot easier and faster, thanks to the elimination of a layover in Seoul. Starting November 2, Singapore Airlines will bring back its nonstop route from Los Angeles International to Singapore Changi. The airline will will fly the route three times a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) until November 9; service will go daily after that. From December 7, three more flights a week will be added for ten total non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Singapore per week. The fall kickoff date is notable for many reasons: It’s two weeks after Singapore restarts its longest-flight-in-the-world Newark-Singapore route (clocking in at nearly 19 hours), and just a week after Star Alliance member United ends its LAX-Singapore route. 
 

Airlines Load Factor Hits All-Time High

Forbes reports that if you think that airline flights are much more crowded than they used to be, you’re not wrong. The passenger load factor of commercial airlines has risen significantly over the past decade. In 2005, airlines had an average load factor of 75.2%, so on average, just three out of every four seats were sold. The recession of 2007-2010 stopped load factor growth. But by 2018, the average airline load factor hit 81.7% worldwide. In the US load factor has increased on domestic flights from 67.88% in 2002 to 86.08% in 2018, while the number of domestic flights has stayed almost constant, from 8,085,083 in 2002 to 8,176,610 in 2017. The US airline industry has clearly gotten better in filling seats as revenue passenger miles rose from 471,652,206 in 2002 to 684,221,393 in 2017. The days of having a whole row to stretch out in coach, or even an empty middle seat separating you from your neighbor, increasingly seem like a distant memory. The airlines are busy shrinking seats and cramming in additional rows into smaller, more fuel-efficient jets.

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Amtrak Service Declines As It Becomes An Airline On Rails

Travellers United reports Amtrak service is becoming more airline-like with a former airline executive in charge, former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson. His Amtrak service changes bring the railroad closer to service practices in the airline industry. Some of the changes: – Hot dining car meals prepared on-board, included in the fare for first-class sleeping car passengers, are being replaced with cold pre-prepared meals served in-room on the Chicago-New York and Chicago-Washington routes starting June 1.

– Amtrak no longer offers discounts to veterans, students and AAA members, and the minimum age of eligibility for the senior discount (which is now 10% rather than 15% was raised to 65 from 62.

– The railroad’s cancellation policy is now more airline-like. There is now a 25% penalty for most reservations canceled more than 24 hours after booking, even if the value is credited to the passenger as an eVoucher (redeemable for future ticket purchases) rather than as a cash refund. Luckily, Amtrak still does not charge change fees.

– First Class amenities like a lounge car for sleeping car passengers have been removed from several routes, and two routes have lost Business Class seating.

– A number of stations have lost their Amtrak Customer Service Representative(s), employees who do everything from selling tickets to handling baggage and assisting passengers with special needs.

– Amtrak has stopped operating charter and special trains in partnership with rail museums and preservation nonprofits, tour groups, sports teams and others, jettisoning a source of revenue and public goodwill in the name of operational convenience.

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Ethiopia Launches New E-Visa Services

Ethiopia, a treasure trove of history and culture, has become easier to get to with an all in one new e-visa service launched by the Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines. The new service brings the travelers closer to authentic travel experiences and enables them to travel to Ethiopia. All the visitors have to do is process their visa online on a single webpage where they apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Give it a try and you will get authorized via email to secure your passport stamped with visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Call Willamette Intl Travel to discuss a unique holiday in Ethiopia – you’ll be sure to love this beautiful country and the warm-hearted hospitality of its people.  

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