Archive for January, 2013

Love is in the air as February approaches, and what could be more romantic than a trip to paradise? Travel + Leisure has just released a list of the world’s most romantic islands — here are some of our favorites, and a few we think they missed.

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From now until March 24, enter daily to win a $100,00 trip for 4 to the Adriatic! Pick your custom trip, or choose one of the 4 itineraries curated by your favorite Travel Channel hosts — Samantha Brown,  Bert Kreischer, Adam Richman and Anthony Melchiorri!

Trip of a Lifetime!

 

Photography by Getty Images

It’s the heartbeat of Jackson Square and the Vieux Carre’s most recognizable landmark. As the centerpiece of the original settlement, the cathedral evokes the rich fabric of history that is New Orleans. More »

Attention all you pizza lovers out there, Travel Channel is back with a second helping of Pizza Paradise. Travel from New York, where the pizza is as crispy as a potato chip, to Chicago, where they serve the deepest and most delicious dish in town.

If you love pizza — and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? — then join us for an all-new episode of Food Paradise, tonight at 11|10c.

Plus, don’t forget to check out behind-the-scenes photos that are sure to make you crave slice after slice of pizza perfection.

Tonight on Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover at 9|8c, Adam Richman heads to New Orleans, home to Super Bowl XLVII. The special will also showcase tailgating at its finest, as witnessed by Texas Texan fans in Houston, Miami Dolphin fans in Miami, New York Giants fans in New Jersey and more!

Go behind the scenes with our Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover slideshow. And get information on what to do in New Orleans, whether it’s for the Super Bowl or any day of the year, in our Super Bowl Travel Guide.

Maldives

Last week, it appears that our Pinterest fans were wanderlusting after the glassy, cool water of a private pool at one of the 130 secluded villas at the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives. Looking at the photo, it’s hard not to imagine yourself standing there, at the edge of the pool, set against the backdrop of powdery white sand, lush green palm trees and the clear water of the Indian Ocean.

Unfortunately, you better break open that piggy bank and book your trip soon — if sea levels continue to rise, the Republic of Maldives will be the first country to disappear into the ocean. In fact, that’s exactly why a luxurious visit to this chain of islands and atolls was my pick for our TravelChannel.com editors’ bucket list.

Photography by Wladyslaw, Wikimedia Commons

In a region known for its stunning chateaus, Chenonceau Castle stands alone. More »

 

 

Tonight at 9|8c watch as Geoff Edgers gets “zombified,” does some damage at a demolition derby and competes in a haggis-eating contest while visiting Pennsylvania. Check out behind-the-scenes photos and get Geoff’s playlist from the shoot.

Demolition Derby

My fixation with demolition derbies began in 1976. That’s when Happy Days ran its “Pinky Loves Fonzie” multi-part storyline. Talk about cliffhangers. We got everything in those 3 episodes: romance, danger, redemption.

As the story goes … The Millachi brothers sabotage Pinky Tuscadero’s car. During the demolition derby, she’s stalled and decides to get out of her car. That’s when the villains strike. They deliver their infamous “Millachi Crunch” and poor Pinky gets knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital. Cue the “to be continued.” Fonzie, Richie, Potsie, Ralph, Mr. and Mrs. C all rush to her side. Will Pinky live? Will she perish? Does Fonzie ever plan on washing his t-shirt? I was hooked. What 6-year-old wouldn’t be choking on his grilled cheese?

As a kid, the “Pinky Loves Fonzie” story inspired one of my frequent, grammar school daydream fantasies … badly hurt, I’d be in my own hospital bed and, while in that damaged state, concerned classmates would stream in to visit. It doesn’t take Sigmund Einstein to figure out the psychology behind this. In real life, I was getting teased for my bowl cut, the gap between my front teeth and the fact I wore my jeans twice in one week. In my daydream universe, a cast and an IV could serve as my bro and babe magnet.

Fact is, I got over Cami Cavadi et al by the 9th grade, but I never lost my desire to jump into a car, turn the key and smash into others for sport. That’s why when Edge of America launched, I found myself endlessly pitching demo derbies to the show’s producers. They pushed me off a few times until we found the right spot, what was pegged as the world’s biggest derby in Bloomsburg, PA.

When I showed up for the main event, I found the lot full of smash-up veterans, including fathers and sons, gear-heads who had been fine tuning their cars for months, and, naturally, a few dudes who talked like they’d gotten a couple too many whiffs off their spray paint cans.

The derby manager paired me with Dave. He had a sweet car, an ’88 Oldsmobile station wagon painted blue and labeled 007. Inside, I could quickly see how these wheels were special. Steel reinforcement bars keep the metal from crushing you after a hit. Beer kegs serve as gas tanks, ratcheted down where a back seat would normally be. No windshield, no lights, no radio.

I admit at first I was a little bummed about Dave. I wanted my partner to exhibit all of the worst qualities of Hulk Hogan, Bill Romanowski and Ozzy Osbourne. Dave spoke like a Tibetan monk. I could barely hear him at times. Then the gun sounded.

You’ll have to watch to see what happened next. Trust me. Dave and the ’88 don’t disappoint. It’s why the Pennsylvania “Edge” is one of my favorites. It’s also why if I ever drive in a derby again, I’ll remember it’s not about who yells the loudest, it’s about the driver willing with the courage to lean on the gas, even when you’re under fire.

- Geoff Edgers

Photography by Maroma Resort and Spa

The 65-room Maroma Resort and Spa, located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, has been one of the Riviera Maya’s choice getaways since it opened in the Caribbean in 1995. More »

I’m an avid fan of traveling, so aside from the occasional business trip, I frequently travel for leisure — usually for a rock climbing adventure. But my ultimate goal, other than having fun and exploring diverse culture, is to obtain miles and elite status. One method of obtaining miles is by taking a “mileage run” (MR). I try to turn a mileage run into a mini-vacation, like my trip to Stockholm; however, during my latest trip, I encountered a little snow in Amsterdam, which limited my amount of time in the city. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.

Snow at AMS

Photography by Arthur Hsu

You may be asking “what’s a mileage run?” It’s flying for the sole purpose of earning elite qualifying miles (EQM) and redeemable miles (RDM). Each airline uses different acronyms, such as Delta’s Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM), so make sure to check with your own frequent-flyer program. The EQMs help frequent flyers earn or maintain their elite frequent flyer status, while the RDMs can be used to book award tickets and pay for upgrades.

If you’re new to frequent-flyer programs and want to learn more, there are several active forums and blogs that discuss the programs such as FlyerTalk, milepoint and Mommy Points. Check out Mommy Points’ video series on TravelChannel.com for her tips for earning and using points.

Usually frequent flyers wait until the end of the year to take mileage runs, but this January, I decided to get a head start on maintaining my Delta Platinum Medallion elite status with a globetrotting extended Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Using Google Flights, I found a ticket to Istanbul with a low cost-per-mile (CPM), which is ideal for a mileage run. Generally, for a mileage run, you want to search for flights that cost no more than 5 cents per mile.

I usually prefer direct flights, but the additional connections for this trip added a few thousand extra miles, so I booked the ticket — flying from DC to Amsterdam to Istanbul to Paris to Minneapolis and back to DC.

Total Time in Transit: Nearly 48 hours, including 12 hours in Amsterdam.

 Unlike my last mileage run, I flew this entire trip in economy. Luckily, due to my elite status, I was able to pick seats in Economy Comfort, which provides extra legroom and seats closer to the front of the plane, allowing me to exit sooner and make it through passport control quicker. When I arrived at Schiphol airport in the early morning, I went to the KLM Crown Lounge for some breakfast and espresso before heading out into the city. It was a cold day in Amsterdam, around 21°F, made a little worse by high winds. In the afternoon, it started to snow, but I continued to wander the city before finally surrendering and going back to the Schiphol to enjoy my last few hours in the KLM Crown Lounge.  Sitting in the lounge, I could see the snow falling, and the word that flyers most dread — “cancelled” –started to appear on the flight status monitors. Luckily, my flight was only delayed.

As we approached Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport (about 3 hours late), I had a great view of the city lit up in the darkness. Once we landed, I went to the Millennium Lounge for some snacks and beverages for the 2 hours before my next flight that would take me Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. That flight was also my first time flying on Air France, and I missed the service I generally find on Delta or KLM.  Although the flight attendants were polite, the food and beverage offerings were very limited — they didn’t even have sparkling water!

Istanbul at Night

Photography by Arthur Hsu

Once at CDG, I proceeded to the Air France Lounge for a shower and a few glasses of Taittinger Champagne before boarding my Delta flight to MSP. Although I wasn’t sitting in their Business Elite seats, I was again happy in my Economy Comfort seat. A perk of international Economy Comfort is the complimentary spirits, so once the plane reached cruising altitude and beverage service began, I requested some Woodford Reserve Bourbon, served neat, of course. With a final stop in Minneapolis, I relaxed in the Delta Sky Club before boarding my flight back home to DC.

After spending most of the time in airports and on airplanes, with a snowy and windy layover in Amsterdam, this trip was worth the miles.

Total Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM): 11,765

Total Redeemable Miles: 23,530

Should you go on a mileage run? That depends on your situation. You shouldn’t do MRs if you can’t afford the trip, or if you would be leaving a family behind. There’s no advantage to having elite status and plenty of miles if you go broke, but as with everything, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Watch Mommy Points‘ tips to earn miles.

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