Archive for September, 2013

Photography by Matthew Wakem / Aurora Photos

Located just 8 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula, this sleepy island contrasts sharply with the buzz of nearby Cancun. More »

Considered one of the biggest and best music festivals in the country, Bonnaroo has become a pilgrimage that any music fan must make. Featuring musicians from all genres, including indie rock, hip hop, jazz and more, Bonnaroo’s activities don’t stop at the music — which starts around noon and doesn’t end until … about 4 a.m. Here, you’ll find well-known comedians, film screenings, a silent disco and waterslides, just to name a few highlights.

Tonight at 9|8c on Fandemonium, Adam finds out first-hand that the fun never stops at Bonnaroo and gets a taste of the festival’s food truck goodness.

It’s not too early to start planning your trip to Bonnaroo — June will be here before you know it! Let us help with our Bonnaroo travel guide, full of tips on how to get to Manchester, TN, where to stay when you arrive and what to eat if food trucks aren’t your thing.

Tune in tonight for a glimpse inside this revolutionary music festival!

Miss America

Check out our slideshow of Atlantic City, NJ, through the years.

Here she comes … Miss America … Tonight’s pageant was memorable for more reasons than one. After 6 years in Las Vegas, the pageant returned to Atlantic City, NJ, where it all began. The Miss America competition has a steep history in Atlantic City, where it was created in 1921 by businessmen attempting to extend tourist season past Labor Day.

Now in its 87th year, the competition awards its winners scholarships worth upwards of $50,000. It wasn’t always so glamourous, though. When Margaret Gorman of Washington, DC, was named the first-ever Miss America she walked away with … a 3-foot golden mermaid trophy.

So who took home the crown? Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, was named Miss America 2014. Not only is she the second consecutive Miss New York to win, but also she’s the first Miss America of Indian descent.

Perhaps, in a ploy to stay relevant, this year’s contestants fielded questions from judges about Syria, and yes, Miley Cyrus. It also had Miss Kansas as an early fan favorite — the 22-year-old contestant is a sergeant in the Army and the first to openly reveal her tattoos during the swimsuit competition.

This Orange County historic landmark was built in 1912 and has a rich history, full of stories about famous vaudeville entertainers. But it has also had its fair share of scandal, once serving as a jail for the drunks of Orange County. Not to mention, the songwriter Ernest Ball, famous for the song “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” died backstage in the theatre’s dressing room.

One has to wonder, with more than 100 years of history, is the Yost Theatre haunted? Tonight at 9|8c, the Ghost Adventures guys find out in an all-new episode.

The Yost’s history lives on today, with the theatre hosting live music, club nights and sports events. Plan your own trip to the Yost Theatre to check out the activity (both human and paranormal) with help from our travel guide.

And don’t miss this sneak peek of tonight’s episode:

Getty Images

If you think watching sailing is less than exciting, think again. America’s Cup finals, a regatta legend, has landed back on US water for the first time in 18 years. San Francisco Bay is currently playing host to the world’s top 2 teams — Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand — as they compete in the best-of-17 series that runs until September 21. Wearing lifejackets and helmets, these world-class sailors foil above the water and carve through massive white caps, led by their captains and tacticians to manipulate 72-foot catamarans. Not impressed? Here’s a video that might change your mind.

But this particular America’s Cup is even more intriguing than fast boats and a prestigious reputation. Oracle Team USA, the defending champions, started the regatta under major scrutiny, and so far it’s showing in the results.

Just days before America’s Cup started on September 7, an international jury fined Oracle $250,000 and slammed the team with a 2-race penalty. Why? In a cheating scandal dating back to an America’s Cup World Series warm-up event in 2012, the jury found a sailor and 2-dock crew guilty of adding lead pellets to the forward posts of a 45-foot catamaran. Yikes. It’s the most severe penalty ever dolled out in America’s Cup history and — fair or not — the fall out is such: USA must win 11 races to retain the trophy, and New Zealand only needs to win 9. So far, New Zealand has trounced team USA in every race but one. Perhaps USA will pull it together to keep the trophy from the Kiwis. But one thing’s certain: given the off-and-onshore drama, this is a regatta to watch. Here’s how.

America’s Cup Course Loop

The course races 2 loops across San Francisco Bay in a semi-figure-eight pattern from the Golden Gate Bridge past Alcatraz to the finish buoy in front of the Bay Bridge.

Where to Watch

You can glimpse the race from the viewing areas along the northern and eastern San Francisco waterfront. America’s Cup Village, located at Marina Green, has bleacher seating. Or, do what I did and head right to America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29. This area lines up perpendicular with the finish buoy. Giant TV screens track the boats and provide pretty cool graphic images of wind analysis throughout the race. Watch the finish from the waterside railing behind the park, and hang around for the second race (2 run per race day). Grab a glass of Napa or Sonoma wine at one of the bars in the park areas and kick back on the faux grass with a mix of USA and New Zealand fans. Free entry.

 

By Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.


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Photo of Milestone Hotel in London by Oyster.com

Photo of Milestone Hotel in London by Oyster.com

Twice a year, designers, models, photographers, bloggers, DJs, and so on, crisscross the globe in search of the next big thing. The most anticipated shows being in the 4 fashion capitals of the world: New York, London, Milan and Paris. Here at Travel Channel, we’re always searching for the best places to stay — may we present the most stylish hotels in each city.

New York: September 5 – 12, 2013
The Ace Hotel is known as every other tech startup’s “office” in NYC, but during Fashion Week its unconventional vintage- and industrial-inspired design draws hipsters and fashionistas alike.

London: September 13 – 17, 2013
The Mileston Hotel is a picturesque, boutique hotel in Kensington has been voted one of the best in London. It boasts a 24-hour butler service and elegantly designed rooms that range from period to contemporary decor. For the fashion set, may we suggest lounging in a black-and-white space featuring Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Milan: September 18 – 23, 2013
For inspiration off the runway, look no further than Maison Moschino Milan, a 65-room hotel inspired a 1840s Neoclassical railway station inspired by the famed Italian designer. Our writer noted, “Just like the brand’s whimsical, haute-couture designs, the hotel is all about fairy tales and fanciful fantasy.” Expect puffy, cloud-like light fixtures, lit-up gowns and an overall Alice and Wonderland effect.

Paris: September 24 – October 2, 2013
Located on the prestigious Avenue Montaigne is the famous Hotel Plaza Athenee, brimming with Parisian style and Art Deco décor. Stylish guests will appreciate majestic views of the Eiffel Tower (from the Eiffel Suites) and close proximity to the Dior Institute as well as high-end shopping.

Check out the rest of our stylish hotel picks for every budget.

Inspired by Maison Moschino Milan? See more designer-inspired hotels.

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Beating out Istanbul and Madrid, Tokyo has been tapped by the International Olympic Committee to be the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The race was really between the Istanbul and Tokyo — Madrid had been eliminated in a first-round ballot. The final tally wasn’t even close; Tokyo easily won by 24 votes.

In case you didn’t know, the last time Tokyo was host city for the Summer Olympics was in 1964. The city has now gained the unique distinction of becoming the first Asian city to host the games twice. City officials are already taking proactive steps to revitalize the city’s waterfront, where the Olympic Village will be situated, but there are several reasons why Tokyo is already a great tourist destination. We love the Japanese and Tokyo’s amazing attractions, including Mori Arts Centre, Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum, Tsukiji Fish Market and Imperial Palace East Gardens.

But let’s not forget Brazil. With the 2020 Summer Olympics still a ways off, many sports fans are focused on Brazil as the hot destination for the next few years. Not only will Rio de Janeiro host the 2016 Summer Olympics, but it will also be one of 12 cities to host soccer matches for the FIFA World Cup 2014. If you’re a soccer fan, don’t delay! FIFA is already accepting applications for World Cup tickets. Score big and make plans to visit Brazil’s World Cup cities.

 

No matter where you are in September — at home or on the road — you can celebrate National Yoga Month all over the US. Thousands of studios across the country are participating in National Yoga Month and offering a free week of yoga. This is a perfect time for newbies who want to see what all the fuss is about or for Vinyasa veterans to try out a new studio. (See which studios in your area are participating at yogahealthfinder.com.)

We caught up with traveling yogi Kelly Newsome, owner of Higher Ground Yoga, a boutique yoga and wellness practice in Washington, DC. Newsome teaches simple self-care strategy and private yoga so that busy professionals can take their yoga — and wellness practices — with them no matter where they go.

Check out our Q&A with Newsome, who shares her tips for practicing yoga on the road.

 

Traveling Type: How can people take their yoga (beginning or advanced) with them on the road?

Kelly Newsome: My clients travel constantly, especially for work, and their biggest challenge is staying committed to their practice when their schedules change. To combat this, I give them 3 easy ways (“the 3 Cs”) to stay on track:

No. 1, calendar it! Put 5 to 15 minutes of yoga practice in your physical schedule. If possible, practice in the morning before the day kicks in (but a few restorative poses before bed are great, too). You can always add on more time, but you’re more likely to succeed if you shoot for consistency, not duration.

No. 2, create a super-simple sequence. Don’t try to create that amazing Vinyasa flow series you took a couple of weeks ago with your favorite teacher, or worry about having the perfect playlist or even your special yoga clothes. Instead, start with a few rounds of sun salutations to warm up, then add 3 to 5 favorite poses that you simply, slowly open into. Hold them for a few breaths to deepen their effects. Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Just move, and be in your body. Inhale. Exhale.

Finally, carry a travel yoga mat with you. You don’t actually have to have a mat to practice, but it does make postures easier (hotel towels aren’t as easy to use as you might think — I’ve been there). Plus, not only does a simple travel mat keep your feet and hands from slipping, it can also serve as a valuable visual reminder. Roll it out next to your bed when you arrive at your destination, and let it be your cue to start stretching!

Kelly Newsome practicing yoga in Indonesia.

What are the benefits of combining yoga with traveling, in your opinion?

First, yoga is a perfect complement to traveling because it grounds you, whereas travel actually shifts the ground right from under you! In yoga, you practice conscious awareness of your feet on the earth, the relationship of your body to space, the minute details of the physical environment (for instance, with a gaze point or “drishti”). When my clients are traveling, they’re speeding through time (whether on a train, airplane, car, etc.) and their heads spin, but yoga helps keep their senses from skyrocketing.

Second, traveling can be tough on your physical body because so much sitting is involved — my clients always have grumpy hips, back and shoulders. But yoga’s perfect for that. Its history even tells us that poses were specifically designed thousands of years ago to help meditating yogis sit comfortably for longer periods of time! Many postures take care of those common problem areas.

Third, yoga is low maintenance and available worldwide. I always remind my clients that they really only need their bodies (and, if possible, their travel mats). They use our private podcasts while traveling, but you can find classes just about everywhere these days. Even if you don’t have a physical teacher nearby, though, instruction is available online, by podcast, phone apps or magazines and books you can toss in your bag.

Where are your favorite places to practice yoga away from home?

I’ll pull out a mat anywhere! Still, most of the time my mat stays in the comfort of my home, near my sanctuary table and the fireplace (yep, I even turn it on in the summer — it’s like India!). I also love going to classes in my old home where I did all of my training: New York City. My all-time favorite practice was in Indonesia, though. I was volunteering at an ashram, teaching kids yoga, and they had this massive, dark grey stone plank that jutted out into the middle of the ocean. I went out one evening with my mat and my camera, and saluted the sunset for hours.

Why is September’s National Yoga Month a good time for beginner (or advanced) yogis?

September is a month that symbolizes new beginnings. Nearly all of my clients, for instance, have children starting the school year. It’s a time of possibility and fresh, crisp energy!

Kelly Newsome owns Higher Ground Yoga, a boutique wellness practice in Washington, DC,  for busy women. Her business story has been featured in Bloomberg Law, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The $100 Startup, and she was voted as one of the top 3 yoga teachers by the Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC 2013.”  Before her wellness work, Kelly was a business attorney and, in between careers, she spent time traveling, eating, consulting, riding elephants and teaching her yoga craft in Cambodia, Indonesia, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. 

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The next time you fly a regional carrier — and chances are good you will given that half of US domestic flights are operated by regionals — chew on this stat: A first-year regional airline pilot makes $18,000 to $20,000 before taxes.

Yes, that’s right: When it comes to regional airlines (these are the connection subcontractors who fly on behalf of the major airline carriers), the pilot manning your flight, as it climbs tens of thousands of feet into the air, earns about as much as someone flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

Ready for more? A fourth and fifth-year regional pilot makes $25,000 to $28,000, also before taxes. Now swallow this: The best of the regional pilots are quickly being snatched up by the major carriers, such as Delta and United, as they begin hiring new pilots for the first time in several years.

That spells one very big issue for travelers: a looming pilot shortage ahead.

Start Road Trippin’?

“The seriousness of the possible pilot shortage cannot be underestimated,” says Henry Harteveldt, a San Francisco-based travel industry analyst. “The pilot shortage won’t happen tomorrow, but it will happen sooner than many realize.”

How soon? Some say it’s already started.

Beyond the major domestic carriers, the competition for pilot talent is coming from abroad, too, as this plush offer from a Shanghai-based carrier shows.

“Foreign carriers are already paying huge premiums to US/FAA-certified pilots, further drying up the domestic pilot pool,” says Bob Mann, an airline industry analyst in Port Washington, NY. “Absent recognition of the problem, the pilot market will only become tighter, and airline service more unreliable,” says Mann.

Others are more optimistic. “One way or another, I figure carriers will figure out a way to find the pilots they need long before there’s a reliability issue,” says Patrick Smith, the airline pilot-turned-blogger of AskThePilot.com and author of the new book, Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.

Rising costs, though, may be harder to ignore.

“A lack of pilots means fewer flights — smaller cities will be disproportionately affected,” says industry analyst Harteveldt. “Fewer pilots also means fewer flights, period — flying may become less convenient and more expensive, since the supply of seats may decline.” (And for us at the Travel Channel, that’s about as good a reason as any to start thinking of more Road Trip ideas.)

Cockpit Confidential

How did we get here?

Blame the graying of America (including its pilots), as well as a shortage of younger pilots being recruited from military ranks, which are facing their own dwindling numbers. Then there’s the lousy pay.

“An aspiring aviator has to ask: ‘Is it worth sinking $50,000 or more into one’s primary training?’” says Patrick Smith of AskThePilot.com.

Factor in the FAA’s new requirements, says Smith, which call for new pilots to log a minimum 1,500 flight hours before training with an airline.

“The time it will take to build the requisite number of flight hours to apply for a job, plus, the cost of a college education, only to spend years toiling at poverty-level wages, with at best a marginal shot at moving on to a major [carrier],” says Smith, spell, in his mind, one very big conclusion: This isn’t exactly a safe career path.

Fewer Pilots, Where Now?

No one’s faulting the FAA’s new ruling.

“Airlines can’t compromise on training; it’s essential that we maintain our high standards of safety,” says analyst Harteveldt.

But adjustments on the part of carriers will need to be made, adds Mann. “The new 1,500-hour requirement … will require significant upward adjustments to starting salaries, and generally, to regional pilot compensation.”

More compensation may spell higher ticket prices. But that may be the price consumers pay to ensure greater pilot numbers in the regional ranks.

Photography by Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi

Welcome to Shangri-La. The Dhara Dhevi on the northern edge of the Thai city of Chiang Mai is no mere hote. More »

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