La Mer Restaurant, Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo Courtesy of OpenTable)
Hey, lovebirds, don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t made your plans yet, you better get cracking! Need ideas? OpenTable just released its list of 2015’s Most Romantic Restaurants in America.
Whether you want to woo your S.O. over swoon-worthy seafood or hope to rekindle a relationship with a fireside meal, these restaurants are sure to stir up a little romance. This year’s list of winning restaurants with decadent dishes and come-hither ambiences spans more than 31 states and the nation’s capital and is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews.
It must be the dreamy ocean views, because California boasts the most romantic restaurants, followed by New York, Texas and Virginia. And the cuisine that, for the past 6 years, has been the favorite for flirting over? Fondue.
Courtesy of New York Times Travel Show
Before New York City got slammed with the wintry wrath of Juno, it hosted the travel world over the weekend for the annual New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob K. Javits Center. If you needed any inspiration to plan your next trip, this was the place to be, with over 500 exhibitors representing more than 100 countries.
The travel show kicked off Friday with a trade day for travel professionals and media. Doors opened to consumers Saturday and Sunday for 2 days of trip giveaways, travel seminars, cultural performances, book signings by celebrated travel writers, and global bites at the Taste of the World culinary pavilion.
Emily Riddell/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images
“Travel more.” It’s one resolution that tops our list every year. We think it has more lasting impact on our quality of life than going gluten-free or cleaning out our closet — and we imagine it’ll give us much better stories, too.
Here are 7 more resolutions to make the most out of your travels in 2015.
Live like the locals.
Take advantage of the growing trend of travel companies offering opportunities to connect to local tastemakers such as chefs, musicians and artists. Not only will you dig deeper into the culture and learn where the tourist-free bars are, but you might even bring home a new recipe or piece of art that’s attached to a great story. And with sites such as OneFineStay.com, you can even stay in locals’ homes when they’re out of town and live out your fantasy of being a New Yorker in a historical brownstone or a Londoner in a posh pied-a-terre.
Connect with limits.
If completely unplugging on vacation seems like an impossible feat, you’re not alone. As more technology is developed to make traveling easier, including keyless hotel rooms and smartwatches that let you book travel, it becomes harder to see the advantages of disconnecting on a trip. We find it more realistic to give ourselves limits, such as checking email only at a certain time of the day and not inundating our followers with humblebrag Instagram photos of every stunning sunset we encounter. Savor the fleeting moments of travel, revel in the experience, and keep your smartphone tucked in your bag instead of in your hand.
Whether or not you know all the lyrics to Let It Go (you listen to the song only because of your kids … right) or it’s always been on your bucket list to sleep in an igloo, fans of the film phenomenon Frozen and winter-loving travelers alike are embracing arctic temperatures for an unforgettable night in their very own ice palace. From ice hotels in Norway to thermal glass igloos in Finland, Booking.com shared with us the most spectacular Frozen-inspired hotels around the world.
Channel your inner ice queen or mountain man, bundle up in some faux fur, and belt it out … “Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway!”
Courtesy of Hotel de Glace
WHOA Travel founders Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton on Mount Kilimanjaro. All photos courtesy of WHOA
No one climbs Mount Kilimanjaro alone, and no one knows that better than the founders of WHOA Travel. Women High on Adventure creators Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton are travel-loving friends who met while climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, in February 2013. Tackling one of the world’s toughest summits together was so life-altering, they knew they wanted to share the experience with others. So upon returning to New York, they quit their jobs and started an adventure travel company with a mission to motivate women to step out of their comfort zones … and onto the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
In the spirit of empowering women, WHOA Travel led a group of 28 women from 9 countries to the roof of Africa on International Women’s Day earlier this year. Not only did all 28 women make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but they even danced their way to the summit. Led by the mountain’s first local female guide, the group raised more than $10,000 to support women’s educational programs in Kenya and Tanzania. Now, Allison and Danielle are gearing up to lead another group of women to the summit on International Women’s Day in 2015.
We caught up with daring adventuresses between climbing mountains to find out what other WHOA-inspiring trips they’re leading, how their high-altitude dance-party tradition began, and the surprising item they never head back to Mount Kilimanjaro without (hint: it’s not a power bar).
The biggest travel day of the year just got a bit more stressful, thanks to the winter nor’easter in the forecast. It’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic — and now, add likely hazardous roads and delayed flights.
Take a deep breath and keep these tips in mind to avoid a holiday travel meltdown.
Take advantage of an airline weather waiver.
With winter weather in the forecast for Wednesday, big airlines such as American Airlines, Delta and United are waiving change fees and relaxing their rebooking rules, even allowing fare differences to be waived. Look carefully at the rules; most include the note that rescheduled travel has to start by Friday.
Reese Witherspoon stars in film adaption of Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’ memoir. Fox Searchlight
Don’t walk alone. It’s a familiar warning for all travelers heading into dangerous, crime-ravaged countries — and for female travelers when they go … well, anywhere after sundown. Cheryl Strayed makes a daring move by walking alone somewhere dark, terrifying and ultimately unknown: the wilderness.
From the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, all the way up to the Bridge of the Gods in Washington state — a full 1,100 miles — Strayed hikes solo in her best-selling, Oprah-approved memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. And now, only 2 years after the book was published and then translated into 30 different languages, her words come to life on the big screen in the highly anticipated film Wild. Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon loved the story so much that she not only signed on to play Strayed, but she also is a co-producer after optioning the film even before the book’s release.
Hollywood stars aren’t the only ones attempting to re-create her journey; throngs of fans inspired by Strayed’s story are hitting the Pacific Crest Trail, one of the country’s longest and wildest thru-hikes, in record numbers. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is embracing the growing interest — about a 30% increase in the number of hikers this year alone — by sharing Strayed’s exact route and inspiring Wild stories.
Jay Fielden in his office at Town & Country Travel. Photo by Patrick McMullan.
He’s on a mission to bring back the intoxication and seduction of travel one story at a time. Jay Fielden, editor-in-chief of the newly resurrected Town & Country Travel, is more than ready for his big job of reinventing what a travel magazine can be — a portal that transports you to another world. While Town & Country might be known for catering to the well-heeled and glamorous — and its Travel extension doesn’t shy away from exclusive insider places, either — the innate curiosity of every traveler at heart will be intrigued by the stories behind those faraway, exotic destinations and people.
So if you can’t jet to Venice for a martini at Harry’s Bar, Fielden wants to make sure you’re still enraptured in the geopolitics of the martini arriving in Italy. (And who says you can’t drink a martini as you read the story on your couch?)
We caught up with the busy editor find out how his small-town San Antonio roots prepared him for New York’s glamorous magazine world, the one item he can’t imagine traveling without, and the café in Paris that may have just turned his 8-year-old daughter into a young Francophile. READ MORE
Whether you’re going the distance for the world’s largest marathon or cheering on a friend from the sidelines, here are hotels offering packages for the TCS New York City Marathon, which are filled with pre- and post-race pampering. Running a whopping 26.2 miles — you deserve it.
Courtesy of the Pierre Hotel
Mickela dances with women celebrating at the Asrlar Sadosi Festival in Navoi, Uzbekistan.
Whose dream isn’t to dance around the world? Mickela Mallozzi, host and creator of the travel TV series Bare Feet, ”experiences the world one dance at time,” and boy, are we jealous. From reconnecting with her family’s roots while folk dancing in Italy to sweating it out with locals dancing salsa in Puerto Rico, Mickela discovers how different cultures express themselves without words.
A classically trained dancer, Mickela has performed on various other TV shows, including Sesame Street, the Today show and The Dr. Oz show, and she is the co-director of the Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference for inspiring and connecting women through travel.
We caught up with Mickela — between her Riverdancing in Ireland and getting intimate with Argentines over tango — to chat about the intersection of travel, dance and culture.
Find out how Mickela got hooked on dancing around the world, how dance enthusiasts (read: amateur dancers) can join her as she moves around the globe, and what country she thinks has the best dancers. (Hint: It’s not the US.)