In honor of Leap Day (and after seeing those motivating Honda CR-V commercials), we’re inspired to make our own “leap list.” We find it more optimistic to think of taking a leap, rather than to think of our dwindling lifespan, aka The Bucket List. Here are 10 ideas to get you started — take a chance, take the plunge, or take a trip:
1.) Dare to Bare It All.
Toss the cover-up AND the bathing suit for the bravest walk of your life on one these nude beaches.
2.) Learn New Dance Moves.
Try the tango in Argentina. The booty-shaking Samba in Brazil. Or learn Capoiera without leaving your city.
3.) Say “I Love You” (or Put a Ring on It).
Find the perfect moment and the best place to say “I love you” or propose.
4.) Sleep in a Tree House.
Forget about free Wi-Fi and continental breakfasts. Pretend you’re a kid again and take refuge in the trees. If you’re lucky, you might just get up close and personal with the monkeys.
5.) Tap into Your Spiritual Side.
Or at least find some peace and quiet. Taking yoga at the gym just doesn’t cut it. Unplug and escape from the daily grind to see the best spots to renew the spirit. No matter what you do (or don’t) believe in, the beauty of these places will leave you speechless.
by Amanda DiGiondomenico
To celebrate that extra day we’ve been granted this leap year, many travel destinations — from Orlando to South Africa – are trying to make those extra 24 hours worth your while. Instead of wasting away your leap day, let these 5 travel ideas inspire you to make the day something to remember.
One More Disney Day
For starters, Disney wants your leap day to be extra magical, so they are officially calling leap day, “One More Disney Day.” To commemorate the day, Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando’s Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be open 24 hours straight. Once the gates open at 6 a.m. on Feb. 29, Mickey fans can have the run of the park until the rides shut down at 6 a.m. on March 1. The lines will probably be short in the wee hours of the morning, offering maximum opportunities to ride.
Leap at Martha’s Vineyard
If peace and quiet are more your speed, then head to Martha’s Vineyard for a little rest and relaxation. But don’t take yourself too seriously there; at the Vineyard Square Hotel you can score a free bottle of wine if you bring a photograph of yourself leaping over something. So let loose, find the closest leap-able object and bring someone who has a camera.
We’ve loved them ever since we saw them burst onto the scene in those cheesy insurance commercials. And heard their cool underwater vocals. Now it’s your chance to get up close and personal with the whale family’s most beloved member: the humpback.
This winter, Virginia Beach has reported double the sightings of humpback whales over last year. More than 30 have been spotted since late December, as little as 2 miles off the coast. Local marine biologists have been naming the frequent visitors — Woodpecker, Batcave and Literal, among them – who are typically too young to head south to the West Indies for the calving and mating season. Instead, they’ve been arriving from the northern Bay of Fundy (between Maine and Nova Scotia) – and sticking around in larger-than-usual numbers.
Hotels in New York City will provide housekeepers with personal panic buttons. This decision comes after a hotel maid’s charge, last May, that she was sexually assaulted by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now housekeepers at all of the top hotels in the city will be equipped with the devices.
The new panic buttons, a 29-percent salary increase and health insurance for workers, are all part of a contract proposal presented on Tuesday to the city’s hotel union. The Hotel Association of New York approved the devices last week, which requires employers to give panic buttons to any hotel worker entering an occupied guest room.
In a recent Reuters interview, association spokeswoman Lisa Linden said, “They can quickly and easily activate these devices to effectively summon prompt assistance to their locations.”
So while we’re talking New York City hotels, check out a few of these Oyster.com hotel recommendations in the Big Apple.
Oyster.com’s NYC Hotel Recommendations
NYC Luxury Hotels
Best New York Wedding Hotels
Best Hotel Pools in NYC
Top NYC Hotel Cocktails
Romantic Places in New York City
New York City’s Best Business Hotels
Looking for cheap airfares? Well, you might notice a couple changes now that the Department of Transportation’s new airfare regulations are in effect. One of the new federal guidelines makes it harder for airlines to hide airfare taxes and fees from consumers.
Published airfares — online, on billboards, in print and over the phone — must include all taxes and fees. That means that that when you book your flight with an airline, ticket agents or online booking site (e.g. Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak), the taxes and fees that were added on at the end of a transaction will now be posted up front for you to see. But, wait there’s more you should know.
With the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opening to the public just last summer, this will be the first MLK Day you’ll be able to visit the memorial. If Monday draws even a fraction of the thousands of people who attended the memorial’s dedication in August, plan ahead and prepare for crowds.
Here’s what you’ll need to know when planning your visit:
Off the Mall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is located in a remote and beautiful 4-acre site in West Potomac Park along the Tidal Basin. It’s close to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials (which makes for a fantastic view and plenty of photo ops). The official address of the memorial, 1964 Independence Ave, SW, commemorates the year that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.
How to Get There
Like all the memorials on the National Mall, parking is extremely limited so your best bet is to take public transportation and prepare to walk a bit. The closest Metro stations are Smithsonian and Foggy Bottom. For a longer but more scenic walk, get off at Arlington National Cemetery and walk over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, crossing the Potomac with the Lincoln Memorial ahead of you. Metro has helpful walking directions from all these spots, which you can find here.
The year’s almost over, but don’t let it pass by without a nod to this historic milestone: 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Ishi. Who was this mysterious man? Learn the amazing story of this Native American in tonight’s episode of Mysteries at the Museum. Here’s the backstory:
It’s the summer of 1911, and a man in a fur cape emerges from the wilderness on the outskirts of a California gold-mining town. “To find a wild person in 1911 was extraordinary,” says Christiaan Klieger, curator of The California Museum. Even more extraordinary was the story this man’s life pointed to: He was, anthropologists determined, a member of a lost Native American tribe. But how did Ishi survive all alone? And was he really the last survivor? Learn the full story tonight at 9/8c!
The bright lights of Tinseltown have lured their share of young women. Among them was a raven-haired girl from Massachusetts who hoped to make it big in Los Angeles. But in the end, Elizabeth Short came to be known as the tragic Black Dahlia. In tonight’s episode of Hidden City: Los Angeles, at 10|9c, host Marcus Sakey explores Short’s mysterious death, which culminated in the gruesome discovery of her mutilated body in a vacant lot in 1947.
Sadly, Short was hardly the only woman whose life ended young — and, in several cases, under mysterious circumstances. Call it the Black Dahlia Club. If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, take a detour down these haunted streets; echoes of lives cut short still resound (hat tip: Esotouric and photographer Derek Hutchison): READ MORE
The mere mention of the word “pirate” can spark images of fantasy and adventure. You know, Johnny Depp aka Captain Jack Sparrow. But in life, pirates don’t just flash smoky eyes and put on a good show. They kill. For real. Tonight at 9/8c, Mysteries at the Museum offers a heart-stopping look at one high-seas drama.
In April 2009, the Maersk Alabama cargo ship was sailing through the Indian Ocean when it was hijacked by a speedboat with 3 Somali pirates onboard. In the moments that followed, Captain Richard Phillips was tied up, with an AK-47 assault rifle held to the back of his head. Hear host Don Wildman explain what happened next.
In other cases, it’s travelers who end up in the crossfire. This year an American couple saw their sailboat hijacked by pirates several hundred miles off the coast of Oman. But if you dream of one day setting sail for the high seas, don’t fret. Just be smart about it. Stay current on high-risk waters and travel advisory warnings.
And if you’re looking for pirate adventure (safely tucked in the past), plenty of options await — just check out the links below.
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The Real Pirates of the Caribbean
Finding Pirates in the Caribbean