ALL POSTS IN [Trends]

Calling all toy fans — Jordan Hembrough is back with an all-new season of Toy Hunter. Tonight starting at 9|8c, catch 2 brand-new back-to-back episodes as Jordan continues to travel America buying and selling iconic toys.

In the first episode, Jordan is approached by his biggest client to date: Gene Simmons, the bass player from the legendary rock band, KISS. After taking a tour of Gene’s Los Angeles home, Jordan is tasked with going on the road to find the rocker the rarest KISS collectibles around.

Next, Jordan and his sidekick, Steve, head to Virginia in search of some expensive toys to add to their inventory. Things heat up when Jordan and Steve decide to make the trip into a contest to see who can find the most expensive toy in the state.

Will Jordan be able to make Gene Simmons proud and present him with a collectible he doesn’t already own? Who will be crowned King of Toy Collectibles —  Jordan or Steve? Find out during all-new episodes tonight at 9|8c and again at 9:30|8:30c.

Also, when you tune in for tonight’s premiere, make sure to follow @TravelChannel on Twitter! At the end of each episode, we’ll post a question about the show from the @TravelChannel handle. Tweet us your answer with hashtag #THsweeps to enter to win a Toy Hunter prize pack from Jordan Hembrough! Official Rules

Photography by Getty Images

With the Season 6 premiere of Mad Men this Sunday, why not plan a spring fling with the debonair Don Draper of Madison Avenue? Yes, that’s right: Imagine you, Don, a candlelit dinner overlooking the Manhattan skyline … then the moment … the look in his eyes … he leans in … and …

OK, we can dream. But while Don (and Jon Hamm) may be off-limits — for now, anyway, as he sorts things out with Megan — Mad Men fans can still live vicariously through the glamorously gritty world of Madison Avenue advertising. And crash some pretty glamorous hotel rooms while they’re at it.

Who can forget the time Don checked into NYC’s luxe Roosevelt Hotel after Betty gave him the boot? Or when Peggy had a little tryst with Duck Phillips at the Pierre Hotel? There’s no accounting for Peggy’s taste in men but she definitely knows how to pick a hotel.

Whip up your own steamy show at one of these Mad Men-caliber hotels, then hit the town exploring some of the restaurants and neighborhood bars made famous by the groundbreaking AMC series since its 2007 premiere. Enjoy a drink at Sardi’s, a 3-martini lunch at the Oyster Bar, plus head to Manhattan’s PJ Clarke’s where you can ponder the age-old Mad Men question: “Should we drink before the meeting, after the meeting or both?”

Still lusting for more Mad Men locations? We can’t blame you, so be sure to check out more of the show’s filming locations sites in our Travel Like Mad Men photo gallery.

April Fool's Quiz

Did you hear Richard Branson announced Virgin Atlantic is launching the first-ever glass-bottomed plane? That there are plans to turn 5,000-year-old Stonehenge into a glorified billboard at night. Or that YouTube is shutting down after 8 years? Here at Travel Channel we’d never stoop so low as to play a cruel April Fool’s joke on you.

In fact, in honor of this fun holiday we’ve rounded up the wackiest, most bizarre travel stories we could find. Are they true or false? You tell us and if you get them all correct you’ll win a $100,000 trip of a lifetime …

April Fool’s! We already did that. Sorry, we’re not above the fray after all.

However, ace our quiz and you can stand taller with the smug satisfaction of knowing that you’re smarter than your travel-starved peers. Good luck!

This Week in Photos

Did you know some Easter celebrations include dressing up in witch costumes? Or that you can buy a “vortex” in Brooklyn? This week our travel bloggers offer us a glimpse at some of the weird and wonderful things to do and places to visit around the world.

This week the world’s first edible hotel opened in London full of almost-too-cute-to-eat treats.  Condé Nast Traveler takes you inside the hotel, complete with fudge windowsills and cake pillows, giving a more literal meaning to “sweet dreams!”

In search of kryptonite or a can of “chaos” to defeat your arch nemesis? With a slogan like “if we don’t have it, a superhero doesn’t need it,” the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store is exactly what it sounds like. Atlas Obscura writes why we will have to check this eccentric store out the next time we are in NYC!

Easter celebrations may mean chocolate bunnies and egg hunts to us in the US, but around the globe countries have their own unique Easter celebrations.  Children from Finland dress in witch costumes and people in India exchange colorful lanterns — read more on Uni Travel’s blog!

Oktoberfest isn’t the only festival you’ll want to experience in Germany. From a medieval-era celebration, to whiskey tastings or even finger wrestling, there is a wacky and weird festival to fit your taste!  Check out Europe A La Carte’s 10 Great Festivals in Germany.

Get more timely travel inspiration with our This Week in Photos slideshow!

Nok Air/Facebook

Does sex sell more airline seats? Back in the ’60s, when the Golden Age of Flying ruled supreme, airline stewardesses wore super-high minis, pillbox hats and low-cut tops. Fast-forward to today, and airlines are trying to bring sexy back to flying, this time around with attempts that are much more in-your-face than the golden age of flying ever displayed – and, no surprise, the move is causing plenty of controversy for “sexy-ing up” flight attendants.

The most recent example is Thai carrier Nok Airlines, which has created a 2013 calendar with scantily-clad Maxim models posing as flight attendants. The airline’s CEO, Patee Sarasin, tells CNN, “The airline business has always been seen as sexy globally.” The calendar, he adds, has been a warmly received by appreciative customers.

Nok Airlines isn’t the only carrier to go the sexy calendar route. Ryanair’s cabin crew calendar showcases models in bikinis, and lest you have second thoughts about buying it, you can confidently defend your purchase by knowing that proceeds do go to the Polish TVN Foundation charity.

What do flight attendants think? We asked Heather Poole, a 15-year flight attendant and author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet her thoughts about marketing flight attendants as sex symbols.

She wasn’t too impressed.

“Cheap airfare is the only thing that sells tickets today,” says Poole. “That and — oh! — on-time departures and good safety records. If passengers really cared about what their flight attendants looked like, Hooters Air would still be in business. They only lasted for 3 years!”

Poole adds: “The only airlines that seem to flaunt sexy flight attendants are the ones looking to sell calendars or get “likes” on their Facebook page. There’s a reason they’re selling sex over a quality airline. Business must not be quite as hot as the crew.“

Plus, what about women fliers? asks Poole. Sexting up campaigns aren’t likely to win over this huge travel demographic.

“Do most female fliers really care how sexy flight attendants are? I don’t think so. It’s like some airlines are only directing their marketing at male passengers. Last time I checked there were women not just sitting on the plane, but occupying business and first-class seats, serious hardcore frequent fliers! They’re also flying the plane. To which I say, God Bless America! I’m so thankful I work for a US carrier. “

So what do you think? Do the marketing attempts to present flight attendants as sex symbols make flying more attractive to you? Or should airlines focus their efforts elsewhere?

You May Also Like:

Plane Sexy: Flying in the Jet Age
Style in the Aisle: Flight Attendant Fashion
Life of a Stewardess

Trip of a Lifetime

$100,000. You and 3 friends. An Adriatic adventure. The stakes are high and today is your last chance to win the Trip of a Lifetime. What are you waiting for?

You have until midnight tonight to customize your dream itinerary or choose a host’s trip and enter it to win the ultimate getaway to the beautiful coasts of Italy and Croatia.

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or tomorrow you’ll be kicking yourself whilst daydreaming of snorkeling off Dubrovnik’s hidden beaches and sipping wine at the famous Villa Sandi. Enter to win now!

Trip of a Lifetime

By now you’ve probably pictured yourself on the Trip of a Lifetime. You’ve imagined drinking in the unbelievable views and indulging in the dishes at the 5-star restaurants. You’ve seen yourself staying in the lap of luxury at the 5-star Hotel Danieli (yes, where Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie filmed The Tourist). Or you’ve dreamed of sailing around the Dalmatian Islands on your own private yacht.

But if you haven’t entered our Trip of a Lifetime sweepstakes yet, you may never have any of these experiences. Lucky for you, you have until tomorrow to customize your dream itinerary or choose a host’s trip and enter it to win the $100,000 dream vacation.

Trip of a Lifetime Venice Canal

Wish you were here? Yeah, we thought so. Turn your fantasy into a reality by entering to win a $100,000 trip (with 3 of your favorite people!) to the Adriatic.

First, check out the full list of possible prizes – including a shopping spree in Venice, a hot air balloon ride over the city’s famous canals, and palatial accommodations at Hotel Vestibul Palace. Then, design a custom trip or pick from one of our hosts’ hand-picked itineraries. But hurry – voting ends at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, March 24. You can enter once everyday, so you’ve got 3 chances left! Vote now!

Cherry Blossoms

Finally! The first day of spring is here, and the growing sunshine and warmer weather are bound to inspire travel ideas in you. If those plans include a trip to Washington, DC, for the 101st annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, though, you may have to adjust your calendar ever so slightly: The National Park Service reports that the peak bloom time for the blossoms has been recalculated — it’s now April 3-6. (An earlier projection had called for March 26-30; the reason for the date push-back is the recent cold snap that hit the nation’s capital). To make sure you do not miss the peak bloom, the National Park Service has set up a live web cam of the Tidal Basin.

Along with cherry blossoms, be sure to check out DC’s other top attractions:

Don’t want to wait that long to see cherry blossoms in bloom? Then head on over the Japan! What’s late here is early there — in fact, this year cherry blossoms in Japan have peaked at their earliest time ever: CNN reports that the Japan Meteorological Agency announced the beginning of cherry blossom, or “sakura,” season over the past weekend.

For more cherry blossom travel ideas, check out our recent roundup of cherry blossom festivals across America — and fun fact: The Garden State actually has more cherry blossoms than Washington, DC! So you may want to add New Jersey’s Branch Brook Park to your cherry blossom viewing list!

Where’s the best place to practice yoga? Paradise. More specifically, Wanderlust O’ahu, the one-of-a kind festival that features yoga, music, surfing and plenty of Hawaiian culture on the fabled North Shore. Typically a summer festival that’s held in mountain resort areas, Wanderlust kicked off its 2013 season by leaving the mainland for its first-ever beach location in the Aloha state.

photo by Mike Bernard

When I attended my first Wanderlust at Whistler last August, I was immediately hooked on the unique vibe of this festival that combines world-class yogis, outdoor adventure, organic wining and dining and dancing under the stars to crowd-pleasing bands.

But Wanderlust at a more intimate setting on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches? Mindful-living magic.

Away from the crowds of Waikiki, Wanderlust O’ahu was held at Turtle Bay Resort, an 880-acre paradise that sits on the northernmost tip of the North Shore with 5 miles of remote beachfront. Yogis down-dogged by the crystal blue ocean (or on the ocean if they attempted stand-up paddleboard yoga) with palm trees swaying and 15-foot waves breaking nearby. Hawaiian surf legends Gerry Lopez and Rochelle Ballard taught yoga classes and shared their surf-yoga connection during evening speakeasies. Wanderlust-ers got a taste of Hawaiian culture with surf, ukulele and hula lessons. And every day in paradise was topped off with dancing under the stars – with musical acts like Michael Franti and Friends and ALO.

photo by Ali Kaukas

While every moment at Wanderlust O’ahu felt perfect, my favorite moment had to be the spontaneous “trance dance” party led by yoga goddess Shiva Rea and Wanderlust musical mainstay Michael Franti. Picture over a thousand people jumping and dancing to the infectious beats of Michael Franti under the Hawaiian sunshine (in comfy yoga pants, of course).  Pure happiness.

See Michael Franti lead the dance party in the festival highlights video. Check out images of Wanderlust O’ahu in our slideshow. And get more highlights of the festival in my Postcard From Wanderlust O’ahu.

photo by Kathleen Rellihan

Don’t worry,  there are still many chances to experience Wanderlust this year. It’s just gearing up for its 2013 summer season, with all the mainland events tickets on sale now: Wanderlust Vermont, Jun 20-23; Wanderlust Colorado, July 3-7; Wanderlust California, July 18-21; and Wanderlust Whistler, August 1-4. Don’t miss out on advanced pricing, which ends March 26. Ticket prices will go up, so now is the time to book your Wanderlust adventure. And the earlier you book, the more likely you’ll get into the popular classes, which fill up quickly.

Where will your wanderlust take you this year? I have a feeling mine will take me back to another Wanderlust festival.

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