The holiday season is officially in full swing — now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone (finally), it’s time to break the Christmas boxes out of the attic and get decorating! The National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, will be lit this Friday, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is set to take place tonight at 8 p.m. — but what about your tree?
Want to show off your decorating skills? Or know someone who goes all-out with their spirited décor? We want to see your photos! Instagram them with the hashtag #TCHolidayLights, and we’ll pick our favorites to feature on the blog.
If you need a little inspiration, check out our photos of Dazzling Holiday Lights, the Travel Channel community’s best holiday lights photos, and our picks for the Most Christmasy Places in America.
Plus, don’t miss Sam Brown and Zak Bagans’ picks for their favorite lights displays:
Photo Courtesy of Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Monday, which should draw even more happy couples to the Aloha State. The law also allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a move that is sure to appeal to plenty of tourists.
How much of an appeal? Sumner La Croix, an economist at the University of Hawaii -Manoa, tells NPR that the legalization of gay marriage in Hawaii could boost tourism in the state by as much $217 million over the next 3 years.
“Same-sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples are attracted to Hawaii,” said La Croix. “It’s the great weather, it’s the warm water, it’s the beautiful scenery. And it’s also the aloha spirit.”
We couldn’t agree more at Travel Channel. We’ve lauded combining your wedding with your honeymoon on the Hawaiian Islands thanks to the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets.
We’ve got at least one item on your summer 2014 to-do list: Ride Verrückt. If you haven’t heard the latest buzz about Verrückt, allow us to enlighten you. Designed by Jeff Henry, the “Wizard of Water” and co-owner of Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, KS, Verrückt, once complete, will be the tallest, fastest and, dare we say — scariest — waterslide in the world!
The 17-story Verrückt waterslide, which requires 4 people to ride it at one time, will be taller than Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty. And Travel Channel is on the ground capturing the entire build — we’ll be there when the first 4 brave souls take the first plunge! The waterslide will be featured in next summer’s Xtreme Waterparks, our hit series about the coolest, most ridiculous and most extreme waterparks in the world.
Stay tuned for more on how Verrückt’s build is progressing. Until summer 2014, wet your appetite with our Xtreme Waterparks pictures.
Photo by Getty Images
Today People Magazine revealed the Sexiest Man Alive … and surprise! It’s Adam Levine, 34, the Maroon 5 singer-turned-The Voice-host-turned actor and entrepreneur. Levine is joined on the “Sexiest” list by some serious eye candy, including Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, and HGTV’s Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott (our personal faves).
But before People Magazine’s 2013’s Sexiest Man Alive was announced, we here at Travel Channel revealed the Sexiest People Alive. Our globetrotting writers and bloggers looked outside of Hollywood to find out where the sexiest locals live. And we’re not going to lie — our experts seem partial to South America. Check out the full list and vote on your top pick below!
From the sexy (Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, anyone?) to the serious (2 solemn anniversaries in Berlin) — see this week in photos around the world. For another dose of sexy (as in hotel rooms) and more, read on for this week’s travel roundup.
Pearl furniture, white linens and bright curtains surprisingly helped a hotel in London recently earn the title of “world’s sexiest bedroom.” Blakes Hotel won the honor from travel publisher Mr. & Mrs. Smith in the announcement of their annual “Smith Hotel Awards.” The “fantasy cocoon” at the Ca Maria Adele Hotel in Venice, and the Secret Cay Resort in Dominica were runners up in the contest.
Imagine sitting on an airplane and hearing the pilot say over the intercom “we’re going down” moments before the plane takes a nose dive. That’s what happened on a recent Southwest Airlines flight where, according to a passenger, the pilot panicked and made the frightening statement over the intercom. The airline says the pilot accidentally broadcast the crisis to the entire plane rather than just his crew. The FAA is investigating the incident.
Not into the stigma that goes with the definition of a “tourist?” The Huffington Post has put together a guide to tell you the difference and help you become less of someone who “plops” themselves into a new area, and more like an explorer seeking new adventures. One of the major tips? Stop posing with statues.
If you’re traveling through Los Angeles International, Chicago O’Hare International, or one of the other airports expected to top of the busiest passenger list over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might want to check out this list of “10 Ways to Get to Your Gate Faster” from USA Today. Make sure to plan ahead before you head to the gate if you want to get the Grandma’s house on time for dinner.
You may think you heard this debate before, but now it’s finally official: The One World Trade Center building in Manhattan is the tallest building in the US.
The title was under scrutiny after the designers of the tower decided against enclosing the mast on the top of the building for maintenance reasons, which left the argument open as to whether the height of the mast counted in the building’s overall height measurement.
Today, the Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat released its decision, saying that the mast does count in the overall height of the building, and, when finished in January, will enter the organization’s official rankings as the tallest building in the US.
Photo by Getty
Those traveling to the Philippines for volunteer work or vacation have been faced with the unimaginable – a devastating typhoon that could claim as many as 10,000 lives and left the country in crisis.
Hundreds of volunteers were already working on the popular tourist island of Boho following the massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck in mid-October, working on rebuilding homes demolished by the tragedy that killed more than 200 people.
But the devastation hasn’t stopped them from helping. It just changed the mission.
This Week in Photos is full of twists on tradition: A Halloween surf competition, a Zombie Walk to commemorate the Day of the Dead … and more. Expect nothing less from our travel news roundup, where you’ll meet an inspiring 100-year-old and go on a record-breaking cross-country road trip.
We all have ideas of trips we’d like to cross off of our “bucket list,” but one 100-year-old adventurer is showing us it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Elsa Bailey recently traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see polar bears in their natural habitat. She said it’s something she’s always wanted to do, and when the opportunity came, she “jumped at it.”
In other adventure trip news…an Atlanta man took “road tripping” to a whole new level this week, setting a record for the fastest cross-country drive from New York to California in just 28 hours and 50 minutes. Ed Bolian started planning about 18 months ago, adding gas tanks to his Mercedes Benz and purchasing high quality radars to avoid police – something that he says he doesn’t endorse. Find out more about his journey here.
If you’re travelling this Thanksgiving, you might want to prepare yourself for some long lines. Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3, more than 25 million people are projected to board flights for the holiday. The total number would be a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s travelers, according to Airlines for America.
Before you leave on your trip this holiday season, Johnny Jet says there’s an important step you need to take in order to protect your money. He says notifying your bank and your credit card company that you’re traveling out of the country can put an end to suspicious activity that comes through from your hometown. Safe travels!
There are not 1, not 2, but 3 Guiness World Record attempts in This Week in Photos – find out who’ll set the next record. There’s some history-making in our travel news roundup as well, at least where your smartphone or tablet is concerned on your next flight.
Soon you won’t have to put down that book on your iPad as your plane hits the tarmac thanks to a decision by the FAA to allow the use of electronic devices for the duration of flights. While this does mean you can play games and work on drafting a blog post about your trip, it does not give you the freedom to pass time by calling Grandma or texting a friend – voice calls and use of data plans will remain banned aboard flights.
Virgin Airlines is joining the recent trend of high-quality in-flight safety videos (if you haven’t seen Air New Zealand’s video featuring Betty White you must catch up), releasing an information music video led by G.I. Joe and Step Up 2 director Jon M. Chu. The video brings together dancers, singers and choreographers from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and is a little catchy (I may or may not be humming the tune as I write this).
Gadling reports that the Leaning Tower of Pisa, isn’t “leaning” as much as it once was. The iconic bell tower is standing up a little straighter these days due to a massive restoration project. A new study out this week says that the tower has straightened by 1 inch (2.5cm) since 2001.
Still haven’t booked Thanksgiving travel? It’s not too late, but you’re going to need to be creative. Johnny Jet has rounded up 10 ways to find cheap Thanksgiving travel that could be your key to saving some money this holiday season.
Courtesy of Thinkstock
Good luck on trying to find last-minute deals for any holiday travel this year. Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, says, “This is probably going to be the highest-priced holiday fares we’ve seen in the last decade.”
The average ticket cost for the US and Caribbean is already up 9.4% over last Thanksgiving. Prices for Christmas week are up more than 7% to an average of $337.
What’s the reason behind the airfare hike this year? Travel experts blame it on mergers and consolidated airlines over the past couple years, which has forced some carriers to cut back on flights to many cities. This is the first time that planes are flying at 85% load factor — essentially full — since 1945. And today, more people are competing for fewer seats.