Posts tagged with "explore"

How to Stay Awake During a Long Layover So You Don’t Miss Your Flight

The comfort on board planes has significantly improved compared to a couple of decades ago, especially during long-haul flights. Today, you can watch video content on streaming services on your phone or other device. Most airlines even offer access to wifi these days, That means you can play free no deposit bingo, read the latest news, or even respond to business emails to save some time.

While the actual flight might be more enjoyable than in the past, a problem occurs when you have a long layover. Nobody likes to wait for hours until their next plane arrives and they take off to their final destination. However, sometimes it is the only option for the intrepid traveler. Here is what you can do to pass the time quickly and ensure you don’t miss the next flight!

Do You Have Enough Time to Explore the City?

Here is the first thing to ask yourself – how many hours will the layover last? You might have ten hours between the flights, but you need to be at the airport for an hour or two before the next flight. That is something to consider when calculating if you have enough time to leave the airport.

If you have several hours to spare, there is no reason why you shouldn’t explore the city. It might be a unique opportunity because who knows when you will find yourself in that location again. 

The experts advise designing your city exploration plan in advance. You probably won’t have time for everything, so focus on sight or two that you want to see the most, with perhaps a meal away from the typical airport fare. Additionally, make sure that you return to the airport by the specified time. Make sure to leave some wiggle room in case something goes wrong, such as your taxi getting in a traffic jam while taking you back to the airport. It’s better to be at the lounge an hour or two earlier than to risk missing your flight. Remember – this is only a layover. It isn’t worth missing your ride to your final destination!

Your Gadgets Are Your Best Friend

It’s vital that your mobile phone is fully charged and capable of enduring active use while you are waiting for the next flight. Your cellphone will allow you to check-in with your friends and loved ones and talk to them. You will also need it for other activities we suggest later in the article. Anyone living in the modern age understands the essential nature of a cellphone while traveling. If you are traveling to a foreign country, you might want to consider being prepared with a SIM card for your destination(s). Otherwise, you might be swarmed with hidden fees.

Apart from a mobile phone, you might be carrying a laptop, tablet, or another device. All these can be useful to pass the time, so make sure you have sufficient battery. The alternative is to find a place to charge at the airport, which can be a restaurant or coffee shop. Additionally, you can be prepared by bringing your own portable charger. These are an essential gadget for any traveler – some suitcases even come with them built in these days!

Here is what you can do with these devices:

  • Respond to business emails and finish work-related tasks – you have time to spare, so why wouldn’t you use it intelligently and complete those work-related things you’d like to avoid while on vacation? Whether it’s responding to emails or writing a draft of a meeting, all it takes is finding a quiet place where you can focus.
  • Play games – mobile phones and tablets feature games that can keep you interested for hours. If there is a game you love playing at the moment, you will have several hours to enjoy it, which is a true blessing.
  • Watch TV shows and movies – the odds are the airport has high-speed internet, so how about watching a few episodes of your favourite show?
  • Listen to music – you will need headphones because you don’t want to disturb the passengers, but listening to your favourite tunes is another option. Furthermore, you can also listen to podcasts and other content. 

Make a Game Out of People Watching

Some people find it a bit strange, but others believe this is a creative way of passing the time. The idea is to position yourself in a place where people often pass by, and the airport is the perfect location for that. Your task is to watch a person and see what you can guess about them. Some find coming up with elaborate backstories for different travelers quite amusing.

Perhaps you can guess where they came from and then see what their luggage says. Make sure that you do the entire watching discreetly because it should never be one’s intent to make another traveler uncomfortable.

Freshen Up for Your Next Flight

Most airports have large toilets where you can invest some time to freshen yourself up to feel better. You probably have carry-on luggage that includes your skincare and other cosmetic products. Even a couple of wet wipes, a mouthwash and a swipe of deodorant might do the trick. 

If you want to take things to the next level, discover if the airport offers showers or spa services. Many airports where layovers are common include these facilities as they want the layover passengers to feel comfortable. You can get your batteries charged and energized by having a hot shower or getting yourself a massage to relax after a tiresome flight. Why approach the next step of your journey feeling overly foggy, when you can approach it pampered and prepared?

Are You Feeling Hungry?

The next thing to consider is whether you could use a nice meal. Most airports offer multiple restaurants and fast food facilities, but the time of day (or night) will effect which of them are open. If it’s the middle of the night, the odds are that only a late-night snack bar will be available, which is better than nothing. Treat yourself to a coffee, and healthy snacks such as a granola bar or fruit to keep you feeling energized.

However, if you find yourself at the airport in the afternoon, you can probably pick between multiple options. Since you are not in a rush, take some time to think and go with the restaurant that seems most tempting. It may even be an excellent opportunity try the local cuisine.

Read a Book

Did you start reading a book on your first flight and didn’t have time to finish it? If you can’t wait to see what happens next, how about reading it now? If it is an interesting read, it will help keep you wide awake and engaged in your surroundings. That’s the entire point – finding an activity you find attractive ensures you don’t fall asleep.

Books are a convenient way of passing the time but don’t forget to pick them carefully. If you need to start a new book and you find it boring, you might become sleepy. That’s why choosing the right title is imperative, so go with those books you know you will like. Many airports offer bookstores where you can browse numerous titles if you are in the market for something new.

Conclusion

It’s not pleasant when you have to wait for hours for the next flight. However, we staying awake can be easier if you engage in entertaining activities. Apart from ensuring that you don’t fall asleep, time will pass more quickly until you finally hear that boarding call to your final destination.

You want to plan your layover before heading on a trip. Make sure all devices like smartphones and laptops are charged and don’t hesitate to bring books and headphones to listen to music. It’s all about designing a layover plan that suits your preferences, as that one increases the odds of staying awake for as long as necessary.

Gaylord Opryland Country Christmas Nashville

Winter Happenings in Tennessee

Although traveling may look different this year, Tennessee has great activities to offer for the upcoming winter. This list is new, trendy and sure to please everyone.

Nolensville – Artist Kim Radford painted the “This Girl Can” mural on the side of Mama Java’s Café as part of the statewide Walls for Women project to celebrate Tennessee’s role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Clarksville – Start a new holiday tradition with a mini-glass blowing workshop like designing your own ornament at Erin’s Farm. Afterward, stop by the gift gallery for goods, crafts and artworks produced by local artisans.

LafayetteThe Barn on Church Street is a magical place for a wedding or event. Steeped in history, the 100-year-old barn has been lovingly renovated to maintain the charm of a barn while providing modern conveniences.

Knoxville –Stroll the Downtown Peppermint Trail among more than 100,000 lights and garlands which create a winter wonderland and restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, bars and boutiques feature peppermint specials.

Chattanooga – Delight in a million sparkling lights, decorate a gingerbread cookie, experience the icy borealis lights, visit Santa in his North Pole Workshop and indulge in holiday treats during Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights.

Southeast Tennessee – The new Tennessee Gravel website showcases ways to enjoy beautiful backroads around the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cherokee National Forest, including day trips, overnight backpacking adventures, bike races and events.

Johnson City – The Windsor Speakeasy is known for its unique craft cocktails, seasonal cocktail menus, inconspicuous exterior, low lighting, leather and velvet pieces. The speakeasy is in downtown Johnson City, but you may have to hunt to find it.

Dover – Learn a new hobby and handwork skills with the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm Old Time Skills Workshops, including traditional Christmas decorations. Safety protocols will be observed. Masks and social distancing will be required.

New Restaurant, Attraction & Shop Openings

Nashville49 new restaurants, bars and cafés have opened this year, including Yolan (directed by James Beard Award winner and Michelin-starred chef, Tony Mantuano), and three new concepts by James Beard Award-winning chef, Sean Brock: The Continental at the Grand Hyatt, Joyland and Audrey.

Nashville – The National Museum of African American Music will showcase the roles African Americans have played in shaping and creating all genres of music. The museum will integrate history and interactive technology to share the story of more than 50 music genres and subgenres. Stay tuned here for information on the grand opening.

Pelham – Explore an underground room three football fields long. Hear about geology, lore and Grundy County’s unique history. Take a daily tour behind-the-scenes of The Caverns’ world-famous music venue and end with a photo op on the iconic stage.

Knoxville Live from the Bijou is a reduced capacity, in-venue experience and live streaming series of concerts every Friday night. Safety measures are in place inside the venue. Proceeds support the artist and sustain the venue.

Pigeon Forge – The new REI Co-op store offers top-quality outdoor gear, rentals, expertise and experiences in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Johnson City – The Women’s Suffrage Mural by Artist Ellen Elmes is depicted in three stages. The design honors the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement with a focus on Tennessee stories, including a historic 1916 march in Johnson City.

New Breweries and Distilleries 

Clarksville – The locally-owned Strawberry Alley Ale Works in historic downtown combines chef-inspired food and expertly made craft beer.

Franklin – Curio Brewing Company on the Franklin’s Masters & Makers Trail brews coffee and beer. The kid-friendly atmosphere offers the family a spot to gather safely while still enjoying experimental brews. 

Johnson City Watauga Brewing Company is a three-story brewery, rooftop bar and restaurant featuring upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian southern roots. Little Animals Brewery on Main Street offers barrel-aged sours, Saison beers, IPAS, lagers and vintage British beers.

Kingsport – Gypsy Circus Cider, Tennessee’s first cidery, takes pride in using locally-sourced, fresh-pressed apples. With a newly renovated outdoor cider-garden, there’s room to socially distance while enjoying a drink. 

New & Reimagined Hotels

Memphis Canopy by Hilton pays homage to the soulful spirit of downtown while infusing a hip, modern feel. Chef Fabio Viviani showcases American cuisine with Spanish and Italian fare at the hotel’s restaurant, Curfew.

Nashville – New hotels dot Nashville’s skyline including the 262-room Virgin Hotel, 591-room Grand Hyatt, 297-room The Joseph Luxury Collection, and the 346-room W Hotel.

Knoxville – The new Graduate Knoxville is just steps Neyland Stadium with Rocky Top lore and bursting with Big Orange pride, including Saloon 16, a high-end watering hole opening in partnership with Peyton Manning. The new Cumberland House Knoxville, Tapestry Hotel by Hilton is ideal for families, leisure and business travelers alike. 

Sevierville – The new boutique Historic Central Hotel downtown features two-and-three bedroom suites, located in an old, renovated bank building.

Winter In-Person & Virtual Events Across Tennessee

Memphis – (Nov. 19-Dec. 12) Nearly 50 artists offer online booths for holiday shopping at the Pink Palace Virtual Crafts Fair.

Obion Co. – (Nov. 19-Dec. 18) Collect stamps with the Happy & Healthy Holiday Passport for a chance to win a Northwest Tennessee getaway. Visit stops like Discovery Park of America, Blue Bank Resort and Higher Ground Coffee Company.

Nashville – (Nov. 19-Dec. 23) Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Store and Hatch Show Print online this holiday season to find clothing, accessories, home décor and historic prints from one of America’s oldest letterpress print shops.

Union City – (Nov. 19-Dec. 30) Put on your cheeriest holiday pajamas and explore one million twinkling lights without ever leaving your car during Discovery Park of America’s Let It Go Light Show. The cost is $10 per car. Be sure to ask about the North Pole Milk, Cookie Kit and 3D glasses.

Nashville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Twinkling lights, Christmas trees, shimmering ornaments, holiday movies, selfie spots, letters to Santa, gingerbread decorating, carolers, carriage rides and more abound during Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas.

Pigeon Forge – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas features 5-million glistening lights, award-winning shows, culinary delights, seasonal shopping and holiday do-it-yourself kits to take home, including gingerbread houses.

Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 3) Immerse yourself in custom-built light displays synchronized with festive music, Santa’s Beach Party display and Santa’s Village during Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. Tickets start at $25.

Memphis – (Nov. 19-Jan 8) Christmas at Graceland kicks off the holiday season with a virtual holiday lighting, special Christmas tours, an overnight package at The Guest House at Graceland, Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and other fun activities.

Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Jan. 10) Glide across the rink with outdoor ice skating at Wilderness of the Smokies. Skates are available to rent at the rink. Guest admission is $10 for the entire stay and public admission is $17.99.

Gatlinburg – (Nov. 19-Jan. 31) Gatlinburg SkyLift Park transforms North America’s longest pedestrian bridge into a dazzling winter wonderland with a tunnel of 40,000 synchronized lights and dancing trees during “Lights Over Gatlinburg.”

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville – (Nov. 19-Feb. 15) Many of the region’s entertainment and tourist attractions transform for the holidays with light displays, unique shopping and award-winning shows during Smoky Mountain Winterfest.

Nashville – (Nov. 20-22) Nashville Ballet will open its 2020-21 performance season with a virtual production of Community. Community celebrates the spirit of the city with works by three artists whose careers blossomed at Nashville Ballet.

Clarksville – (Nov. 20-Dec. 18) Enjoy vintage and modern holiday classics at Roxy Regional Theatre in the heart of downtown. Admission is $5, refreshments are available in sealed packaging and the theatre limits seating for social distancing.

Chattanooga – (Nov. 20-Dec. 31) Holiday under the Peaks at Tennessee Aquarium features festive decorations, holiday music, a seasonally-themed scavenger hunt and a trip on The Polar Express in the aquarium’s IMAX 3D Theater.

Nashville – (Nov. 20-Jan. 10) Over a million lights adorn the gardens during Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights. Enjoy seasonal favorites like real reindeer, a Poinsettia tree, trains lit up for the holidays and a unique story of the Nutcracker exhibit. 

Gallatin – (Nov. 21) Bledsoe Creek State Park celebrates Native American Heritage Month with a lunch and learn. Bring a picnic and learn about Native Americans who lived and hunted in the area 11 a.m. at the Visitor’s Center back porch.

Columbia – (Nov. 21) A Very Maury Christmas features over 30 vendors and boutiques 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Memorial Building downtown. A $5 entry fee will be accepted at the door benefiting aMuse’um Children’s Museum.

Gatlinburg – (Nov. 23-Jan. 3) Twinkling lights, visits from Santa, special events, fire pits and a whimsical stroll through the Treetop Skywalk make for an Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta.

Clarksville – (Nov. 24-Jan.1) Stroll and be captivated by light displays with over two million lights and a popular light tunnel during the half-mile Cumberland Riverwalk during Christmas on the Cumberland open nightly, weather permitting.

Clarksville – (Nov. 26-Jan. 2) Stay in the safety of your car to experience the Clarksville Speedway’s Drive-Thru Christmas Lights. Load up the car and cruise the one-mile track to take in the glow and sounds of the season. The cost is $25 per car.

Livingston – (Nov. 27, Dec. 4 & 11) Christmas in the Country 5-8 p.m. on the historic downtown square includes local merchants, carriage rides, performances by local dance students, a live nativity scene and pictures with Santa.

Castalian Springs – (Nov. 28) Journey through Christmas through the Ages: A Victorian Holiday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Historic Wynnewood. Learn about Christmas traditions, tour the home and enjoy hot cider.

Collierville – (Nov. 28-Dec. 19) Take horse-drawn carriage rides around the Town Square, snap pictures along the Holiday Photo Stroll and experience a quarter of a million holiday lights during Christmas in Colliervilleevery Saturday.

Townsend – (Nov. 28, Dec. 4, 12 & 19) The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center’s Christmas in the Village features a pioneer celebration, living history interpreters and an Appalachian Village full of handcrafting demonstrations, lights and décor.

Franklin – (Nov. 28-Dec. 26) Holiday Magic on Main downtown features downtown merchants along Main Street offering special discounts and promotions, pop-up appearances by Dickens characters, period dancers, live music and holiday décor.

Cookeville – (Nov. 30-Dec. 24) Take a night drive to see Cookeville’s decorated homes during the Christmas Tour of Lights. A free map is available at Cookeville City Hall. Find and print it here. New this year with the map is a Christmas scavenger hunt.

Savannah –(Dec. 1-31) Downtown businesses deck out in starry lights during December for Christmas on Main. The Savannah Christmas Parade 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 is unique with a “reverse” parade with floats stationary and viewers drive through to view. 

Hornbeak – (Dec. 1-31) Soak in the season with more than 400,000 Christmas lights, enjoy s’mores by the fire, visit with Santa, listen to Christmas music and enjoy the enchanted Winter Wonderland at Blue Bank Resort. The resort also teams up with Discovery Park of America each year to offer a “getaway package” through the holidays.

Kingsport – (Dec. 3) Grab Christmas gifts & support small businesses while shopping safely during Jingle & Mingle 5-8 p.m. downtown.

Columbia – (Dec. 4-5) Tour homes festively dressed for the season while benefiting the Athenaeum Rectoryduring the Maury Christmas Historic Home Tour. For ticket information contact The Athenaeum at 931-797-3316.

Bell Buckle – (Dec. 4, 5, 12, 19) The Bell Buckle Night Market 4-8 p.m. Dec. 4 kicks off Bell Buckle’s Olde Fashioned Christmas with local artisans, a fire pit, outdoor games and a scavenger hunt. The fun continues each Saturday with sleigh rides.

Jonesborough – (Dec. 4-26) Gingerbread houses, replicas of historic buildings and more will be on display in store windows during Main Street Jonesborough’s new walkable holiday contest and display, Jonesborough’s Gingerbread Village

Kingsport – (Dec. 5) Kick off the holiday season at 6 p.m. with Kingsport’s Virtual Tree Lighting. Due to COVID-19, the annual Christmas parade has been canceled.

Columbia – (Dec. 5) Get ready for the Christmas in Columbia “Night of Light” Christmas tree lighting and Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade in the Historic Downtown Square. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m.

Columbia – (Dec. 5-6, 12-13) Enjoy a fun-filled day of holiday vendors, food trucks, pancakes with yummy toppings, Christmas cookies, crafts, letters to Santa and more during A Blue Barn Christmas Market and Winter Festival.

Johnson City – (Dec. 6) Scott Miller and special guests perform at a drive-in concert at 4 p.m. at The Mall at Johnson City. Tennessee Hills Distillery craft cocktails will be available for purchase. The suggested donation is $100 per vehicle.

Cookeville – (Dec. 6-Jan. 3) Christmas in the Park kicks off with a live-streamed tree-lighting at 6 p.m. at Dogwood Park. The Christmas Tree Lightshow synchronized to holiday music begins at the top of every hour every night 5-9 p.m. 

Winchester – (Dec. 11-12) Step into a Hallmark movie during Santa Claus is Coming to Town downtown with carriage rides, pancake breakfast, live music, special guests and all merchants will be open late for holiday shopping.

Knoxville – (Dec. 11-Jan. 3) Holidays on Ice moves to the Civic Coliseum for the season on the same ice where the Ice Bears play hockey. Enjoy skating on a 180-foot rink while listening to music. There may even be a “Peppermint Panda” sighting. 

Gallatin – (Dec. 12) Join Grammy Award-winning country star John Berry for his 24th annual Christmas Songs & Stories at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. The show will practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines for safety.

Shiloh – (Dec. 27) Shiloh National Military Park celebrates its 126th anniversary with a birthday party at 2 p.m. at the visitor’s center with cookies and a time of fellowship. Learn stories with a tour of the battlefield which covers 4,200 acres.

Columbia – (Dec. 31) The Mule Drop benefitting Center of Hope held on Historic Public Square will ring in the New Year. Rubik’s Groove will keep the party going until the Mule Drops. Fireworks and confetti cannons will ring in 2021.

Birchwood (Jan. 11) The 2021 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is canceled due to COVID-19, but online events start Jan. 11. The viewing area at the Hiwassee Refuge is still open to guests. Please follow all CDC recommendations.

Knoxville – (Jan. 30) Indulge in amazing treats from area chocolatiers, restaurants & bakeries 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. during Chocolatefest at World’s Fair Park. Tasting tickets are $25 and benefit Knoxville’s Ronald McDonald House.

Gallatin – (Jan. 24) Meet incredible vendors who make any wedding day a dream day, taste yummy samples of sweets and savories from area caterers and make planning a breeze at the Sumner County Bridal Show.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com/calendar.  

Cruise illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Aqua Expeditions

Aqua Expeditions, the global leader in luxury small ship expeditions, will begin welcoming back travelers aboard its ocean explorer yacht Aqua Blu. Local Indonesian residents will be able to set sail beginning August 2020, while international travelers can expect to depart from September 12, 2020 with enhanced health and safety protocols. These strict measures will be implemented across the company’s vessels in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

At the onset of the recent global pandemic, Aqua Expeditions took early, swift and decisive action to maintain strict antiviral hygiene standards on all three vessels in operation. As a result, the company experienced no cases of COVID-19 onboard any of its vessels.

“Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need reassurance of our ability to offer them the safest experience possible,” says Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO and founder of Aqua Expeditions. “It is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards.”

Aqua Expeditions river vessels and ocean explorer yacht accommodate a maximum of 30 to 40 guests, allowing for the tailor-made experience it is known for. Its small ship capacity provides ample personal space and constant safe physical distancing among passengers and crew.

All vessels comply with the health and safety standards of the International Safety Management (ISM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Out of an abundance of caution and as part of its uncompromising commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of the crew, staff and guests, Aqua Expeditions has adopted additional measures to address guests’ concerns about travel, including:

  • Conducting health screenings and pre-boarding medical evaluations for all crew and staff.
  • Introducing a pre-embarkation Health and Safety assessment to be completed by all guests before embarkation.
  • Eliminating crew changes during the entire duration of each itinerary, reducing the risk of potential outside exposure.
  • Conducting daily crew health checks to ensure all health concerns are actively addressed and monitored.
  • Intensifying disinfection standards by developing a combination of manual and contactless disinfection procedures.
  • Cleaning and sanitizing cabins three times a day, ensuring the highest level of hygiene standards.
  • Providing face masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer to all crew and guests as required in accordance with each destination’s regulations and guest preference.
  • Introducing a Health and Safety Officer aboard each ship whose responsibility is the wellbeing of each crew and guest, as well as the proper compliance and implementation of safety standards.

The dining rooms aboard each vessel already take into account physical distancing but have been reconfigured to further create a dining environment where guests can enjoy their experience without worrying about health risks. This includes greater flexibility and options for table seating and spacing, as well as two sittings for each meal in the dining room.

Aqua Expeditions has implemented a global food safety policy via an internal auditing system, following HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles for cold chain supply protocols, supervised by a qualified food safety officer. Production kitchens around the world are staffed by highly trained personnel who utilize international best practices in sanitation and quality control, as well as usage of products to secure food safety such as antimicrobial fruit and vegetable treatments.

Aqua Expeditions’ small group shore excursions are an integral part of the brand’s ethos. With no more than 10 guests per group, the excursions offer personalized, engaging experiences. The Aqua Expeditions team cleans and disinfects all excursion equipment, prior to and after use. On the Aqua Blu, which sails around East Indonesia, scuba and snorkel gear is distributed to guests to keep for their exclusive use throughout their voyage.

Lastly, each Aqua Expeditions ship is flagged in the country in which it operates, reassuring guests that they are always allowed to disembark in any port or anchorage location on an itinerary.

A recognized global leader in luxury small-ship expeditions, Aqua Expeditions explores the worldߣs most wildlife- and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. Venturing into unspoiled sanctuaries to witness the beauty of nature and wildlife, Aqua Expeditions sails to remote destinations with minimized human interaction, secluded from crowds. Expect tailored five-star itineraries, a highly exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalized service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and flexible, expert-guided adventure activities and excursions for all ages, with a maximum of 30-40 guests per ship. Aqua Expeditions currently operate river explorations on the Amazon (Peru), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam), and coastal yacht voyages to Komodo National Park, Ambon and the Spice Islands, as well as Raja Ampat (East Indonesia). Its fourth vessel, the Aqua Nera, makes its maiden voyage this fall in the Peruvian Amazon.

Follow Aqua Expeditions: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Pop Smoke Virtual Tour

Rolling through in style, you can now experience a fully interactive tour of New York and London, while virtually exploring the places that meant most to Pop Smoke. First, fans can choose their Pop song of choice to bump in their virtual Rolls Royce during the tour. By tapping different locations, fans will unlock exclusive, never-been-seen-before footage. Saving the best for last, the tour ends at the new mural of Pop Smoke in Canarsie, Brooklyn. There, fans can leave a message and scroll through a gallery of photos taken at the mural over the past couple of weeks.

Take the Virtual Tour HERE.

Listen to Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon Deluxe HERE.

360 Magazine, Abha Alsoudah

Saudi Summer

The Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has unveiled a new campaign, called Saudi Summer, to encourage residents to explore the Kingdom this year, in lieu of a holiday abroad, following the lifting of lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19.

The campaign launch follows extensive research* by STA, revealing that 57 percent of Saudi residents are concerned about travelling on holiday by plane, but 85 percent are still planning to take a break of around ten days this year. 78 percent expressed curiosity in exploring their country.

“Saudi Summer comes as a wonderful opportunity to discover multiple tourist destinations in KSA, alongside its historical, natural and cultural treasures. The campaign also contributes to enhancing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism to revive the tourism sector, which was most affected by the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis,” said His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the STA.

Starting from 25 June and running until 30 September 2020, the Saudi Summer campaign is promoting ten locations across the nation. The ten areas are: Jeddah and KAEC; Abha; Tabuk; Khobar, Dammam and Ahsa; Al Baha; Al Taif; Yanbu and Umluj; and Riyadh.

Together, these locations offer fertile valleys, quiet beaches, dense forests, cool climates, mountain peaks, buzzing cities, historic villages and more. Travelers are encouraged to visit multiple destinations to take advantage of the different packages and activities available, from sea trips and diving, to museum visits and hiking.

“The tourism sector resumes its activities with a renewed spirit and great hopes for moving forward at an accelerated pace, to achieve our aspirations in harmony with Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to pursue economic diversification, attract investments, increase revenues and create job opportunities for citizens,” said H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb.

Saudi Summer is led by the STA in close collaboration with the private sector. The STA’s main role is to position the Kingdom as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, by developing its tourism product and promoting it on a global scale.

Najd, Saudi Arabia
Rojal Village, Saudi Arabia

Sustainable Vacation Planning: Tips and Tricks

Americans aren’t great at planning vacations. So much so that a large tourism industry group, the U.S. Travel Association, is encouraging workers to begin planning their getaways on Jan. 28, dubbed National Plan for Vacation Day

But planning a sustainable vacation – one with a small environmental footprint that is respectful of a destination’s people and culture – is an even taller task, said Jonathon Day, an associate professor in The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.

Jonathon Day, chair of the Travel Care Code initiative and author of the book, “An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel,” provided these tips for making vacations more socially and environmentally friendly:

Shop local: “Visit local businesses and enjoy authentic experiences from your destination. Visiting farm-to-table restaurants, local arts-and-crafts stores and farmers markets all make a bigger contribution to the communities you visit.”

Be waste wise: “Bring your best habits from home. Plan to recycle and minimize waste, particularly plastic waste when you travel.”

Limit your carbon footprint: “Be a fuel-efficient traveler or purchase carbon offsets for those flights you are taking.”

6 Trips to Broaden Your Kids’ Minds This Summer

Now that school’s out for summer, enroll the whole family in a crash course on nature and wildlife with Natural Habitat Adventures

Summer vacation may mean “no more pencils and no more books,” but it can also be a great opportunity for the whole family to learn something new together. Natural Habitat Adventures, the world leader in eco-friendly wildlife-focused expeditions around the globe, offers nature-centric trips designed to get explorers of all ages trading their tablets and phones for GoPros and binoculars. From sailing “Darwin’s Laboratory” in the Galapagos on a private ship to taking moonlit treks through the jungles of Costa Rica, Nat Hab’s family adventure trips are designed around conservation, curiosity and quality time – all disguised as a vacation.

Expand your family’s horizons with these summer experiences:

1. Go exploring in “Darwin’s Laboratory”

Come face-to-face with an outstanding array of wildlife, including sea lions, marine iguanas and giant tortoises on Nat Hab’s 10-day Family Galapagos Adventure. Made famous by evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, the Galapagos archipelago is the very best place for young explorers to learn about evolution, natural selection and how animals adapt to micro-environments. Sail aboard the National Geographic Islander, a family-friendly ship with a specialty research- and adventure-focused kids’ program on board. Record wildlife sightings in your field notebook, listen for underwater life via the ship’s hydrophone and stretch out in special family cabins designed to sleep up to three. Off-ship, don a wetsuit for snorkeling, paddleboarding and Zodiac adventures with your naturalist Expedition Leader, where you can come mask-to-nose with penguins, turtles and seals.
Priced from $7,650
Dates: July 20 & 27, 2019; July 4, 8, 18, 23, 2020; Aug 1 & 6, 2020

2. Seek out lions after sunset in the Maasai Mara

Make conservation the centre of the conversation on the Family Kenya Adventure, an 8-day, custom-crafted itinerary featuring the Maasai Mara’s charismatic creatures whose futures may be at risk. Learn about poaching and pachyderm rescue during a visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and make friends in high places at the Giraffe Center before heading along the Great Rift Valley into open grasslands. Stretch out in an unfenced luxury tented camp set in the middle of a Maasai Mara private conservancy, and go for guided walks under a sprawling blue sky while keeping your eyes peeled for zebra, hippo and elephant. Later, as evening falls, head out on a sunset game drive in search of lions and other predators to discover life on the plains after dark.
Priced from $7,995
Trip arranged upon request

3. Journey to Peru’s lost Incan Empire

Immerse your family in the emerald-colored jungles and incredible ancient ruins of the Peruvian Andes on a 7-day Custom Family Machu Picchu Adventure. Witness amazing feats of centuries-old civil and hydraulic engineering and learn about Incan astronomy and architecture while exploring the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Meet with local Quechua people in Pisac and learn about advocacy conservation projects from the students of Tikapata School. Stay in private stone casitas along the Urubamba River, and experience 15th-century life in Machu Picchu with tales from your private Peruvian guide. Later, compare ancient civilizations with natural Amazonian marvels in the world’s largest tropical forest basin, where kids will take riverboat tours in search of pink river dolphins, or go ashore to scout for the scarlet and green-winged macaws, howler monkeys and leaf-cutter ants that call the Amazon home.
Priced from $4,495
Trip arranged upon request

4. Safari closer to home in Yellowstone National Park

Embark on an unforgettable wildlife adventure without leaving the continent on Nat Hab’s 7-day Hidden Yellowstone Wildlife Safari. Learn how this North American ecosystem works, understanding the importance of ecological balance between predators and prey, and follow naturalist Expedition Leaders into lesser-known areas of the park where bison, bighorn sheep, bears and wolves live largely undisturbed by tourist crowds. See the secret lives of Lamar Valley wolves using a high-powered spotting scope and talk fire ecology—how nature recovers from the ravages of wildfires—with your guide. In an extraordinary natural setting selected for conservation by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1872, guests can engage in enlightening conversations about how hunting along Yellowstone’s perimeter affects the ecosystem inside the park, and why competing political interests threaten the park’s apex predators even to this day.
Priced from $5,295
Dates: August 27 & 29, 2019

5. Scout for sloths on horseback

With its neon-billed toucans, jungle-fringed rivers, mist-cloaked cloud forests and towering volcanoes, Costa Rica is like something out of a child’s imagination. Encounter geothermal phenomena and extraordinary tropical wildlife in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth on this Custom Family Costa Rica Adventure. Join scientists and conservationists at ecological research centers for some interactive exploration of the country’s rain forest ecosystem and discover how cacao beans are transformed into tasty treats with chocolate-making lessons. Soar above the forest canopy on a zip line, search for sloths while on horseback, brave a nighttime bat walk at the 850-acre Tirimbina Rainforest Center and take in the views at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, adjacent to the country’s most famous volcano.
Priced from $5,095
Trip arranged upon request

6. Dog sled across the Arctic tundra

No time for a summer excursion? Surprise the kids with a mid-term getaway to the planet’s “living laboratory” when it comes to climate change in the North. The Arctic tundra around Churchill, Manitoba is one of the nature’s last great frontiers—for now. Learn about its delicate ecosystem and the impact of a warming world on Nat Hab’s 6-day Churchill Arctic Family Adventure, where naturalist Expedition Leaders lead a family-focused adventure that’s all about pairing environmental awe with conservation awareness. Helicopter over frozen Hudson Bay in search of polar bears, race through the boreal forest on an authentic sled dog ride, and climb aboard Nat Hab’s special Polar Rover, a monster-sized truck specially designed for up-close wildlife observation—look for caribou and Arctic fox. In evenings, take in the stunning night sky—and if you’re lucky, the northern lights.
Priced from $5,995
Dates: Nov 16 & 18, 2019

For more information about Natural Habitat Adventures, visit www.nathab.com.

About Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat Adventures has been a leader in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism since 1985. From polar bear tours in Churchill to small-group Galapagos cruises, from Alaska grizzly bear adventures to African safaris, our journeys, led by professional naturalist guides, reveal the planet’s most extraordinary nature destinations. As the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company—and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund—we offer eco-conscious expeditions from Antarctica to Zambia with a multitude of adventures in between. For more information, visit nathab.com.

10 Ways to Keep the Family Physically and Mentally Active This Summer

With summer break upon us, many parents will be scrambling for ideas of how to keep their families active over the next couple of months. Staying active, both physically and mentally, can help families avoid the dreaded summer brain drain, where kids tend to lose some of what they learned during the school year, and it can help keep the body healthier. Plus, you can make some great family memories and everyone can learn something. There are numerous ways for the whole family to keep active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area.

“Summer is a great time to engage your family in something new,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “By seeing and experiencing different things over the break, their mind and body will stay active and challenged. The Pigeon Forge area offers plenty of opportunities for the family to make memories together.”

Here are 10 ways to keep the family physically and mentally active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area:

  1. Explore Art. Check out the illusion artwork at WonderWorks, some of which have hidden objects. You can also play brain games by answering riddles along the way.
  2. Get climbing. WonderWorks offers a 50-foot tall indoor ropes course, where you can be challenged and have fun. The four stories of ropes over over 50 different obstacles and activities.
  3. Play tag. There’s nothing like a family-friendly game of laser tag to create fun memories. WonderWorks offers offers an interactive laser tag option that is a great experience for the whole family.
  4. Be awed. Don’t miss The Wonders of Magic show at WonderWorks, starring Terry Evanswood. Considered the best magic show in the state, it won’t disappoint!
  5. Start digging. Visit the interactive sandbox at WonderWorks, where every hand motion and sand movement leads to more to explore.
  6. Take a hike. The wonders of nature and benefits of spending time out in it cannot be overlooked. Pick a trail that is appropriate for all ages of those in your family, and head out for a nice hike.
  7. Learn something new. Visit a nature center, where you can take part in guided activities, learning about things in the environment.
  8. Family bike ride. Head out on one of the area’s paved bike trails, such as Riverwalk Greenway, and explore by bike. Those who are not local can rent bikes for the journey.
  9. Visit goats. Give the kids a hands-on experience with animals. Families love stopping by to see and feed the animals at Goats on the Roof.
  10. Go downriver. A fun family experience for everyone, head out for a couple of hours of family tubing or rafting. This experience provides an exhilarating experience for all.

“We are blessed to live in an area that offers many family friendly activity opportunities,” added Shaffer. “Combining WonderWorks with some outdoor activities will help keep your loved ones physically and mentally strong and growing over the summer break.”

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, log onto their site: http://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/.

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. http://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Austin Adventures: Family Appreciation Month

Through hard work and dedication to the details, Austin Adventures has grown to be the #1 Family Adventure company in the country. For over 35 years they have been taking families to the national parks of the West as well as special places around the globe. As a two-generation, owned and operated active travel company, family travel is in their DNA.

For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.

“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, company president and founder. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”

On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.

The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel.”

During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.

As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).

“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.

“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”

The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.

To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: http://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.

Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.

Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.

Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.

Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.

Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.

Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.

Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.

South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.

About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 35 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multi-sport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

A Perfect Valentine’s Getaway with San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize

With a temperate year round climate, farm fresh cuisine and unique adventure experiences, Belize is a perfect three day weekend getaway to escape the winter months. Daily, affordable nonstop flights are offered countrywide from Minneapolis, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and other major travel hubs making a visit to Belize easier than ever.

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel, a premier full-service Belize resort, located in the Cayo district, is within a scenic 90-minute drive or 30-minute flight from Belize City. The hotel boasts first-class amenities and accommodations for those seeking to relax and enjoy a beautiful tropical resort, yet offers nearby adventures for those wanting to explore inland Belize. In addition to stunning jungle views, San Ignacio Resort Hotel offers impeccable service, extraordinary dining options at its Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant, a tennis court and is in close proximity to San Ignacio Town.

Plan your Three Perfect Days in Belize Package starting at $1,446 per person, excluding airfare.

  • Roundtrip transfers from and to Belize international airport
  • Accommodation in the luxurious Honeymoon Suite – boasting exquisite views of untouched rainforest
  • Assigned Personal Butler upon check in
  • Daily Breakfast
  • 2 dinners at the Running W Steakhouse at a reserved Balcony table
  • 1 Private dinner in balcony of your room
  • One 60-minute Luxury in-room wellness treatment per person
  • 1 Full day tour at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites
  • 1 full day tour at Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve with an exclusive picnic day trip with hiking trails and optional swimming in private cascades and natural pools.

To book your trip visit www.sanignaciobelize.com.