Choosing where to go for your next vacation can be a tricky—though rewarding—process. Beach or mountain? Luxe or affordable? But as last week’s Why We Travel post detailed, a slew of the world’s top destinations outlaw homosexuality, leaving LGBT travelers with a more basic question of where they can (and should) and cannot (and should not) venture.
How to choose? Here are a few pointers:
Safety first: Upwards of 70 countries worldwide criminalize homosexuality. And public perception of gay individuals can be abysmal even in places without draconian sodomy laws on the books. Russia, for example, has seen a spike in hate crimes recently despite its relatively mild anti-gay laws. The takeaway from the first Why We Travel poston Sochi’s Olympics applies anywhere physical violence is a real possibility: LGBT travelers, especially same-sex couples, should exercise discretion.
Who would you rather get your in-flight safety instructions from: bikini-clad supermodels or Alf? While Delta’s recent 1980’s-themed video highlighted the furry sitcom star, Air New Zealand turned to Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit models for tips on how to stay safe in the air. Filmed on the Cook Islands (which Air New Zealand has been flying to for 40 years), the “Safety in Paradise” video celebrates the Swimsuit Issue’s 50th anniversary. Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis, Jessica Gomes, and Ariel Meredith star—and three-time cover model Christie Brinkley makes a cameo from Los Angeles. To celebrate the launch, Air New Zealand is giving online viewers the chance to win a trip for two to the Cook Islands. To enter, visit this website.
Hotels across the country have been hacked, reports CNN. Fourteen locations owned by Marriott, InterContinental Hotel Group, Sheraton, and Westin franchises, are confirmed victims of a nationwide data breach.
Guests who used their credit and debit cards on site between March 20 and December 16, 2013, may have had their personal financial details compromised.
Banking sources were initially perplexed by the report, as the hotels range from a Radisson in Florida to a Sheraton in Pennsylvania. Later in the day, the common denominator revealed itself as White Lodging Property Management.
Delta is taking the hip in-flight safety video meme to a new level with a new 80s-themed instructional, debuting on planes on January 30. Here, five reasons to watch (and love)—even if you’re not a former Aqua Net user.
The girls who have to switch seats because their teased side-ponies are blocking the aisle.
The John McEnroe lookalike who rocks the worm down the aisle.
The numbers are in, and 2013 was one of the safest years on record to board a passenger plane. According to Dutch research group Aviation Safety Network, the year's 29 airline “accidents” led to 265 deaths, well below 2012's 475 casualties and nowhere near the ten-year high of 1,074 fatalities in 2005.
Data shows a sharp decline in both casualties and incidents since the late 1990's, while the 1960's and 70's repeatedly saw over 80 accidents and upwards of 2,000 fatalities a year. So even though this month's Southwest debacle may keep some Americans afraid of flying, the reality is that there hasn't been a safer time to take to the skies since the 1940's. See the full charts here.
Peter Schlesinger is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Even as excitement grows for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, news over the games has been dominated by controversy. Just last week the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert to Russia. Much of the fuss over the past few months—and one of the six “risks” outlined by the travel alert—pertains to Article 6.21, a country-wide anti-gay law in place since June.
Bangkok is bracing for a massive round of protests on Monday, and the government has deployed nearly 15,000 police officers to maintain order.
As we explained last month, anti-government activists have been calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's resignation since November, alleging that her brother-in-exile, and ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra is leading the country from afar.
Monday's protesters will target government buildings and several major intersections, complicating local transit and forcing schools to close.
This week, the Center for Disease Control reissued its Travel Watch to St. Martin, urging US citizens to take precautions against mosquitos in the Caribbean, responding to a viral disease currently spreading in several islands.
As of January 2nd, 122 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in St. Martin (98 cases), St. Maarten (1), Martinique (13), Guadeloupe (3), and St. Bart's (7). According to the CDC, chikungunya's symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, and muscle and joint pains. Though rarely fatal, infected individuals can suffer from joint pain for months after the initial sickness.
Sharks in Western Australia will now be making their way from the sea to your social news feed. Over 300 great whites, whaler sharks, and tiger sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters by government researchers, says NPR, which monitor exactly where the animals are swimming.
Once any of the 338 sharks come within a half-mile of the beach, its tag automatically sends out a tweet from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (@SLSWA) Twitter account. Included in the alert is the shark’s size, breed, and approximate location—really giving away any attack plans for poor Jaws. While this is a truly innovative way to protect the area’s surfers and sunbathers, not every shark out there is tagged. Just because you don’t see it on Twitter, doesn’t mean a great white isn’t lurking close to shore. Our advice? Look both ways (and below) before diving in.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues a Travel Warning when it identifies a chronic and sustained threat to U.S. citizens in a given country. Sometimes it warns against all travel there; sometimes it simply informs people of the risk. Travel Alerts usually address problems of finite duration, such as elections, public demonstrations, or hurricanes. The DOS also issues Security Messages and Emergency Messages, depending on the situation. To get updates for a particular trip, sign up for the DOS’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov.
Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at email@example.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.