Your retirement home could be a cruise ship

Cruising is one of the more convenient ways to travel. Yes, you're stuck on a boat between shore visits, but most modern vessels are a cross between a theme park and a Las Vegas resort. You can hardly compare them to a cramped car, an airplane cabin or even a fully stocked recreational vehicle.


Too much stress? Try yoga with an alpaca

Animals can be great stress relievers. The practice of using domesticated creatures to comfort people has gained mainstream acceptance in recent years. You'll see one example of this in airports, where volunteer programs and airline initiatives have brought therapy dogs to America’s most hectic hubs to interact with passengers.

The relationship between contact with animals and exercise for stress reduction has also been embraced. Animal yoga, for example, has become a popular trend. It might be tempting to file yoga class with free ranging pets or farm animals under “weird yoga fads” and forget about it. But the trend keeps growing and expanding to include new species of “yoga helpers.” Even some unexpected animals, such as goats and alpacas, are getting in on the action.


Why freezing Lapland is a tourism hot spot

A few curious travelers might decide on a vacation near, or even above, the Arctic Circle. In one Arctic region, though, more and more tourists are not only choosing to visit, they're opting to come during the coldest months of the year. Finnish Lapland, a region in the northernmost portion of Finland, has recently seen a significant uptick in the number of tourism arrivals.

Many of these travelers chose to visit during the winter. What is there to do in this chilly land when the mercury dips well below freezing (and often below 0 degrees Fahrenheit)?


Why airports are embracing renewable energy

The largest airports in the world have the land areas and populations of small cities. They operate around the clock and move tens of millions of passengers each year. They are constantly looking for ways to source the power needed to keep their energy-hungry operations on track.

For an increasing number of hubs, this means at least partially switching to renewable energy.


How the pineapple became a worldwide symbol of hospitality

Now available in every grocery store in every state in both fresh and canned varieties, pineapples were so sought-after in colonial times that people would actually rent them for a day to use as a party decoration.

Yes, at one point in history, the pineapple was literally too expensive to eat. Even today, fake pineapples are seen in centerpieces, while images and carvings of the fruit often appear in historic buildings.

Where did the main ingredient in upside-down cake get its prestige?


How sustainable will the Winter Olympics be?

Over the past decade, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has promoted environmental friendliness and sustainability. The Olympics host countries have made renewable energy, carbon offsets and conservation aspects of their hosting plan. PyeongChang, South Korea, site of the 2018 Winter Games, is continuing that trend.


This Plant Can Live for More than 1,000 Years

The southern African nation of Namibia is dominated by the Namib Desert. One of most inhospitable sections in this remote land — Mongolia is the only country on Earth less populated than Namibia — is not as barren as it looks, though. The so-called Skeleton Coast, almost completely uninhabited, is actually rich in wildlife. Some of the plants here, such as the strange Welwitschia mirabilis, are unlike anything else on Earth.


Cruise Ship Goes Dark to Avoid Pirates

The passengers who were on Princess Cruises' Sea Princess will probably always remember the start of their three-and-a-half month round-the-world cruise, but not for the reasons you might expect. The early days of the trip weren't notable for the gourmet meals, five-star staterooms or sophisticated deck parties, but because the ship had to go dark for 10 straight nights out of fear of pirate attacks.


The incredible shrinking economy seat (and other ways flying has changed)

Air travel has changed a lot over the past decade. A la carte pricing and smaller economy class seats have become the norm in America. Airlines adopted these and other cost-saving practices during an industry-wide downturn that took hold a decade ago. Recently, though, some companies have begun to roll back a few of those measures. U.S. legacy carriers once again have even started serving drinks and snacks on domestic flights.

Luxury train sets sail in Japan

If you want to ride on Japan's Shiki-Shima Express, you are most likely out of luck. A trip on this brand new ultra-luxury train — its full name is Train Suite Shiki-Shima — is not cheap. Fares start at $2,200 and go north of $10,000. These prices are for two- to four-day journeys around eastern Japan. Those who can afford a ticket will still have to wait because the train is completely sold out until the middle of 2018. Tickets are only available by application.


Is Cambodia Poised to Become the Next Thailand?

Cambodia saw five million international tourists in 2016.

Still modest compared to neighboring Thailand’s 30 million international arrivals last year, the number is nonetheless impressive for a still-developing tourism industry.

Cambodia’s tourism growth has been steady. Both the number of international arrivals and overall tourism receipts have moved consistently upward over the past two decades. Yet, more international visitors fly into what is, in theory, the country’s secondary airport, Siem Reap, than fly into the capital, Phnom Penh. Cambodia has one main attraction, Angkor Wat, but it is now poised to capitalize on its growth by promoting places beyond the temple complex’s ancient walls.


10 of the world's most colorful cities

Travelers may say they visit a place because of its attractions, but sometimes the reason is based on something much simpler and much less tangible. Sometimes, visitors just like the looks of a place. Towns with bright buildings and structures with creative paint schemes are popular throughout the world. Tourists flock to photograph brightly painted streetscapes in Morocco (pictured), India, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and even the Arctic. If that's you, if you're drawn to places with colorful buildings, these 10 cities are calling.


Thailand Rebrands For Repeat Visitors

Thailand does not seem like a country that needs to change when it comes to tourism. It is outpacing its neighbors in terms of revenue and number of international arrivals. Still, the Southeast Asian nation used a recent high-profile event to promote an unexpected series of attractions and experiences. This “rebrand” even involves changes to the kind of cultural and nature attractions that people often associate with Thailand. Why alter something that is working well?


Universal Lounge Access Only the Start of Bangkok Airways Perks

Billing itself as “Asia’s boutique airline,” Bangkok Airways features organic in-flight meals and lounges that welcome all its passengers (even those in economy class). These traits set the Thai carrier apart from the competition. However, its most attractive attribute may be its routes to underserved destinations within Thailand.


Why Bangkok is the Perfect Introduction to Asia

For most tourists, Bangkok is a city of temples, markets, malls and, of course, traffic. It is, first and foremost, THE hub for mainland Southeast Asia. As such, it draws tourists and business travelers from throughout Asia Pacific. Its status as an international city is more noticeable today than it was even a few years ago. With venues and whole neighborhoods catering to visitors and expats from certain countries, Bangkok has become a great place to experience East and South Asia’s different cultures.


Egypt Looks to Cruising for Tourism Recovery

By almost every measure, Egypt’s tourism industry is ailing. The number of arrivals was cut nearly in half between 2015 and 2016. Recent terrorist attacks on the country’s Coptic churches, some of which are popular sites among both religious and secular tourists, served as a reminder that danger and instability continue to plague the once-popular country, as they have since 2011. In the midst of this lengthy slump, at least one company is not just getting nostalgic about past tourism glory days. They are actively trying to recreate this heyday.

Can Coffee Bring a New Tourism Buzz to East Africa?

Aside from beach destinations like the Gambia and Mauritius, tourists often come for safari or adventure travel experiences. But they are coming: The number of international arrivals on the continent has doubled since 2000. Now, some East African countries are starting to promote their region’s most notable crop to tourists.

The oldest hotels where you can still get a room

Why are historic hotels attractive? Are guests drawn to the timeless surroundings or do they simply want to indulge their imaginations, daydreaming about living in a more romantic era? Whatever the reason, the world's best historic hotels are still in high demand, and the best of them have similar traits: a certain mood, an attractive setting, a sense of romance and a colorful past. They also provide plenty of inspiration for your imagination. Here are some amazing old hotels that have only gotten better with age...

Full article on MNN

Women in Science

Modern-day scientists don't spend much time in the spotlight. After hearing that most Americans could not name even one living scientist, Auburn biologist David Steen started the hashtag #actuallivingscientist. While this effort will not lead to movie-star-like fame, it could help put a human face on science and bring a bit more attention to the kind of research that's being done today...

Full Article on MNN

Old Train through a New Country: A Ride on the Reunification Express

Ha Noi is a city at peace with its yesterdays. Museums featuring everything from the well known (Vietnam’s wars with France, America, and itself) to the obscure (folk tales featuring the likes of kleptomaniac turtles and suicidal royals), dot the city. Except for Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum, these exhibit halls are mostly aimed at foreign tourists.


Vietnam's fire-breathing dragon bridge

Sitting on the central coastline of Vietnam - an hour's flight from both the political capital of Ha Noi and the overcrowded economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon) - Da Nang is a metropolis on the rise. Thanks to its relatively newfound economic prowess, some people have started referring to this port city as one of Asia's economic dragons.

As you will see shortly, this nickname is certainly not lost on Da Nang's urban planners. The very definition of an Asian boomtown, Da Nang has changed from a backwater harbor to a metropolis featuring high-rise hotels, expensive real estate, palatial beachside resorts, a beautifully designed airport, and one of the world's most unique bridges....