Ryanair Teams Up with LaudaMotion to Provide Bargain Airfares

Irish air carrier Ryanair announced this week that it is teaming up with the new Austrian airline LaudaMotion to offer low-cost airfares to travelers flying within Europe. LaudaMotion is an upstart budget airline founded by former Formula One driver Niki Lauda.
The new airline will be based out of Vienna and will serve much of Europe. Ryanair will initially offer a 24.9% stake in the LaudaMotion. Upon approval by the European Union regulatory officials, this stake could rise to as much as 75% of the company.

This move is meant to increase competition in the market space currently dominated by European and international airline giant Lufthansa. LaudaMotion will offer flights from originating points in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and will travel to popular short-haul vacation destinations. Germany flights will begin this week, with flights from Switzerland launching in April, and Austria beginning in June. Tickets are on sale already with a starting price point of 59 euros (approximately $74).

To promote growth, Ryanair has agreed to lease six of its Boeing 737s to LaudaMotion and an additional 30 more aircraft within the next three years. Ryanair has also committed to providing LaudaMotion with 50 million euros (approximately $61 million) in operational funding. Aviation experts predict that LaudaMotion will grow quickly now that it has access to Ryanair’s established financial resources and aircraft. The big winners in this partnership will be European travelers who will now be provided with greater travel options and lower fares.

Singapore Ranked World’s Most Pricey City!

According to a survey that took into account a multitude of factors, such as the cost of bread, gas and wine, Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world. Also, due to the tumbling U.S. dollar, the cities of Los Angeles and New York did not rank as highly as they did last year. Finishing in the 14th and 13th spots respectively, these American hotspots were far from the top.

Although some other Asian cities did make the most expensive list, many European cities also cracked the top 10. With Zurich and Paris in a dead heat for the second spot, Oslo, Copenhagen and Geneva also popped up. Although Tokyo has been making these kinds of lists for a very long time now—and even headlining most of them—the Japanese city actually finished in the eleventh spot this year. Directly above Tokyo was the Australian city of Sydney, which shot up a whopping four positions since last year.

As far as the Middle East goes, Tel Aviv was the only city to crack the list. But with geopolitics swirling and churning up quite a storm lately, it seems as if anything could happen with the economies of all cities making this list in 2018. Regardless, it should be interesting to see if Singapore manages to snag the top spot again in 2019!

New In-Flight Menu Promises To Help Passengers Overcome Jet Lag

Australia’s Qantas Airways is getting ready to test a new in-flight menu designed to help travelers naturally overcome jet lag. These healthy food options, which were designed by Australian nutritionists, will be served for the first time on March 24th to people taking Qantas’s non-stop flight from Perth to London.

Researchers at the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney developed all of these menu items with the goal of promoting a natural circadian rhythm and preventing dehydration. They also hope these innovative choices will improve passengers’ immunity while they’re up in the air.

Qantas has released three of the main courses that will be made available on this special flight. The first is seared sea bass drenched in a lemon garlic sauce with sides of broccoli and an almond salad. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, perhaps you’d prefer a beef salad with a lemony sauce, corn, and zucchini. Lastly, one breakfast option will be eggs served on a bed of quinoa with plenty of green kale and pistachios.

To help with hydration, doctors included fruits like strawberries and veggies like cucumbers in many of their dishes. For a snack, researchers encourage guests to dig into a raw Hawaiian poke bowl.

As for drinks, doctors have come up with their own unique herbal tea blend to promote relaxation. In-flight attendants will also offer guests a warm chocolate milk concoction to help them fall asleep and a probiotic-dense kombucha to help them wake up.

On this first test flight, doctors will simply collect data from guest surveys to gauge the success of their menu. In the near future, researchers hope to get more objective measures of their menu’s success by tracking passengers with interactive apps.

TripAdvisor Announces Top Specialty Tours Of 2017

Travel company TripAdvisor just revealed the top ten specialty tours of 2017. While the most popular tours of last year were focused on bringing guests to iconic monuments, TripAdvisor also saw a huge growth in new industries like culinary tours.

The top spot for 2017’s list of TripAdvisor sponsored tours went to a walking tour of Rome and the Vatican. People who book this one-day tour get to skip lines into major monuments including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and the Vatican Museums. This walking tour costs about $140 per person.

Second place went to TripAdvisor’s exclusive cruise down the Chicago River. This particular river cruise takes guests by some of the Windy City’s most recognizable buildings like the John Hancock tower and the Aon Center. This tour lasts about 75 minutes and costs only $40 per person.

La Città Eterna comes in yet again at the number three on this list. The major differences with this tour and the first is that it includes a walk through the Roman Forum and lasts only half a day. This special tour also costs $140 per person.

Amazingly, Rome won the fourth spot on this list as well. This tour is significantly cheaper at only $33 per person, but guests get no privileged access to attractions. Instead, guests get to ride in a big tour bus for either one or two days to some of the hottest sites around Rome.

Rounding out the top five is a special tour of the massive Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain. Guests on this $45 tour will get to cut to the front of the line and experience this masterpiece by artist Antoni Gaudí in relative peace.

From number six to number ten, here are the remaining tours on TripAdvisor’s list: priority access to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, London’s Harry Potter experience at Warner Bros. Studio, a tour of NYC’s Empire State Building, a half-day tour of islands on the Venetian lagoon, and a one day tour of Tuscany. All of these tours on this list are still available on TripAdvisor’s website.

New Tour Of China And Vietnam Uses The Local Rails

The Thailand-based tourism group Backyard Travel just released a new tour package tailored to help foreigners experience the best of China and Vietnam like locals. To help guests get a more authentic experience of these Asian nations, everyone who books this tour will ride exclusively on public trains.

In total, this tour package lasts 12 days and 11 nights and costs a little less than $3,000 per person. The tour starts in China’s capital Beijing where guests get to visit historic sites the Forbidden City and, of course, the Great Wall.

The second stop on this tour is the central city of Luoyang in China’s Henan Province. A former capital in ancient times, Luoyang is full of impressive temples and is well known for the Buddhist statues in the Longmen Grottoes.

Once tourists have had their fill of Ancient Chinese history they’ll get to experience some of the Middle Kingdom’s natural wonders in the popular tourist city Guilin. This southern city is one of the most visited destinations in all of Asia due to its impressive limestone mountains and beautiful views of the Lijiang River.

After two days basking in Guilin’s wonders, it’s finally time to cross China’s southern border. The first stop on the Vietnam leg of the tour is at Ban Gioc – Detian Falls. Guests will then board a ship and take a voyage through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hạ Long Bay. Lastly, travelers will get to learn more about Vietnam’s fascinating culture and history in the capital city of Hanoi.

Executives at Backyard Travel say the unique feature about this new planned trip is that travelers will get to ride the same trains as Chinese and Vietnamese citizens. While everything on the tour is carefully planned out, visitors will still experience the thrill of traveling with locals and snapping pictures of the remarkable Asian countryside from their windows.

11.4 Million Foreigners Visited Morocco In 2017

Last year was a stellar year for Morocco’s tourism industry. Newly released statistics from Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism reveal the North African nation welcomed an impressive 11.4 million international visitors in 2017.

This is the first time Morocco has posted a number higher than 11 million tourists in its long history. By comparison, 2016’s tourist numbers were 10 percent lower than the 2017 report.

In terms of revenue, the country brought in 69.7 billion Moroccan dirhams from tourism 2017. This is a significant jump from 64.2 billion dirhams in 2016. For point of reference, one dirham is worth 0.11USD.

Morocco’s tourism mecca remains Marrakesh near the Atlas Mountains. Hot sites for visitors in Marrakesh include the Koutoubia Mosque, Jardin Majorelle, and the Souks.

The cities of Fez and Tangiers also posted solid tourism numbers for 2017. One new city that has been attracting a great deal of attention recently, however, is the relatively quiet Saharan town of Ouarzazate.

Travel experts believe Morocco was able to break the 11 million mark last year thanks to increased interest from developing economies like Brazil and China. Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism also showed how people in nations like Germany and France continue to holiday in Morocco in high numbers.

Another reason for this increased tourism traffic may be due to the opening of new affordable flights into Morocco from major European countries. Royal Air Maroc is the nation’s top airline.

Besides agriculture, tourism is the most important industry in Morocco. The 2017 estimate for Morocco’s GDP stands at $300.1 billion and its main exports include textiles, fertilizers, and fruits.

Five Great Countries To Visit In 2018

You can travel for years and still miss some of the incredible sights that the planet continues to change in one way or another. It’s hard to pick a city that has everything in terms of good weather, interesting attractions, quick travel time. So picking countries to visit is a process that involves research, conversations, and enough leisure time to enjoy what those countries offer.

That being said, here are five countries that won’t disappoint you in 2018.

1. Chile. Chile is in South America but the Andes Mountains keep it hidden from the rest of the continent. The Pacific Ocean is the country’s western border. And the city of Santiago lives up to its reputation as the “land of the poets.” The works of Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda are still alive and well in Chile.

2. South Korea. A visit to Seoul is a visit to modern-day Asia. The new Seoul-lo 7017 is a high-line park that has libraries, bars, cafes, and some of the finest Kimchi in the country.

3. Portugal. Portugal used to be the stepchild of Spain, but that’s ancient history. Lisbon is a cultural center as well as the launching point for the country’s beach destination, Algarve.

4. New Zealand. Australia is not the only place down under. New Zealand is the perfect country for adventure seekers.

5. Malta Malta’s lifestyle is almost too good to be true. It is the European capital of culture. The various international film festivals give the country a touch of modern culture that’s hard to ignore.

After Two Devastating Hurricanes, Puerto Rico Is Open For Tourists

Puerto Rico has always been a tourist destination. But after Hurricane Irma hit the country with category 4 winds, and then Hurricane Maria leveled the country’s infrastructure with 155 mph winds, no one was sure if Puerto Rico would ever be the same again. The United States did send help. But the help was slow, and that made the rebuilding process harder.

But Puerto Rico is a resilient country. People living in Puerto Rico are used to challenges. The country is showing the world what courage and the will to fight back really are. The tourists who come to Puerto Rico now are experiencing a new sense of confidence in the people of PR. They see a rich culture that doesn’t quit even though the battle to be the country it was before is just a memory now. The rebuilding process will change some of the established sites that tourist like to visit. But over 75 percent of the hotels are open for business, and Cruise ships are docking in San Juan’s port just like the old days.

There are 107 tourist attractions open across the island. Some of the favorites like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Old San Juan, and Cueva Ventana as well as other favorites are still giving tourists the full Puerto Rico experience. Ground transportation is operating as it did before, and there are 70 commercial flights a day in and out of San Juan’s airport.

The tourist who take a chance and visit Puerto Rico now see an island that still has natural beauty, intensity, and the unique character it always had.

Try Macaroni and Cheese Around the World

While Kraft produced the first commercial box of macaroni and cheese in 1937, the roots of this dish go back many hundreds years before that. The first commercial machine for making macaroni, however, was invented in Switzerland. The same country is home to the first written recipe using macaroni. If you love macaroni and cheese, then there are several variations around the world.

Imqarrun il-Forn
If you travel to Rabat, Malta, then make sure to stop at the Crystal Palace for some delicious Imqarrun il-Forn. This variation is made with macaroni and a very creamy sauce. It is baked in the oven before being crisped under the boiler.

Fleet Macaroni

Long before its official publication in 1955 in the Food Industry Ministry cookbook in Russia, fleet macaroni has been known as the food that sustained armies. It was also a staple on Russian submarines. If you are looking for fleet macaroni in Russia today, then head to Syrovarnya in Moscow.

Makaronipudding

A variety of meats are combined with macaroni before it is baked in the oven in Sweden. Ham and leeks are commonly incorporated with the macaroni before it is baked in the oven. Epicure Re Gustavo in Malmo, Sweden, is a great place to try it.

Älplermagronen

If you want a modern twist on the first macaroni and cheese recipe, then head to Pilatus Kulm in Lucerne. This traditional macaroni dish has creamed onions in it, but in other areas, you may find alplermagronen made with bacon, ham or potatoes.

While you will find many different varieties depending on where you roam, many people find that macaroni and cheese is a universal dish to be found on their dinner tables often

Visit the Northernmost Highway in the World

The northernmost highway in the world is Norway’s E69. This 80-mile-long highway with its five tunnels runs from Olderfjord to North Cape, Norway. Visitors who would like to travel find a simpler way of life. While the road is open for driving, many people find it easier to take the bus because the highway is often coated in ice.

One may see reindeer handlers while riding along this stretch of highway. Only Sami people are legally allowed to herd reindeer in this region. Other people make their living making crafts with men often using wood, bone, and antlers to make knives and weapons while women use traditional clothing and woven baskets from leather and roots. Still, other artists are busy introducing the world to beautiful visual arts filled with traditional symbolism.

Stand on the top of the ledge stretching over 1000 feet above the Arctic Sea. While fog often blocks people from seeing the sun, it never sets from May 14 to July 29. The warmest month of the year is usually August when temperatures reach an average of 51 degrees while the coldest month is March when the average temperature is 28 degrees.

Commemorate your visit with a stop at the stone wheel next to the large tourist center. Children from many different parts of the world were asked to draw a picture of peace, and artists etched them into the stone wheel.

While it is not technically the northernmost point on earth, a drive up the scenic E69 is a chance to see amazing scenery and a simpler lifestyle.