Revised Forecast For Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season Released

Travelers interested in viewing Japan’s famous cherry blossoms should plan to be in Tokyo by mid-March. That’s according to the latest 2018 cherry blossom forecast from the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC).

The JMC expects cherry blossom trees to start blooming on March 20th in Japan’s capital city. This weather report predicted Tokyo’s cherry blossoms will be in full bloom on March 28th.

The JMC also looked at the forecasts of other major cities all around Japan. People traveling to Kyoto will most likely see cherry blossoms bloom on the 27th and peak on April 4th. Cherry blossoms in the nearby city of Osaka should start blooming on March 26th and reach their height on April 3rd.

People traveling to the northern island of Hokkaido should expect cherry blossoms to bloom on May 3rd and reach their peak on May 6th.

Staff a the JMC told reporters they have an intricate method to predict these times using information gathered from the previous year. In addition to looking at annual trends, the JMC also looks at the temperature this new batch of cherry blossoms grew up in through the fall and winter.

The Japanese cherry blossoms (aka sakura) attract millions of tourists from around the world every year. There are at least 1,000 different areas of this island nation to enjoy cherry blossom season, and many restaurants offer special sakura-themed eats during this time.

The practice of viewing cherry blossoms goes way back in Japanese history. Some records suggest people were practicing hanami, which basically means having a picnic underneath sakura trees, since the early 700s.

For many, viewing Japan’s sakura is a religious experience. In fact, this annual festival is closely associated with the Buddhist truth of impermanence in Japanese culture and art.

Tourists can check out the JMC’s latest revisions on their official website before booking their tickets to Haneda Airport.

Tourism Experts Reveal Top 15 Travel Destinations For 2018 Season

A newly released survey reveals 15 of the most unique travel destinations for the 2018 season. The reason this list is so special is because only seasoned tourism experts were allowed to vote for destinations. Below, we’ll go through the top five destinations on this list in detail.

The first area tourism experts love is Cambodia. Over the past few years, many people have only traveled to this Southeast Asian nation to take in the massive Angkor Wat temple complex. This year, however, tourism experts expect visitors will start venturing out to undiscovered areas of this nation. A few of these soon to be hot destinations include Krabey Island and Koh Russey.

Next up is the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. There are now dozens of specialized tours offering guests exclusive air balloon and helicopter rides around this area. If you can, travel guides highly advise you visit the Yucatán Peninsula when the Monarch butterflies arrive for their yearly migration.

The third most interesting place to visit in 2018 is the South American nation of Bolivia. Many tourists consider Bolivia to have the greatest scenery in all of South America, especially in the hypnotizing Salar de Uyuni salt flats. For those into high culture fine dining, you’ll find a great deal to admire in Bolivia’s capital La Paz.

Another wonderful place to visit in 2018 is the African nation Tanzania, especially the southern region of the country. A few specific areas guides recommend checking out here include the Ruaha National Park and the Selous Game Reserve.

Rounding out the top five on this list is Australia’s Tasmania region. Since Tasmania has been isolated from the Australian mainland over the course of its history, it has some of the most interesting architecture as well as an incredible array of flora and fauna. A particularly great place for new tourists to explore is the Tasmanian capital Hobart.

The other locations highly praised by tourism guides include the following: Asheville (North Carolina), Chad, Northern Brazil, the Faroe Island, Aysén (Chile), Milan (Italy), Tibet, Malawi, and Egypt.

The Top 10 Longest Non-Stop Flights Have Just Been Revealed

Modern travelers are demanding more non-stop flights…no matter how far the distance. To meet this increased demand, many of the world’s major airlines have begun offering long-haul services to dozens of exceptional destinations.

Both advances in the field of aviation and lower fuel costs have made this Renaissance of long-haul flights possible. Planes like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner can hold a ton of fuel and travel just over 9,000 miles.

To commemorate this resurgence in non-stop flights, business leaders have put together a list of the longest flights now offered. Below, we’ll go through the top ten longest flights of 2018.

As of today, the longest non-stop flight Qatar Airlines’s service from Doha, Qatar to Auckland, New Zealand. This flight measures an impressive 9,026 miles.

Coming in at second place is a flight between Perth, Australia and the British capital at 9,009. Qantas, Australia’s leading airline, offers this service.

The Emirates Airlines comes in at third place with its flight from Dubai, UAE to Auckland. This flight measures 8,820 miles.

The first American airliner on this list is United Airlines in fourth place. The longest flight offered by United Airlines is from Los Angeles to Singapore, which is just over 8,750 miles.

Rounding out this list’s top five is another United Airlines flight, this time from Houston to Sydney. Experts say this flight measures about 8,590 miles.

The rest of the flights from number six to ten are as follows: Qantas’s service from Dallas to Sydney, Singapore Airlines’s flight from Singapore to San Francisco, Delta’s flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, Ethiad Airways’s service from Abu Dhabi to LA, and Emirates’ flight from Dubai to LA.

Portugal Wins Top Honors At 2017 World Travel Awards

Portugal was the big winner at this year’s World Travel Awards ceremony. Travel experts and average tourists agreed that Portugal deserves the 2017 title of “World’s Leading Destination.”

In addition to winning “World’s Leading Destination,” Portugal’s capital city Lisbon won World Travel Awards’ “Leading City Break Destination.” Portugal’s Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua won the award for “World’s Leading Conservation Company” and Portugal’s Pine Cliffs Resort won the title of “World’s Leading Luxury Leisure Resort.”

Just a few decades ago, Portugal struggled to attract international tourists. Nowadays, however, Portugal is flooded with tourists interested in the country’s natural wonders and cultural treasures. Many travelers feel Portugal is a safer and cheaper travel alternative to other Western European nations.

Although Portugal stood out this year, there were other surprising wins at the World Travel Awards ceremony. Interestingly, Bolivia was awarded the “Leading Cultural Destination.” Reviewers say they respect the Bolivian people’s commitment to putting together festivals and special events on a monthly basis.

Singapore once again led the way in the airlines department. The “World’s Leading Airline” went to Singapore Airlines and Singapore’s Changi Airport was voted “World’s Leading Airport.” However, AirAsia won this year’s prize for “Leading Low-Cost Airline.”

This year’s “Best Beach Destination” went to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. As for the “Best Culinary Destination,” Peru took home the top prize.

A few other winners at this year’s festival include Wynn Las Vegas for the “World’s Leading Casino Resort,” the Armani Hotel Dubai for the “World’s Leading Hotel,” and Machu Picchu for “World’s Leading Tourist Attraction.”

Anyone can vote for their favorite travel destinations on the World Travel Awards website throughout the year. Travel experts’ ballots count double ordinary tourists’ ballots.

The 24th annual World Travel Awards took place on December 10th in Vietnam’s JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Hotel. To see a full list of winners, anyone can visit World Travel Awards’ website.

Things World Travelers Should Take With Them

Do you travel a lot? There are some things you should always take with you around the world.

For example, if you are someone who often misplaces things, then you should use a tool that lets you track your items. There are many products that let you use Bluetooth devices to keep track of your personal items such as your wallet or cellphone. This way, you will not have to worry about leaving your wallet behind in your old hotel.

A laptop briefcase is another thing that is useful to take around if you use a laptop on your vacations. This is especially suitable for business travelers.

If you travel around the world, you may want to consider getting travel insurance. This can help you out if you suddenly run into a tough situation and you need medical help, for example.

You may also want to take electrolyte tablets. This will help you from becoming dehydrated. Remember that you can not take drinks with you on flights. If you are dehydrated, electrolytes can energize you.

Another idea, especially if you fly a lot, is a little divider for your armrest. This way, you will not have to fight over the armrest between you and another passenger. You can also take a little pillow with you.

Of course, do not forget the simple things, like a toothbrush and a comb.

The Best Vacation Destinations For Star Wars Fans

With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, travel experts expect Star Wars-themed tourism to grow exponentially. There are dozens of locations Star Wars fans can (and do) choose to visit every year. Anyone putting together their own intergalactic bucket list should take a look at the locales listed below.

First, fans who wants to see Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine must visit the Tunisian desert Djerba. Here you’ll get to tour Skywalker’s home and the infamous Mos Eisley cantina. You can also take a short trip to the nearby cities of Tozeur and Matmata to see more Star Wars filming locations and stay in the Hotel Sidi Driss.

For a soothing Star Wars voyage, travel experts recommend booking a trip to Villa del Balbianello, which is alongside Italy’s Lake Como. All of the scenes that took place on the planet Naboo in Star Wars: Episode III were filmed right here. This is an exceptional vacation idea for couples looking for a Star Wars-themed romantic getaway.

Probably the easiest Star Wars filming location for Americans to visit is the Redwoods State Park in California. This site was used to film all the scenes on the forest planet Endor in Star Wars: Episode VI. While you’re in California, you should also check out Death Valley National Park. A few Tatooine scenes were filmed in Death Valley.

Finally, if you don’t mind the cold, take a trip to the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway to experience the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. Locals are used to Star Wars fans visiting this region and a few hotels host special “Visit Hoth” events. Note, you can only take a tour of the glacier between July and September.

A Culturally Diverse Israeli Cycling Team Travels the World Bringing a Message of Peace and Coexistance

The Israeli Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 and includes members with similar social values including members of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Their mission is to become ambassadors for peace. They plan to serve as role models for a younger generation that people from different countries, with different beliefs, can work together toward a common goal.

The 2018 team includes champions like Israel’s Roy Goldstein, Spain’s Ruben Plaza, Italy’s Kristian Sbaragli, and Turkish rider Ahmet Orkin. Having a Turkish and an Israeli rider on the same team sends a message of coexistence and peace.

In 2017 the Israeli Cycling Academy competed across three continents, including Australia, South America, and Europe. This diverse team includes members with strong ability but who wouldn’t be able to really show off their skills in their home countries.

The Giro D’Italia is a race second only to the Tour de France in the competitive biking world. This team will compete in a traditional race that will leave the continent of Europe for the first time and pass through Israel.

The Israeli Cycling Academy has members from 22 countries if you count support staff, trainers, and technicians. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism and corporate sponsors including De Rosa Road-racing bikes of Italy sponsor the team.

“The vision and main goal of the team is to instill a love of cycling among young Israelis from all backgrounds,“ Roni Baron of the Peres Center and co-founder of the team said in November. The team for 2018 includes riders from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

20 Michelin Stars Enhance Bangkok’s Status As A Culinary Capital

If you’re still looking for excuses to finally book a trip to Bangkok, the city’s first Michelin Guide was released at the start of December. In total, Michelin handed out 20 stars to 17 Bangkok-based restaurants.

Only three of these 17 restaurants received two stars each. These restaurants include the Indian-themed Gaggan, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok’s Le Normandie, and Lebua Hotel’s Mezzaluna.

But perhaps the most famous Michelin star winner in Bangkok was the street-food vendor Jay Fai. Located at 327 Samran Rat Intersection, Phra Nakhon, Jay Fai serves exceptional crab omelets and crab curries to hungry locals every day of the year. Fai was awarded one Michelin star.

The 13 remaining restaurants received one star each. These restaurants include the following names: Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Ginza Sushi Ichi, Bo.Lan, J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, Nahm, Saneh Jaan, Suhring, Savelberg, Paste, Chim by Siam Winsdom, Elements, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon, and Upstairs at Mikkeller.

Many Thais were surprised only one of the city’s famed street-food vendors made the cut for a Michelin star. In particular, locals were disappointed that Tipsamai Pad Thai near Golden Mount didn’t earn a spot in Michelin’s 2018 Guide.

All of these Michelin stars greatly enhance Bangkok’s status as one of Asia’s premier cities for high-class dining. Many culinary experts now consider Bangkok on par with cities like Tokyo, Macau, and Singapore.

Michelin officials released their 2018 Bangkok Guide at an event in the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. After the awards were handed out, Siam Kempinski staff hosted a gala dinner with dishes from other Michelin-starred chefs. Tickets to this special event cost $614 per person.

Travel + Leisure Announces Top 15 Cities In Europe

Spain and Italy claimed most of the top prizes in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 reader’s survey of the top tourist draws in Europe. Out of this list of 15 cities, eight spots went to locales in these two nations.

The top prize went to Italy’s Florence. This shouldn’t come as a shock to readers, especially considering Florence won the top honor ten out of the past eleven years. Out of a possible score of 100, Florence got a 90.75.

Italy also clinched second place with the capital city Rome. “The Eternal City” raked in a score of 89.73 from Travel + Leisure’s readers.

Coming in third place was Spain’s second largest city: Barcelona. Barcelona’s score of 89.52 was extremely close to Rome this year.

Rounding out the top five European cities on this list were San Sebastián in Spain and Hungary’s capital Budapest. These two cities scored 89.52 and 89.19, respectively.

The only other nation that had more than one city on this year’s list was Portugal. The Portuguese capital Lisbon came in tenth place and the city of Porto came in ninth. Travel experts say this is yet more evidence of Portugal’s rising status as a major player in the European tourism industry. Both cities scored in the 88-point range.

Travel + Leisure authors asked readers to rank major tourist destinations in areas such as friendliness, cost, food quality, shopping opportunities, and cultural experiences. Respondents praised Florence’s efforts to preserve its cultural identity by blocking off fast-food chains from the city center and planning renovations at the Uffizi Gallery.

From sixth place to fifteenth, this is how Travel + Leisure’s list broke down: Siena, Seville, Kraków, Porto, Lisbon, Prague, Venice, Edinburgh, Istanbul, and Madrid.

3 Romantic Places to Ring in 2018

If you are looking for a place to hang out with some friends to see 2017 out, then you may want to consider an Airbnb. There are some unique choices that would be super for you and a gang of friends.

Irish Castle

You and 11 of your closest friends can celebrate at an Irish castle near Galway, Ireland. Prepare your own feast in the well-stocked kitchen before serving it in the formal dining room. Then, head upstairs to dance in the new year in the great hall as the clock strikes midnight.

Ski Chalet in France

Hit the slopes on December 31 before relaxing with 10 of your friends at your own private chalet in the Mont Blanc region of France. Soak sore muscles away in the secluded hot tub before snuggling up in front of the fireplace to welcome 2018 in with someone special.

Private Island in the Philippines

Relax in the warm tropical atmosphere by staying in your own bungalow on this private island escape located just three hours from Manila. Enjoy seeing your own lake out your bedroom window when you first wake up in 2018. This one-bedroom home is the perfect place to escape the winter doldrums.

These three places each have their own unique style, so choose the one that is right for you. Then, decide who you want to spend New Year’s Eve with as it may be the start of a beautiful relationship.