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!

Fascinating International “No-Nos” Revealed In New UK Report

The UK government just released a surprising list of cultural taboos around the world in preparation for spring break. Although the authors of this new report were targeting younger people, the advice could help anyone going on an international vacation. Below, we’ll share some of the most shocking lesser-known taboos at the world’s top tourist draws.

First, many over-the-counter medications in the West are banned in Japan. Believe it or not, if you bring a bottle of Vicks VapoRub or codeine hydrochloride into the “Land of the Rising Sun” you could be deported.

Continuing on into another Asian nation, the Thai government has strict laws against e-cigarettes. Any traveler caught using a vaping device could face a steep fine.

Just like in Thailand, Buddhism plays a central role in Sri Lanka’s culture. Sri Lankans take their religion so seriously that they won’t let you into their country if you have a Buddhist tattoo. Also, you could be deported from Sri Lanka for taking a selfie in front of sacred Buddhist monuments.

Moving on in our list to the Caribbean, travelers of all ages cannot legally wear camouflaged clothing. The most popular islands that enforce this law include Barbados and St. Lucia.

Anyone who wants to overcome a bad cussing habit should visit the United Arab Eremites (UAE) in the near future. Citizens and visitors to the UAE could be thrown in prison if they swear online or in public.

Similar to the UAE, Greece doesn’t take kindly to indecent public behavior. You can be jailed in Greece for dropping your drawers in public, even if it was done as a joke.

New Survey Reveals World’s Most Expensive Cities For Locals And Travelers

You’ve got to make a lot of money to live in Singapore. The former British colony in Southeast Asia clinched the top spot on 2018’s Economist list of the most expensive places to live.

To determine the winners of this year’s report, Economist reporters compared the prices for daily essentials in the world’s most populous cities. They also compared foreign currencies on the FOREX.

Analysts said one of the major reasons Singapore is so expensive is because almost all Singaporeans own cars. Researchers noted, however, that prices for groceries were slightly cheaper in Singapore than in other big Asian cities.

Most of the cities on the Economist’s list this year were either in Asia or Europe. Study authors said the weaker USD had a big impact on the lower rankings for major American cities.

Second place this year is a tie between the European cities of Paris and Zurich. Paris is the only euro-zone nation at the top of the Economist’s report. Other European names in the top ten this year include Oslo, Geneva, and Copenhagen.

The Asian cities Hong Kong and Seoul also found their way into this year’s top ten. The two standouts in the Economist’s top tier this year are Australia’s Sydney and Israel’s Tel Aviv.

Interestingly, Japanese cities failed to get into the top ten this year. As many readers should recall, just a few years ago Tokyo was considered the most expensive place to live on this survey.

As for the USA, the two “big spender” cities are New York City and Los Angeles. These cities fell, however, from ninth and 11th place last year to 13th and 14th this year, respectively.

Virgin Atlantic Announces Three New Class Fares

Virgin Atlantic is jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trend in air travel. The airline announced on Wednesday that it is rolling out three new branded economy fares in an effort to entice bargain travelers. The new fares will launch this spring and are intended to align more closely with global partner Delta Airline’s class of economy fares.

The most basic of the three fares is the Economy Light version. Travelers booked in this class will need to pay extra for any checked luggage and will not be assigned their seat until checking in at the airport. The next step up in the fare ladder is the Economy Classic level. These passengers will be allowed one free checked bag and will be able to choose their seat when the ticket is purchased. The most premium level in the economy class offerings is the Economy Delight. In addition to the complimentary baggage allowance and advanced seat assignment benefits offered by Economy Classic, travelers booked with an Economy Delight ticket will enjoy three more inches of legroom and priority check-in.

All economy passengers can still expect to receive the same level of exemplary service provided by Virgin Atlantic. Complimentary food and drink will be offered to all travelers, regardless of the fare that was originally purchased. In addition to the new fare structure, Virgin Atlantic also announced that they will be adding Wi-Fi and charging outlets for each seat.

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.

New Study Reveals The Dirtiest Surfaces In Airports And Planes

Before you touch your airport’s self-service check-in kiosk, you might want to wipe it down with an alcohol swab. According to a study just released by the US insurance company, the screens on self-service check-in kiosks are the dirtiest surfaces in most airports.

Researchers involved in this study used standard swab tests on six different surfaces in three of America’s busiest airports. In total, employees gathered data from 18 tests and measured their results in the number of bacteria that formed colonies per square inch (aka CFUs).

So, just how bad is the check-in kiosk? According to the data, an average check-in screen has 250,000 CFUs. The worst check-in kiosk in this survey had well over 1 million CFUs.

The second dirtiest surface in the airport went to the armrests on chairs by various gates. These commonly touched surfaces had an average score of 21,000 CFUs.

Lastly, water fountain buttons came in third place. Researchers say these buttons averaged 19,000 CFUs, which is still significantly less than the touchscreen kiosk.

After completing their studies at the airport, investigators also wanted to see how different surfaces on planes fared. Unsurprisingly, they found that the plane’s bathroom had an average of 95,000 CFUs on the flusher.

Other germy areas on the plane include the tray table and the seat belt buckle. These two surfaces, however, had far fewer bacteria than the toilet button coming in at approximately 11,500 and 1,100 CFUs, respectively.

Just as a point of reference, this report also found that toilet seats in most airports have fewer CFUs than all the more commonly used surfaces listed above. Believe it or not, a toilet seat only has about 170 CFUs on average.

Everyone involved in this research hopes this will encourage anyone going to an airport to bring plenty of hand-sanitizer and to wash their hands thoroughly with soap.

Four Seasons Orlando Will Offer “Extra Magic Hours” At Disney World Parks

The Four Seasons Orlando hotel near Disney’s Magic Kingdom just announced guests will be able to take advantage of Walt Disney World’s “Extra Magic Hours.” These special hours allow tourists to enjoy some private time at Walt Disney World’s four main theme parks: the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.

“Extra Magic Hours” can either be an hour before the public is allowed inside a park or for one hour after normal tourists are forced to leave. The park that has “Extra Magic Hours” changes every day.

With less people in the parks, guests can easily get on some of the more popular rides without a Fastpass reservation. A few of the most difficult rides to get on in Disney World right now include Animal Kingdom’s Avatar-themed “Flight of Passage” and Hollywood Studios’ “Toy Story Midway Mania.”

These “Extra Magic Hours” used to be exclusive to guests staying at Walt Disney World’s official resorts. In December of last year, however, the seven hotels near the outdoor shopping and dining area Disney Springs announced their guests could take advantage of “Extra Magic Hours.”

Although these seven hotels near Disney Springs are on Walt Disney World property, they aren’t official Disney hotels. Most of these hotels, which include names like Holiday Inn and Best Western, are some of the cheapest on Disney property.

Unlike the Springs area hotels, the Four Seasons Orlando is one of the most luxurious and expensive on Disney property. In addition to being one of the highest reviewed hotels in Orlando, the Four Seasons has one of the best viewing spots for the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks.

Disney Cruise Lines Will Set Sail From Rome In 2019

The Walt Disney Company just announced it will be offering a new Southern European voyage on their Disney Cruise Line in 2019. This latest addition to the Disney Cruise Line list will take guests to some of the most scenic cities in Spain, Italy, and France.

This new tour starts in Civitavecchia, which is a port city in central Italy. Civitavecchia is officially a part of Rome and is located only an hour and a half from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.

As guests board their magical Disney vessel they will set sail to their first stop: Salerno in Campania, Italy. The next stop is La Spezia, which is a popular city near the touristy Cinque Terre. This concludes the Italian leg of the tour.

After La Spezia, the Disney Cruise will take tourists to two of Southern France’s best cities: Marseilles and Villefranche-sur-Mer. The tour will conclude with a stop in the popular city of Barcelona, Spain.

This tour is the latest offering in Disney Cruise Line’s European catalogue. Other exciting adventures in Europe include trips through northern cities like Stockholm and Belfast.

Americans who don’t feel like taking the trip across the Atlantic could take a new Disney cruise across Alaskan ports like Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, and Tracy Arm Fjord. There are also plenty of Disney Cruise Lines through the Caribbean Islands.

Disney also said it will offer “Short Escapes” in select cities in the near future. These “Short Escapes” will last three-days and include private tours of some of the most popular sites in cities like Copenhagen and Rome.

Disney execs say this new Southern European cruise starting in Rome will be ready to launch on June 14th, 2019.

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.

Smooth Sailing for Norwegian Cruise Lines

It looks to be smooth sailing for Norwegian Cruise Lines heading into 2018. On the heels of the promising release of its 2017 fourth quarter financial earnings, Norwegian is looking to expand its markets and ports of call. Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Limited encompasses three brands — the primary Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas. Norwegian is already citing a positive booking trend going into 2018, signaling strong loads for the year.

As Norwegian looks to the future, the company has announced seven new cruise liners. The first new ship to launch will be the Norwegian Bliss in May 2018, followed by the Norwegian Encore the next year. The Bliss is the first Norwegian ship to debut in Seattle and will begin its first sailings with trips to Alaska before moving on to the Caribbean later in the year. Four Project Leonardo ships will round out the next seven years of production, as well as a new ship for Regent Seven Seas, debuting in the year 2020.

Norwegian has been encouraged by the popularity and guest feedback about the new port of call in Cuba and plans to expand travel to the island as a result. The Norwegian Sun will add Havana as a port of call starting in May 2018 in order to satiate customer demand. The company has also stated a desire to expand its list of sailing ports, potentially adding the popular Fort Lauderdale and Texas points of origins to its offerings.