TIME Travel

Become a Spontaneous Traveler by Using These Apps

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Get packing now

Procrastinators, rejoice: a new crop of digital tools can help you book an entire trip in a matter of minutes, even mere hours before takeoff. So get packing.

Find your flight: The key to getting a last-minute deal is flexibility. The website Adioso lets you browse fares from your departure city to anywhere in the world and sort by price. Kayak’s Explore charts airfares on a global map to show how far your money can go. And the Get The Flight Out app (iOS) puts the cheapest day-of fares—from Orbitz, Travelocity, and others—on an easy-to-scan interface. Our best find: New York to Stockholm for $494 round-trip.

Book a room: HotelTonight (Android; iOS) is popular for its sleek design and curated picks; we like the new Rate Drop feature, which knocks down same-day prices after 3 p.m. For even deeper savings, try Hotels.com—last-minute deals start at 50 percent off. Booking.com’s just-launched app, Booking Now (iOS), claims the largest inventory, with more than 580,000 properties. To avoid information overload, the app learns your preferences and suggests hotels accordingly.

Plan your itinerary: Figure out how to fill your days with the help of Utrip, a website that can create itineraries in 37-plus cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. Users take a quick survey (Do you like mellow days or packed schedules? Do you prefer hiking or fine dining?) and provide their budget and dates. Utrip then calculates a day- by-day schedule with restaurants, sightseeing, and more— along with interactive maps to guide you along.

Make dinner reservations: Forget about booking 30 days ahead: apps like Table8 (Android; iOS) and Resy (Android; iOS) can find you a same-day seat at of- the-moment restaurants in five U.S. cities for a fee of up to $50 per booking. We scored a prime-time Saturday table at A.O.C., in Los Angeles, for $20 with Table8 and an $18 reservation at New York City hot spot Claudette via Resy.

All-in-one: If you’re looking to book airfare, rooms, rental cars, and excursions all at once, LastMinuteTravel.com sells heavily discounted package deals. Just be prepared to deal with a clunky user experience. For $50, you can join their membership club, which adds another 10 percent to your savings, on average.

Tom Samiljan is Travel + Leisure‘s Tech Correspondent.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

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TIME Travel

These Are America’s Best Food Cities

Take your pick from street food to specialty gourmet markets and high-end restaurants

Whether they were craving French fusion, peanut-butter-and-kimchi sandwiches or the perfect piece of fried chicken, Travel+Leisure readers ranked the cities that make their mouths water.

When she’s visiting Los Angeles, Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau—recently nominated for a James Beard award—does not concern herself with A-list seating at restaurants. “The first time I went to Gjelina,” she says of the acclaimed Venice café, “we got pizza and salads in the to-go area, then ate them while sitting on milk crates in the alley. It was so good.”

No surprise, Blau says that she plans her trips around restaurants, bakeries and markets, though many Travel+Leisure readers would attest that you don’t have to be a restaurateur to travel by your stomach. As part of the magazine’s America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers ranked 38 cities for qualities like walkable streets, historic appeal and art galleries—which, for some travelers, are just pleasant time-killers between meals.

Readers also ranked the 10 most crave-worthy features of a city, from the relatively low-cost indulgences of street food, coffee and bakeries to specialty gourmet markets, wine bars and high-end, chef-driven restaurants. (And throwing in plenty of burgers, pizza, craft beers and sandwiches.)

Among the winners—some perhaps boosted in the polls by their enthusiastic locals—we found a number of James Beard winners and nominees, as well as some fabulously creative twists on classics: “hot chicken” in Nashville, bison tartare in Minneapolis and pickle tasting plates in Chicago.

Sometimes, though, the simplest tastes are the most memorable—like the fresh, warm bread Blau once had at L.A. bakery Superba. “We only had crumbs in the bag by the time we left,” she says. “We had to go back and get more to bring home on the plane.”

 

  • 20. Seattle

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    D. Hurst / Alamy

    Readers ranked the city near the top for its food markets—no surprise, since the iconic Pike Place Market is a must-stop for many visitors. Locals, however, increasingly go to Pioneer Square for their gourmet cravings–like the fresh oysters at Taylor Oyster Bar and the specialty market at London Plane, which offers warm biscuits, croissants and Caffe Umbria coffee in the morning, and a wine bar in the evening. To continue your classic Seattle coffee-tasting tour, go to nearby Zeitgeist, which positioned itself early on as a heady Starbucks alternative, and which ups the hipster ante with movie screenings and exhibits by local artists. Readers, meanwhile, deemed the Gore-Tex-clad locals as both nerdy and athletic.

  • 19. San Francisco

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    Richard Seagraves

    How did the legendary hub for cutting-edge cuisine, great wine and strong coffee fall so far down the list? Maybe readers just expect so much from the city now—or perhaps they suffered a little sticker shock (it also ranked near the bottom for affordability, and readers deemed the locals a tad aloof). But Bay Area folks have earned the right to some ’tude: In fall 2014 Michelin awarded stars to a record 40 restaurants in San Francisco—including Benuand Saison, which both received three stars. To get an up-close look at everyday gourmet living, browse the vendors of Ferry Building Marketplace (like the wild mushrooms at Far West Fungi), or go behind the scenes with chefs through Avital Tours. To experience the great local wines without road-tripping to Napa, check out Bluxome Street Winery in the SoMa district.

  • 18. San Diego, California

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    Luis Garcia

    This sunny SoCal city gave our nation fish tacos, but also ranked highly with readers for brunch. Two great spots worth getting up for are in North Park: Waypoint Public, which offers a breakfast pot pie and morning-friendly beers (like an Austrian Grapefruit Radler), andStreetCar Merchants, which specializes in fried chicken and doughnuts. And while San Diego food snobs have given North Park much love in recent years, there is increasing buzz in Little Italy, home to New-American Juniper & Ivy, the oysters at Ironside, and the hotly anticipatedBracero Cocina, where chef Javier Plascencia will pay tribute to the history of Mexican farm workers. The city won the survey for nice weather, and also ranked well for clear people-watching.

  • 17. Dallas

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    Joy Zhang

    These sports-loving Texans tend to be meat lovers, ranking highly in the survey for both their barbecue (like Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum) and burgers (like the Sugar Burger with jalapeno jam, candied bacon and grilled peaches at Turtle Creek’s Rodeo Goat). But they also clean up nicely for brunch, like the green-chile-short-rib scramble or the banana-cream-pie French toast at Oddfellows in the Bishop Arts District. To keep abreast of the city’s up-and-comers, go to Trinity Groves, a 15-acre food hall in West Dallas that features permanent pop-up Kitchen LTO, which rotates in a new chef every few months. (The current chef offers a New American menu featuring chicken-fried ribeye). Readers’ favorite way to burn calories in Dallas was dancing in the well-ranked nightclubs.

  • 16. Louisville, Kentucky

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    Michael Ventura / Alamy

    For years, the Kentucky city has been famous for its cocktails—as in, its bourbon—as well as the Kentucky Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Mornay sauce, first created at The Brown Hotel. You can find variations all over town, like the Hot vs. Brown Fries (fries covered with melted beer cheese, roasted turkey, bacon and tomatoes) at Sidebar at Whiskey Row, on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. Giving bourbon a run for its money, though, Louisville also scored in the top 10 for its craft beers. Newcomers like Against the Grain offer creative brews—try the rye amber ale Attila the Hen, or the bourbon-inspired Bo and Luke Ale—alongside homey fare like a “pork and beans” made of Andouille sausage, sauerkraut and brisket baked beans. For retail indulgences, readers were most impressed with the city’s antique shops and flea markets.

  • 15. New Orleans

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    Chris Granger

    As a testament to the eclectic charm of the Crescent City, New Orleans won the survey for both fine dining and sandwiches. The former is embodied in grand dames like Brennan’s—the recently renovated birthplace of Bananas Foster—and newer spots like seafood-rich Balise(headed by Chef Justin Devillier of Le Petit Grocery), located in the city’s oldest French settlement. To fully appreciate the city’s most noteworthy sandwich, the po’ boy, try the roast beef and shrimp on French bread at Parkway Bakery & Tavern, or the glazed Pork Belly Poboy at Killer Poboys, located in the back of Erin Rose Bar, just off Bourbon Street. New Orleans also won the survey for festivals (often, just another chance to eat), like the Creole Tomato Festival and the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival.

  • 14. Philadelphia

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    Michael Persico

    The cheesesteak is almost as iconic in Philly as that big cracked bell, but the city’s high-ranking street food is not always so “street:” consider the $120 cheesesteak at Barclay Prime on Rittenhouse Square, made with Wagyu beef, foie gras and “truffled cheese whiz.” Indeed plenty of the city’s hottest cuisine strays from tailgate fare: Israeli eatery Dizengoff, on Sansom, has a rotating menu of hummus variations, while Charlie Was a Sinner is an all-vegan bar in Midtown Village. To experience the top-5 ranked pizza—and be part of the city’s brotherly love— go to Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Center City, where you can get a slice of the signature white pizza and kick in an extra $1.25 to buy a slice for a local homeless person.

  • 13. Chicago

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    John Gress/Corbis

    T+L readers tend to have a one-track mind when it comes to eating out in Chicago: the epic deep-dish pizza, found at mainstays like Pizano’s. But the Windy City also scored well for its chef-driven delights, like Dove’s Luncheonette from James Beard Award winner Chef Paul Kahan, which does Southern-meets-Mexican fare (say, buttermilk fried chicken with a chorizo-verde gravy). Pickling is still hot in the city—places like Owen and Engine and Big Jones do pickle-tasting plates—but readers also loved getting pickled themselves, as it were, in the city’s bars. One new watering hole, The Brass Monkey, in the Fulton Market District, embraces disco and ‘70s kitsch with Harvey Wallbangers, spiked Tang and a perfected, TV-dinner-style salisbury steak. The city gives you plenty of chances to walk it off, ranking highly for walkable streets and world-class parks.

  • 12. Austin, Texas

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    Wynn Myers

    The brainy hipsters in the Texas capital exude a unique brand of snobbery—an angsty nostalgia for the way the still-growing city used to be (even if they only moved here last month). These days, even newcomers can relive one of the city’s Tex-Mex classics, Taco Flats, since it has just been reborn on Burnet Road (and pronounce the street like a local: Burn-it). The city’s high-ranking barbecue has both old and new presentations: the traditional platters at Ironworks and Salt Lick, or the new, dare-we-say nostalgic style, served on butcher paper, at zeal-inspiring Franklin Barbecue. The city also won the survey for its ever-expanding supply of food trucks, like Down Home Diner in Hyde Park (try the Blanco hot dog, topped with peach salsa) and Kerlin BBQ, an East side trailer, which sells fresh kolaches, the addictive Czech pastries. You can always dance away the carbs: the city ranked near the top for its live music and festivals.

  • 11. Nashville

    Nashville ranked at a respectable No. 5 in the barbecue category, perhaps by straddling the line between the Memphis and Carolina styles. But the city has one food genre all its own: the hot chicken. This fried chicken with a serious kick—and often served on white bread—may also be the reason the city also ranked so highly for sandwiches. To eat the classic, go toPrince’s Hot Chicken Shack, then for comparison’s sake try Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the relative new kid that offers a heat range from the not-hot “Southern” to a “Shut the Cluck Up,” washed down with a Coke float. The city also ranked well for coffee—like the pour-overs and coffee sodas at downtown’s Crema Coffee Roasters—while the caffeinated locals impressed readers by being friendly.

  • 10. New York City

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    Alice Gao

    The Big Apple may have ranked at the top of the survey for being expensive, but readers’ two favorite cuisines—fine dining and pizza—are proof that there is still a wide range to the city’s price spectrum. To dine alongside the city’s savvy foodies, go to the Lower East Side’s Dirty French, in the Ludlow Hotel—where classics get global twists, like duck a l’orange with Morroccan spices—or the Smyth Hotel’s locavore Little Park, from James Beard winner Andrew Carmellini. The latest pizza place to enter the fold is Marta, in the Martha Washington Hotel, which does Roman-style pizzas like a classic margarita or the veggie-friendly Cavolini, topped with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and pickled chili. To occupy themselves between meals, readers embraced the city’s high-ranking bookstores and luxury boutiques.

  • 9. Los Angeles

    Readers applauded Angelenos for always staying on trend, ranking them for being fashionable, hip and head-turningly hot. These days, the ahead-of-the-curve gourmands are eating in Chinatown, which is seeing a revival thanks to the rice bowls at Chego, the noodles at Ramen Champ and the blueberry-jasmine cones at Scoops artisanal ice cream (which also features a Cognoscenti coffee cart). And while L.A. has long been a leader in the fancy-burger movement, it still embraces its charbroiled roots. Case in point: Cassell’s Hamburgers, originally from the ‘50s, was recently reborn in Koreatown’s Hotel Normandie.

  • 8. Portland, Oregon

    These quirky Oregonians could easily be accused of embracing a liquid diet, ranking in the survey’s top five for its thoughtfully brewed coffee, craft beer and wine. To eat and drink in harmony, check out newbies like Coopers Hall, which has 44 taps of wine, beer, and cider paired with steak frites or croque-monsieurs; or BTU Brasserie, which boasts of being the nation’s first Chinese brewpub, with small plates of modern Chinese washed down with a rice lager. Or, try Kachka, a Russian restaurant opened by a James Beard nominee, where you can imbibe Eastern European wines, Baltic lagers and kvass, a beverage made from black and rye breads. Portland’s cuisine might be so adventurous thanks its open-minded locals, who ranked as highly quirky but also polite.

  • 7. Cleveland, Ohio

    The rust belt city offers some old-fashioned, even old-world, charms. Readers ranked it at No. 5 for its rich food halls, like West Side Market—with spices, baked goods and delis—which dates back to 1912, when it catered primarily to the city’s immigrants. Today, you can also still tuck into great Polish cuisine—like chicken paprikash, bratwurst, pirogues and stuffed cabbage—at Sokolowski’s University Inn, a James Beard American Classic award-winner now in its third generation of family ownership. Still, you don’t get into the top 10 by living completely in the past; Cleveland also delighted readers with its trendy street food and bars (like Happy Dog, where hot dogs come with vodka sauerkraut or Bloody Mary ketchup) and upscale, New-American spots like Lola Bistro, run by Iron Chef Michael Symon.

  • 6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

    The patron saint of this Southwestern city’s food scene has long been the fire-roasted green chili, which pops up on the local fry-bread tacos and cheeseburgers (like the classics at Monte Carlo Steakhouse and Liquor Store), or can be made into a sauce at your table at legendary spots like El Pinto. The city also ranked highly for its coffee: if you can’t come in late March for the annual Chocolate and Coffee Fest, you can always sample the city’s pine-nut-accented brews at the New Mexico Pinon Coffee Company. These New Mexicans got props from readers for being athletic; you can join local foodies on the chile, brewery or winery tours offered by Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours.

  • 5. Minneapolis/St. Paul

    The Twin Cities clearly offer a calm haven for savoring your meal: readers ranked the cities highly for feeling relatively quiet, clean and safe. The nerve center for Minneapolis food snobs, though, is the North Loop’s Spoon and Stable—helmed by the former executive chef at NYC’s Café Boulud—where you can get heartland twists on fine dining, like bison tartare. If your taste runs to the quirky, check out Gyst, which celebrates “the art of fermentation” through sandwiches (like grilled cheese with spicy kraut, or peanut butter with kimchi) and house-made “kombucha,” a fermented sweet tea. Meanwhile, if you’re a burger purist, the local Juicy Lucies—with the cheese melted inside the patty, like the standard-bearers at the 5-8 Club and Matt’s Bar—belong on your bucket list.

  • 4. Atlanta

    The Georgia hub scored big points for keeping its Southern fare au courant. It ranked highly for diners, for instance—like the upscale Buckhead Diner, which does Kobe beef hot dogs, Niman Ranch pork chops and a veal-and-mushroom meatloaf. You can’t go wrong, though, with the classic fried chicken, followed by peach cobbler at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, an institution since 1945 (when female-owned eateries were dubbed “tea rooms”), and where today a hostess still offers back rubs at your table. The city also ranked well for its 21st-century food halls, likeKrog Street Market, where you can nosh from vendors like charcuterie The Cockentrice and the small-batch chocolates at Xocolatl. The city makes it easy to create your own tea-room vibe back at home: according to readers, Atlanta excels in antique and home decor shopping.

  • 3. Kansas City

    Readers may associate Kansas City primarily with its classic barbecue (the city beat out Memphis and all the Texas cities in the survey for ribs and such this year), but the city is more than just burnt ends. It also ranked fifth for fine dining—like Bluestem, helmed by a 2013 James Beard winner, and The American, which Beard himself helped open in the ‘70s. To taste the city’s newest takes on barbecue, try Cleaver & Cork, in the Power & Light District, which was launched by the folks behind artisanal butcher The Local Pig. Eating well in Kansas City need not involve a huge investment, either; it won the survey for feeling affordable.

  • 2. Providence, Rhode Island

    Ranking highly in the survey for its pedestrian-friendly streets and cool architecture, the Rhode Island capital makes it easy to work up an appetite. The city also landed at No. 2 for its legendary street food—like Haven Brothers, which serves lobster rolls, fries and shakes next to City Hall until 4 a.m.—and the local “grilled” pizza, perhaps topped with spicy soppressata at downtown’s Bacaro. To see why the city won the survey for bakeries, go to the Scialo Brothers Bakery, which first opened in 1916, and order one of the beloved sfogliatelle—a seashell-shaped cookie made with paper-thin layers of dough and sweet cream. The locals, meanwhile, won the survey for seeming geeky.

  • 1. Houston

    The business-travel hub staged a Texas-sized upset this year, winning the food category by offering an irresistible combination of refined tastes and downhome comfort. The city ranked at No. 1 in three separate food categories: burgers, brunch, and specialty food shops (likeRevival Market, where local gourmands stock up on artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and house-made pickles and jams). Houston also knows how to break free of American-style convention: one hot new place, Dak & Bop, does Korean-style fried chicken with spicy sauces, paired with blackberry chili margaritas. Speaking of burgers, though, it’s hard to leave town without enjoying one of the old-school, mustard-laced big boys at Lankford Grocery, or the acclaimed 3-oz. sliders at Little Bigs in the Museum District, which also offers a respectably long wine list—after all, the city ranked at No. 3 for vino.

    Read the original list HERE.

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TIME Travel

These Are America’s Quirkiest Cities

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Jack W. Hoffberger

The list shows how a city can be nicely shaped by its kookiest denizens

To Caitlin Sandburg, her hometown of San Francisco provides a safe haven—for oddballs.

“Once you’ve been here long enough, nothing surprises you,” says the hospitality exec. “Whether it’s a naked person walking down the street, someone dressed in full drag, or ‘Burning Man’ types, no one really raises an eyebrow. Being a freak here is so normal.”

Even so, according to Travel + Leisure readers, there are five cities in the nation that have more weird people than the City by the Bay. In this year’s America’s Favorite Cities survey—in which readers ranked 38 cities for features such as romance, thrift shops, craft beers and, indeed, quirky locals—the results show how a city can be nicely shaped by its kookiest denizens.

One top five city, for instance, offers a hotel fashioned out of a former psychiatric hospital and donuts sprinkled with faux meth. Another winner is famed for its offbeat bars—like the one decorated for Christmas year round, or another that regularly holds armadillo races.

Onward, to the cities with the most kooks per capita.

20. Atlanta

They may not be perceived as showy—readers sized them up as being both hip and aloof—but Atlantans are increasingly coming out of their shells, at least for a good parade. The annual Lantern Parade—part of September’s Art on the BeltLine exhibit, along the revamped railroad corridor—attracts some 20,000 lantern-toting participants. Despite the evening parade, the well-dressed locals seem to be morning people, since the city ranked well for both diners and brunch. For a quirky, only-in-the-South brunch, try the West Egg Café, which serves breakfast all day on Sundays (dubbed Brinner in the evening) and on Friday nights offers amazing chicken-and-waffle variations—with, say, pimento cheese and bacon or habanero-infused maple syrup.

19. Louisville, Kentucky

The Kentucky city may be a newcomer to the list, but it’s giving other weird cities a run for their money. For starters, this is the birthplace of the annual Lebowski Fest, the now-national celebration of the Coen brothers cult-favorite bowling film. To bowl on your own, go to Vernon Lanes, which has been a local hangout for more than a century and (with 300 bourbons on the menu) is a stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail. The city also ranked well for burgers; at Game, you can choose among patties made of kangaroo, antelope, or wild boar. In the case of Louisville, quirky does not equate with cluttered: the city also made the top 10 for feeling clean.

18. Philadelphia

Some might say there is something odd about a city that honors a big, broken bell—but Philadelphia thrives on history, and not just the kind associated with the founding fathers. You can appreciate the old, abnormal body parts on display at the medically oriented Mutter Museum or the creepy walkways of the Eastern State Penitentiary (once home to Al Capone), where you can also take the kids on a fun scavenger hunt. The city’s nerve center for local quirky types, though, is Fishtown, where you’ll find a nice example of why Philly won the bronze medal for pizza: Pizza Brain has pies like the oddly named Felix Huppert (Gruyère and caramelized onion) and the Buffy Ernst (blue cheese and Buffalo wing sauce), and a collection of pizza-themed vinyl records. Readers felt that Philly locals embody an ironic combination: loving sports without seeming to be athletic themselves.

17. Los Angeles

In this show-business town, you need to stand out to get ahead—like the buff exhibitionists in Venice or the spendy fashionistas in Beverly Hills. Even the highly ranked bakeries hustle to set themselves apart: at Gjusta, in Venice, you can pick up baklava croissants (Cronuts are solast year) and rabbit terrines. Otherwise, readers applaud L.A. for its nightclubs and wild weekend atmosphere. Hot nightlife hubs these days include the ’70s-themed bar Good Times at Davey Wayne’s in Hollywood and artisanal-cocktail-rich The Edison, located in downtown’s former power plant. For another version of “wild,” don’t miss the performance art going on at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which is also the final resting place of stars like Rudolph Valentino and Estelle Getty.

16. Nashville

Before this Tennessee city was the country-music capital, it had a classical bent—as in, ancient Greece. The city’s Parthenon—built in 1897 and filled with American paintings—may seem a little out of place here, but it’s also the only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in the world. And while Music City has had an increasingly broad definition of museums since then (like the memorabilia-lined restaurant Cooter’s Place, paying tribute to The Dukes of Hazzard), the city has also generated plenty of museum-worthy legends—like the late George Jones, whose own museum will open here this spring. Readers also loved the city’s dive bars, like Santa’s Pub—located in a trailer near the fairgrounds and run by a guy who looks like another legend. Speaking of jolly, Nashville locals ranked as some of the most affable people in the U.S.

Read the full list HERE.

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TIME Travel

16 of the Coolest Light Phenomena Around the World

These natural wonders are totally worth designing a trip around

Simple science may explain the phenomena, but when it comes to natural light shows—be they in ravines in Arizona or caves in New Zealand—the effect is nothing short of magical. From forest fireflies in Japan to the violent, “everlasting” Catacumbo Storm in Venezuela to NYC’s own “Manhattanhenge,” these 16 natural wonders are totally worth designing a trip around.

  • Phytoplankton at Mudhdhoo (Vaadhoo) Island, Maldives

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    Nature Picture Library / Alamy

    There are few places left in the world where bioluminescent phytoplankton are plentiful enough to create this light spectacle. As a defense mechanism, the phytoplankton glow blue when disturbed or agitated, creating a “stellar” display on the shoreline at night. There are other places where this can be seen (Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon and Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays in Fajardo and Vieques, for example), but the luminescence has been dimmer in recent years. Chemicals in things like sunblock and bug spray are potentially damaging, so, if visiting, please be mindful.

  • Antelope Slot Canyon in Page, Arizona

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    Michele Falzone / AWL Images

    The slithering passages of the slot canyons are stunning in and of themselves, but when you add the light that sneaks through the slight openings in the rocks above, the color play (a mesh of oranges, reds, and purples) is particularly captivating. Tours through the slot canyons happen daily, but prime viewing hours are typically between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Visitors should check with the reservations line when booking, as the vividness of the scene varies throughout the year. Tip for photographing: visitors often kick up sand to get a more opaque spotlight.

  • Great Getu Arch in Getu Valley, China

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    Courtesy of Guizhou Tourism

    The Great Getu Arch is essentially a beam of sunshine that breaks through a massive limestone formation, though there is some speculation as to the validity of the phenomenon: it’s long been touted as rare and unpredictable, though some believe the images are, in fact, Photoshopped. A marketing director for the company who spoke with a photographer who’s shot there said the ray goes through the arch in the morning during the spring and fall. Blogs claim the phenomenon happens in the morning hours between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on clear days. It’s also worth noting that the light has also been seen shooting up from arch, one of the largest limestone arches in the world.

  • “Fire Falls” in California’s Yosemite National Park

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    Courtesy of Chris Falkenstein

    Imagine a wall of fire trickling down the face of a cliff. That’s the best way to describe the annual light phenomenon at California’s Yosemite National Park. Around the vernal equinox, the park’s Horsetail Falls—a waterfall on the side of the infamous El Capitan rock formation—glows a bright orange. The exact timing of the Fire Falls is hard to predict, but one of the most convenient places to witness it is on Northside Drive, approximately 1.7 miles past Yosemite Lodge at the Falls in the El Capitan picnic area. Claim your spot early in the afternoon; by sunset you’ll be surrounded by rows of photographers with tripods.

  • Aurora Borealis in Alberta’s Jasper National Park

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    Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy

    When going to see the Northern Lights, most flock to the Scandinavian countries, though there are a lot of great North American spots to witness the phenomenon: the forests in Fairbanks, Alaska and the National Parks of Alberta, to name a few. In fact, Alberta is home to the world’s two largest dark sky preserves: Jasper National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park, where the iridescent light dances across the sky in winter when the weather is dry, skies are clear, and solar activity is at its most active.

  • Naga Fireballs along the Mekong River in Thailand and Laos

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    Ian Trower / Alamy

    Every fall, reddish “balls” of light of varying sizes rise from the Mekong River up to 100 meters in the air. Then, they explode and disappear. Known as “bung fai paya nak” or “Naga fireballs,” the event has most often occurred in late autumn during the full moon, at the end of the Buddhist Lent. It derives its name from the mythical serpent “Naga,” who haunts the river and breathes—what else?—great balls of fire. Mythology aside, for many years people believed the event could be explained by methane bubbles erupting below the river’s surface, but in more recent years, science has proven it to be a natural process in which flammable phosphine gas builds up on the riverbed, often peaking in October.

  • Blue Grotto – Capri, Italy

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    Katsuhiro Yamanashi/Aflo/Corbis

    Famous? Yes. Touristy? Yes. Still, a dream-like light phenomenon worth witnessing in person? Absolutely. Along the coast of the island of Capri in southern Italy, sunlight passes through an underwater cavity and shines through the seawater, creating a pretty blue illumination inside the cave. The cavity’s opening is tiny—less than a meter high—so visitors take a four-passenger rowboat into the grotto, often waiting several minutes until tides are low enough to paddle through the opening. The best time to go? Between noon and 2 p.m. on a sunny day. (Cloudy days won’t have the same impact.) The grotto has been fascinating visitors since antiquity, even before Emperor Tiberius dedicated the cave to sea nymphs. Even in later centuries sailors avoided it for fear of spirits and sea demons. Fair warning: some visitors are disappointed by the whole experience. It takes about one to two hours to get there by boat ride, often for just 10 to 15 minutes inside the cave.

  • Marfa Lights in Marfa, Texas

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    RGB Ventures / SuperStock / Alamy

    Accounts of strange and unexplained lights just outside this high desert city began during the 19th century. Glowing orbs—red, white, and sometimes blue—appear in the desert near Route 67 on Mitchell Flat, though the official Marfa Lights Viewing Area is nine miles east of town on Highway 90. The event occurs randomly throughout the night, no matter the season or the weather. Some think the lights are UFOs, others say they’re the atmospheric reflections of nearby cars and campfires.

  • The Everlasting Storm near the Catatumbo River in Venezuela

    With lightning striking up to 280 times an hour, 10 hours a day, 160 nights a year, the so-called Everlasting Storm takes place where Venezuela’s Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo. Often referred to as the “Lighthouse of Maracaibo,” the area is considered to be the world’s largest single generator of tropospheric ozone. Here’s the gist: heat and moisture collect across the plains to create electrical charges with storm clouds over 5 km high. Then, as the air masses are destabilized at the mountain ridges, continuous thunderstorm activity continues as a result for most of the year. In January 2014, the phenomenon was officially entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of lightning strikes per square kilometer per year, at 250.

  • The Hessdalen Light in Hessdalen Valley, Norway

    Strange light activity in this small valley in central Norway appears to peaked in the early 1980s, when sometimes hundreds of light orbs and fireball-like streaks (some as large as cars) could be seen dancing across the sky 15 to 20 times a week. Since then activity has decreased, but, at times, the lights can still be seen for more than an hour. It has intrigued scientists for years, so much so that, in 1998, an automated research station was built to monitor the appearances. The event is likely explained by the relationship between the valley’s electromagnetic field and its overall geologic makeup.

  • Light Poles in very cold cities like Laramie, Wyoming

    This phenomenon—known as light poles or light pillars—can be extremely hard to predict, as several factors need to be in alignment in order for them to occur. The location must be a relatively large city or town—like Laramie, Wyoming (population 31,000)—with bright lights at night. It must be extremely cold, -4 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. There must be no wind (or very slow wind), and tiny ice crystals must be present in the atmosphere. The ice fog reflects the light into pole-like streaks.

  • Green Flash in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands

    At the precise moment that the sun melts into the horizon on the ocean during a sunset, lucky spectators may see a “green flash” along the horizon. It lasts no more than a few seconds, so it’s incredibly difficult to photograph. While cruising the remote Galapagos Islands of Ecuador where open ocean sunsets are the norm, naturalist guide Ivan Lopez jokes with guests that only those “in love” will see the green flash. Love aside, essentially the atmosphere acts like a weak prism, refracting the light of the sun and causing the light to separate out into different colors of the spectrum, green and blue being the most frequently seen at sunset. The event is not exclusive to the Galapagos; it’s also frequently seen in the Caribbean along the two-by-five mile Dutch island of St. Eustatius, for example.

  • Manhattanhenge in New York City

    Twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice, the sun sets in perfect alignment with the east-west streets of Manhattan. “Manhattanhenge,” as its commonly known, refers to Stonehenge, England’s inexplicable prehistoric rock formation. Also known as “Manhattan Solstice,” the first event occurs around May 28, while the second occurs around July 12. The most impressive, however, occurs in between the dates when you can look west down the centerline of, say, 34th Street, and see the full solar disk slightly above the horizon nestled perfectly among the skyscrapers.

  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves in Auckland, New Zealand

    In New Zealand, visitors can take a boat to a limestone cave, where lights sparkle in every direction like the night sky filled with stars. Sounds pretty romantic, no? Well it is romantic, despite the fact that it’s all caused by an army of tiny worms and larvae. The stunning inlet, part of the Waitomo Caves system on the North Island of New Zealand, is a must-see-to-believe phenomenon and an adventure from start to finish. Tours begin with a short hike through various cave formations including the Banquet Chamber, Pipe Organ and Catacombs, until finally taking a boat ride to the grand finale, the Glowworm Grotto, where the only light emits from living creatures, the Arachnocampa luminosa, or glowworms, which are exclusive and endemic to New Zealand.

  • Forest Fireflies in Nagoya City, Japan

    In the forests of this Japanese city, fireflies waltz through the forest attracting their mates, lighting up the night sky with mini sparks in the process. The best time to catch them is during rainy season (June through July).

  • Blue Volcano in Danakil, Ethiopia

    This cerulean eruption takes place in the Danakil Depression, a low-lying plain in Ethiopia. At dusk, the glow comes from the combustion of sulfuric gases that pushes through the cracks of the volcano. When they come into contact with the air, they ignite and can send electric blue flames more than 16 feet in the air.

    Read the original list HERE.

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These Are America’s Best Tearooms

samovar-tea-lounge-san-francisco
Cesar Rubio

The locations range from New York City to Colorado

When it comes to quality tea, it’s easy to consign expertise to England or China, and while, yes, the brewing tradition is indelibly braided into the cultural fabric of those locales (and has been for centuries), there’s much to say about the tea tradition in the United States. After all, the country was basically founded on a little incident in Boston that involved 92,000 pounds of the stuff.

We drink it in sickness and in health. In summer and in winter. It’s truly a global brew. Whether it’s an exotic and expensive Pu-erh from Yunnan, China or a simple pot of English Breakfast to warm up a winter morning, there are great offerings at tearooms, salons, parlors, and houses all around America. And the settings just might surprise you. Read on for the best in these United States, from chintz-coated houses in West Palm Beach, Florida to artisanal fare in Portland, Oregon.

Serenity Garden Tea House, West Palm Beach, FL

Spliced between the palm trees and luxury towers that have come to define West Palm Beach sits an attraction of an entirely different color. Serenity Garden Tea House is everything traditional: Victorian place settings, bone china, polished silver, and lace-covered tables. Whether one goes for High Tea or the more formal Afternoon Service, a major highlight is Serenity Garden’s own pineapple and coconut black tea—perhaps the place’s one and only indication of its proximity to turquoise waters and Caribbean flavors.

Biddie’s Coach House, Dublin, OH

Built as a family home in the 1830s (just a few decades after the Ohio town was founded), the structure that now houses Biddie’s Coach House is now chock-a-block with charm and quirk: mismatched teacups, tiny tables next to sunny windows, and your more expected finger sandwiches. Visitors enjoy a full Victorian tea service, complete with quiche and scones with Devonshire cream and all overlooking the green lawns. Another bonus: the place can accommodate parties of up to 25.

Townshend’s Tea Company, Oregon and Montana

Townshend’s celebrates the nerdy side of tea—but without pretension. Their five locations offer an inviting atmosphere (read: rough wood accents, cozy couches, and, yes, outlets) as well as monthly tea tasting classes for $10. What’s more, the outposts create their own line of distilled “tea spirits.”

“We are actually fermenting tea and distilling it, rather than simply blending tea with vodka,” says VP of Operations Jake Gano, who calls the results “extremely smooth.”

Cha-An, NYC

There’s usually a wait to enter this tiny East Village spot, and Cha-An’s strong green teas and beloved Japanese toasts should be blamed. The Genmaicha brown rice tea pairs well with the zenzai dessert, made with mochi ice cream and “sweet red-bean porridge.” Also good: the flan, which changes by season, or the black sesame crème brûlée.

Steeping Room, Austin, TX

Beyond its 130 loose-leaf teas, Austin’s Steeping Room prides itself its three distinct service themes: Century Oaks, a more traditional European/American afternoon of scones and teacake, the Middle Eastern Kasbah Express, which offers hummus and grapes drizzled with rosewater-infused honey, and a Japanese tea, with spring rolls and a matcha-dusted, ganache brownie. Co-founder Amy March says the space—airy, in neutral tones—is meant to be culturally neutral so visitors can “create their own experience of tea culture with us.”

Read the full list HERE.

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These Are the Best Coffee Shops in America

voltage
Courtesy of Voltage

These places offer more than a great cup of coffee

Beyond the coffee, there are many things that make a great college coffee house: outlet accessibility, the quality of the live events, the friendliness of the folks who work there (and their taste in music), and the quality of the seating, to name a few. Some, like the campus favorites on this list, have added perks: a killer vegan breakfast burrito, a cup of coffee for $1, or a hot chai latte made with Aztec chocolate bitters. Read on.

Atticus in New Haven, Connecticut

Located on bustling Church Street near Yale, Atticus is distinguished by its sparse aesthetic and well-curated companion bookstore. Travelers will want to pick up their own copy of the Atticus Guide to New Haven, complete with a map documenting nearby sites of note. Other high points: the black bean soup, the cranberry pecan French toast, and a fine cup of coffee to-go for $1.

Plein Air Café in Chicago

Located next to one of the largest academic bookstores in the United States (the Seminary Co-op) and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, the Plein Air is the perfect rest stop between. The décor is all repurposed wood, fresh flowers, and a touch of taxidermy (it’s cute, not creepy), and the Royal Pies are hearty and warm. Basically the stop has everything one needs before exploring the Windy City on a cold day.

Indie Coffee in Madison, Wisconsin

Just a few blocks away from the University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium there’s Indie Coffee, where one can participate in a poetry slam, check out live music (Jason Mraz stopped by once), and eat one of the six specialty waffles. Butcher-block tables and tiny lamps provide the backdrop for planning your next trip or just catching up on email. The patio out back is a down-tempo place to relax in the warmer months.

Volta Coffee in Gainesville, Florida

People-watching from the window is a major entertainment here, one that rivals Volta Coffee’s drinking chocolates, some of which incorporate chipotle chiles, cardamom, and, on occasion, Mexican cornmeal. Regular events include weekly coffee cuppings on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and readings from writers in the University of Florida’s M.F.A. program.

Ugly Mug Café & Coffee Roasters in Seattle

Look up as you enter to see this café’s titular “ugly mug.” The low-key University of Washington favorite is a nice alternative to some of the noisier cafés along nearby University Way (known locally as the Ave), and its lavender chai and green tea latte are both exceptional options on a gray day. The Ugly Mug’s décor is basic, but in these fertile lands of coffee shops, that plainness is actually part of its charm.

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The Coolest Pools in the World

travel-and-leisure-worlds-coolest-plunge-pools-four-seasons-bora-bora
Trey Ratcliff

Whatever your taste and budget, there’s a private plunge pool out there to suit you

The modern traveler is increasingly difficult to impress; classic luxury perks like high-thread-count linens, plush bathrobes, and even beautiful views have become a given. But there’s one hotel amenity that never fails to delight even the most seasoned traveler: the in-room plunge pool.

There’s something about having your own private pool that can’t help but feel indulgent. Perhaps it’s the convenience of not having to fight for a lounge chair, or the ease of having cool turquoise waters mere steps from your bedroom. Maybe it’s the sheer pleasure of soaking in absolute privacy, uninterrupted, at any hour you please. Whatever it is, the in-room private plunge pool remains the ultimate luxury.

At many top properties, private pools have graduated from a luxury perk to a suite’s pièce de résistance. At the Ladera Resort in St. Lucia, they’re the focal point of every villa—perched on cliff’s edge, like waterfalls cascading into the Caribbean Sea a thousand feet below. At the Conrad Maldives, they’re the centerpiece of select overwater bungalows, jutting dramatically over the Indian Ocean.

They’re not exclusive to breezy island resorts, either: at India’s Lodhi boutique hotel, compact suites are outfitted with in-room pools overlooking the twinkling New Delhi skyline. In the heart of Cartagena, Colombia, courtyard splash pools at the Casa San Agustin offer leafy respite from the bustling urban surrounds, and at Hong Kong’s InterContinental Hotel, rooftop dips come with sunset vistas over busy Kowloon.

Budget-conscious travelers can get in on the action, too: at the Blue Lime Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, modest rooms with their own private saltwater pools start at only $85. And at Indonesia’s Novotel Bali, freestanding thatched-roof villas with courtyard pools go for as low as $290 during off-season. Whatever your taste and budget, there’s a private plunge pool out there to suit you.

Here are a few we suggest diving into.

Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, UT

Though this stylish Canyon Point resort is built around a spectacular negative-edge pool, six of its suites come with their own desert-facing infinity pools for added luxury. Mesa Suite pools come with private sky terraces and sweeping mesa views, and Desert Suites get larger pools overlooking the valley’s endless dunes and plateaus. In the signature Amangiri Suite, a 60-foot rectangular swimming area is built into a spacious outdoor terrace with daybeds and an alfresco dining area—so you can sleep and eat poolside, too.

Casa San Agustin, Colombia

Located in the heart of bustling Cartagena, this stylish boutique hotel feels like the Colombian pied-à-terre you wish you had: grand colonial architecture, lime-washed walls, terracotta tiles, and hip, earthy décor. A handful of its suites come with narrow plunge pools lined with jade tile—fashioned after the hotel’s larger communal pool—and sheltered by tall palms. The pool suites are worth the price: it’s like having your own secret oasis.

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

Set on a hidden bay in the East Vietnam Sea and accessible only by boat, this ultra-luxe resort takes privacy to a whole other level—which is necessary, considering you’ll be spending all of your time outdoors, alternating between lazy dips in your private plunge pool and sunbathing on the dramatic rock formation into which it’s been carved. Splurge on one of the five split-level Water Pool Villas, outfitted with large, sunset-facing pools that offer ocean access; just climb out of the pool and down a wooden ladder, right into the sea below.

Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos, Greece

The only thing more luxurious than an infinity pool overlooking the Aegean Sea is your very own private infinity pool overlooking the Aegean Sea. Naturally, each villa at this romantic Mykonos hotel has one, in addition to whitewashed walls, minimalist décor, four-poster beds, and spacious verandas outfitted with Jacuzzi tubs. Book the Diamond Villa, where your oversize ocean-view pool is built into a sumptuous outdoor living room.

La Reunión Golf Resort & Residences, Guatemala

With an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye, two infinity pools, and just 26 suites, La Reunión is a true luxury escape. Almost every suite boasts its own saltwater pool, from which you can take in views of the Pacific Ocean and the Agua, Pacaya, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes. Bonus: suites include hammocks to chill out in, too.

Read the full list HERE.

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These Are America’s Original Speakeasies

speakeasy-pittsburgh
Omni Hotels/Ed Massery/Ray Miles

Enjoy a drink or two at these bars carrying the clandestine 1920s glamour of the Prohibition Era

The thirst for neo-speakeasies—that is, vintage bars with atmospheres and cocktail menus to reflect the clandestine 1920s glamour of the Prohibition Era—has not abated in the years since the first, Milk & Honey, opened on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As the contemporary speakeasy trend rages on, it seems apt to also celebrate the many American bars operating today that were actual speakeasies. San Francisco’s popular Bourbon & Branch, for example, was the location of JJ Russell Cigar Shop, which was a front for a speakeasy for 10 years. Impressively, it wasn’t raided once.

Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming

The Mint Saloon, which opened in 1907, was forced to rebrand because of Prohibition, becoming Mint Cigar Company and Soda Shop. However, that didn’t stop ranchers and cowboys, many of whom would actually ride their horse into the saloon, to imbibe stronger stuff in the back. Try The Ditch, a take on whiskey with water.

King Eddy in Los Angeles

The sign outside says that King Eddy Saloon was established in 1933, the year that Prohibition ended, but booze was flowing here long before then. Downstairs are the remnants of a tunnel that connected other liquor establishments in downtown Los Angeles in the early 1900s. Upstairs, however, is less speakeasy and more dive; most of the beers come in cans (including Miller Lite and PBR), with craft brews like North Coast Brewing Company’s Scrimshaw pilsner on tap.

Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco

While the names have changed, the conventions of 501 Jones St. haven’t; a bar has been operating here since 1867. During Prohibition it was under the guise of JJ Russell Cigar Shop and boasted all the secret entrances and exit tunnels one would hope for in an original speakeasy. The aura of secrecy from that era remains. You’ll have to make a reservation to get a password to enter and be escorted through some of those same secret doors. The ’20s-inspired cocktail menu changes regularly, since many of the ingredients are sourced locally, with offerings like gimlets, fizzes, and, of course, lots of gin. Per the house rules, there are no cell phones or photography allowed.

Townhouse & the Del Monte Speakeasy in Los Angeles

This speakeasy-themed bar is similar to how it was nearly a century ago, when it occupied the basement of a grocery store. (Menotti’s is now the upstairs Townhouse bar.) The turn-of-the-century-inspired decor and classic cocktails (try the Pisco Punch) are still an important part of the Del Monte Speakeasy’s feel. Hit up the place on a “Red Light Wednesday,” when burlesque performers take the stage.

McGillin’s Olde Ale House in Philadelphia

As one of America’s oldest bars, the McGillin’s Olde Ale House, which opened in 1860, survived the Civil War, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The story goes that during Prohibition, Ma McGillin locked the front door and swore not to unlock it until it was over. Of course, that didn’t stop her from unlocking the side door, where it’s suggested that patrons entered to enjoy a very, very strong tea. Today it’s largely a brewpub, featuring a long list of craft, domestic, and international beers, as well as its own house beers, including an IPA and lager. McGillin’s also has a mean martini menu, and every year on Dec. 5, the anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, the bar serves a “marteani” in a teacup, a nod to the cunning of Ma McGillin.

Read the full list HERE.

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What to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled Due to Weather

It's everyone's nightmare, but there are practical ways to cope with it

Looking for quick solutions to your travel concerns? Our resident expert Amy Farley has the facts with Travel + Leisure’s Trip Doctor Challenge.

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: being trapped in the airport after a storm has canceled your flight plans. Today’s Trip Doctor Challenge video reveals how to handle travel problems when the weather takes a turn.

If you’re stuck at the airport because of a storm, follow these tips:

Firstly, get busy. You have to be your own advocate: Go online, get on the phone, and step in line to get yourself rebooked. You can also try calling the airline’s international reservations desk—or, if you have access, speaking to the agents at an airport lounge.

Help your case by knowing if there are alternate seats available on other planes. For this, use the Seat Availability function on the website FlightStats.com.

You’ll also want to consider alternate airports to get home. You can always pick up a rental car and drive the rest of the way. Travel insurance should cover the cost of the rental.

And finally, get comfortable. You can usually buy a day pass to an airport lounge for about $50. Try Gateguru to locate the best airport bars and restaurants for waiting out a delay. Worst-case scenario? Use the Hotel Tonight app to find a great last-minute deal on a stylish hotel room.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

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These Are the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

american-airlines-kit
Courtesy of American Airlines American Airlines First Class Kit

This latest generation of kits is filled with items to surprise and delight

It’s good to be a premium-class flier for reasons large (ample seating) and small (these amenity kits).

Among the small yet profound joys of flying in a premium-class seat is opening the amenity kit to see what’s inside. And these days, you can expect much more than a collapsible toothbrush and earplugs.

Amenity kits are just one of the many details attracting the attention of airlines—eager to entice those lucrative first- and business-class passengers. Some airlines are tempting them with collectible cases that can be snagged only on certain routes, while others are recruiting top designers and brands to create goodie bags worth keeping.

Luxury labels like Ferragamo and Bulgari often lend their cachet to the bags, whether supplying a travel-size bottle of cologne, an exclusive lip balm, or a cheeky eye mask warning flight attendants: “Beware, I sleep walk.” Etihad, meanwhile, has partnered with Sougha, a group that supports local UAE artisans, to weave bags given out to all fliers, even those in economy.

Since the first amenity kits appeared in the 1950s (then known as RONs, as in “remain over night” kits), travelers have been eagerly rummaging through them. This latest generation of kits is filled with items to surprise and delight—from international and domestic carriers who know just how to pamper the fliers in front.

American Airlines First Class Kit

American Airlines provides first-class passengers with practical yet stylish kits by Eames, the American design group known for chic office spaces. The padded 8×10 bag is printed with the iconic Eames dot design—and doubles as a tablet case. What’s inside? Dermalogica skin products, including nail treatment and hand cream, a minty lip balm, a moist toilette, plus a microfiber cloth to clean your device’s screen before stowing it for landing.

Air France La Première Amenity Kit

Jet-setters who book one of only four private suites on Air France’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft get to lounge on a 6.5-foot-long bed, swathed in merino wool blankets and cotton sleep suits. They’re also each gifted with a leather cosmetics bag by French brand Givenchy. It’s filled with Biologique Recherche products: face cream, anti-fatigue roll-on treatment for eyes, an eye mask, and an oshibori towel.

Air New Zealand Business Premier Class Kit

Air New Zealand embraces its laid-back, quirky personality—evident in its viral in-flight safety videos and its latest amenity kit. This slim, gray felt pouch holds Clarins HydraQuench cream and lip balm as well as Pippi Longstocking–esque striped socks. The eye masks feature witty messages ranging from “Sleeping beauty” to “Are we there yet?” and “Beware, I sleep walk.”

British Airways Men’s and Women’s First

The sturdy wash bags in British Airways’s first-class cabins are stuffed with high-end beauty products (Aromatherapy Associates for women, London-based groomers The Refinery for men). Inside the women’s dusty-rose case, you’ll also find deodorant, a cotton wool pad, and a brush with a mirror attachment. The men’s steel-blue bag holds a similar arsenal of amenities, with the addition of a razor blade, shave gel, and eye cream.

Cathay Pacific First Class Female Travel Kit

When Cathay Pacific refreshed its first-class suites in 2013, it also revamped the amenity kits. The women’s Trussardi bag resembles a clutch purse; unfold the four-sided clutch to reveal hand, lip, and face creams from the Australian all-natural cosmetic line Aesop. There’s also a wooden compact brush worth pocketing. For men, Cathay Pacific supplies an Ermenegildo Zegna pouch full of Acca Kappa products along with a comb.

Read the full list HERE.

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