This Week In Travel (Issue No. 38)
Thinking domestic or international for your next trip? It seems that Saudi Arabia is thinking a little bigger! The kingdom is ready for blastoff, having put down $1 billion on Richard Branson’s interstellar visions of travel. The Saudis have some seriously futuristic plans, with talk of a “space-centric entertainment industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” With Virgin Galactic’s ambitious goal for commercial space travel by the end of this year, they are certainly shooting for the stars.
While most would agree a $250,000 Virgin Galactic ticket is a little exclusive, the world’s only plus-sized resort is all about inclusion, catering solely to plus-sized travelers looking for a judgement-free vacation. Located in the Bahamas, ‘The Resort’ offers all the bells and whistles to make up to 24 guests more than comfortable including private beaches and steel-reinforced King-size beds. Mind you, you can expect bang for your buck with a $2700/night price tag and a 6-night minimum stay. All talk of quantity aside, the larger-than-life resort has seen enough success to warrant plans for a second branch on a neighboring island.
Finnair is also doing everything it can to avoid judgement after starting to weigh its passengers at check-in! The Finnish airline insists its bold and brazen data-collection is shame-free, and all about waging war on operational costs. With 180 passengers voluntarily stepping up to the plate, Finnair diplomatically explains weights will be used for “a more streamlined approach to fuel estimations.”
If you don’t want to hold your breath for Finnair’s featherweight fares, you’ve got every reason to consider a European getaway and say bonjour to shoulder season in France. French Novembers are no stranger to idyllic temperatures and a certain kind of tourist-free tranquility. With fares to Bordeaux, Nice and Paris just about as low as they get, all the more pennies for wine-tasting and feasting festivities in Bordeaux, or an Armistice Day outing under the Arc-de-Triomphe.
Yet not all destinations are all arms wide open and kisses on both cheeks; Catalonia’s struggle for independence might make Barcelona off the cards for the next little while. The UK’s Foreign Office seems to think so, with an eery warning for travelers to “exercise caution” in the face of the city’s political tempest. Despite El Prat Airport operating full-steam ahead, international flight bookings to Catalonia have fallen 22% since the start of October. Watch this space!
If revolutionary protests aren’t on your agenda, how about getting a taste for the Faroe Islands’ dramatic scenery on ‘Sheep View’? A local resident and her team of 5 camera-clad sheep have put the remote Danish archipelago firmly on the tourist trail after their efforts to include the islands on Street View. After seeing some seriously dramatic scenery, Google felt compelled enough to finish the job! With a Michelin-star restaurant and some jaw-dropping landscapes, the Faroe Islands have seen an influx of tourists after the sheepish stunt.
Photos may indeed be the greatest inspiration for travel, and National Geographic has started to leverage the magazine’s ultimate position. With the launch of National Geographic River Cruises the global brand is offering 8 itineraries to the geographically-inclined; seven scattered across Europe, and one lone cruise in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. These are no ordinary pool-side whimsical affairs; travelers are accompanied by a National Geographic expert, taught to take photos like a pro, and are bound for hikes, bike rides and all sorts of adventurous expeditions!