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Above: Heidelberg castle, with the market and ice skating rink in a Platz below
Christkindlmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt or Marché de Noëlwhatever the name, the game's the same. European Christmas Markets are several weeks of seeing cities at their best, festively decorated and with tasty seasonal specialties on offer. Travelers used to seeing Europe in summer are in for a shock, and perhaps a change of season preference, once the charm of winter takes hold of the historic city centers and the hot mulled wine is poured.
With so much magic in store across the continent, it can be difficult to chose just one or two cities for your winter market visit. Luckily we've narrowed it down, highlighting the most beloved markets for the 2014 holiday season, in the countries with the most tradition behind the events:
Food Travel / Florida Travel / Winter Travel / Daytona Beach Travel / Beach Travel / Lists / Drinking Travel / → All Tags
The Daytona Beach area isn't exactly a cuisine scene, but any visitor willing to venture further than the nearest pizza place will quickly find that it should be. And now that we've shared when to go to Daytona Beach, it's time to discuss the food situation.
Most of our favorites ended up being outside the central downtown area, but easily reachable by rental car.
Daytona Beach has long been called the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” a title which can be both a blessing or curse depending on the time of year. One definite season of blessing is the depths of winter, when Spring Break is still far off and the day's most strenuous activity may be the walk from the beach or your hotel pool down a pier for dinner.
In fact, the city goes out of its way to make winter the best, and perhaps most family-friendly, time to visit Daytona Beach. Here's just a few events and festivals around which to base your upcoming travels:
Airline News / Special Flights / AvGeek / Air Berlin / North Pole Travel / Arctic Travel / Winter Travel / DUS / Germany Travel / Longyearbyen Travel / Northern Lights / Spitsbergen Travel / → All Tags
Hey, what are you doing on April 25, 2015? Chances are you probably aren't planning that far ahead quite yet, but when it comes to a flight to the North Pole, you kinda have to. Yeswe said a flight to the North Pole.
On that date, Air Berlin will see off an Airbus A330 full of intrepid travelers, all of whom are onboard for the purpose of viewing the Arctic tundra at altitudes both high and low. The flight departs Dusseldorf, Germany, for a 12-hour sightseeing journey, including passing through every time zone as the flight makes circles above the North Pole.
The flight may be 12 hours in length, but a healthy 5 of those hours will be spent sightseeing in the polar region. Tickets begin at 444 EUR ($556) per person, and are available from air events, who describe the routing thusly:
Videos / Iceland Travel / Reykjavik Travel / Akureyri Travel / Volcanoes / Winter Travel / → All Tags
This has really been Iceland's year.
A slew of movies have used the country's famous landscapes for their setting, the erupting volcano of Bardabunga has opened up new tourism experiences (so long as there's no ash cloud), and it just so happens that we went to Iceland ourselves for the first time this year.
Airfare Deals / Travel Deals / Europe Travel / Winter Travel / Budget Travel / Oneworld / Star Alliance / SkyTeam / → All Tags
Not tomorrow. Not even later tonight. Right now is prime time for purchasing flights from the US to Europe, across all three airline alliances.
A fare sale initiated by American Airlines/US Airways this morning quickly erupted into a full-scale fare war, and now economy roundtrips from cities around the US to cities around Europe and the UK are totaling between $400-$800, with the average fare around $680.
Our friends at TheFlightDeal, FareDealAlert, and airfarewatchdog have been on it from the start, tweeting a stream of tempting deals all day long, like $467 SFO - Dublin on US Airways and $664 DFW - Madrid on Delta.
Travelers in cities other than the usual cheap fare favorites of New York, LA and SF will be shocked to see some serious deals closer to home, flyable for travel dates throughout winter 2014 and into late spring 2015.
Here's a few of our favorites:
Holiday Travel / Ice Skating / New York City / Christmas Travel / Winter Travel / Sports Travel / → All Tags
What is the "official" start of the holiday season? While Christmas craziness is full swing come Thanksgiving, the real "spirit of the season" begins when NYC says it does, namely with the opening of the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. You can thank all the live morning shows broadcast around the Big Apple for that influence.
TodayOctober 13is the rink's opening day for the 2014-2015 winter season, and the landmark celebrated the occasion with an on-ice performance by ice dancing Olympics gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White before allowing the general public to strap on skates.
Fall Travel / Chicago Travel / ORD / Architecture Travel / Food Travel / Festival Travel / Events / Winter Travel / Holiday Travel / → All Tags
During the summer Chicago is a paradise of outdoor festivals, concerts, and events, but that doesn't mean the fun must be restricted to warm days. Chicago works with its weather to promote a range of activities throughout the year, well into turtleneck and mitten weather.
Here's our round-up of the best Chicago events during the fall and winter:
Airline Fees / Spirit Airlines / Holiday Travel / Winter Travel / Luggage / Baggage / Checked Baggage Fees / → All Tags
A new baggage feeyes another onewill hurt holiday season travelers this year, but only if you're flying notoriously fee-happy Spirit Airlines.
If you've booked or will book a flight on the budget airline after August 19. 2014 for travel between December 18, 2014 and January 5, 2015, be prepared to tack on $2 to each paid checked bag fee. They're calling it the "Temporary Holiday Bag Price Change," but we think it only hints at a proper permanent hike to come.
With the new $2 fee, carry-on bags (remember, Spirit charges for both carry-on and checked bags) will cost $37 each if purchased during booking, $47 during online check-in, $52 at the airport before security, and $102 at the gate. The first checked bag is actually a slightly better deal, charged at $32 each if purchased during booking, $42 during online check-in, $47 at the airport before security, and $102 at the gate. Overweight, oversize, extra bags, and their "$9 club" fees all differ, so check out their site for more, but remember to add the extra $2 on to each price.
Now that summer is on the cusp of winding down, it's definitely time to start thinking about winter getaways while the getting's good.
Travel To Do Good is currently booking a December trip to Montego Bay Jamaica with the goal of balancing relaxation with making a difference in the community.
Architecture Travel / Winter Travel / Spain Travel / Barcelona Travel / Finland Travel / Snow Travel / → All Tags
It's a must-do on a visit to Barcelona, and tourists can usually immediately identify the most iconic church the city has to offer: La Sagrada Familia. This Gaudi masterpiece stands tall in the metropolis and, despite the fact it's been 131 years since construction commenced, it still remains shrouded in safety tarps and scaffolding.
Now the Spaniards have a little competition thanks to some post-graduate students from Eindhoven University in the Netherlands and their quest to recreate the famous Gaudi structure in ice. This winter, the pair plans to carve an ice castle replica of the cathedral in Juuka, Finland, where the average temperatures hover around -4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
This winter has been a rough one for the northern hemisphere, with harsh winter conditions in the US and the dreariest of rainy seasons in Europe. Unfortunately the winter isn't over yet, so we're here to drop one big tip that's been a huge help to us as we travel during less than lovely weather: take care of your lips.
Frequent flying and the stress of switching time zones means lots of moisturizing to keep skin fresh and hydrated. It's just that we often overlook the importance of lips. Male or female, it doesn't matter. You need to have these two products in your toiletry kit: