Tag: Travel

Italy Offers More €1 Houses, Now More Central In Gorgeous Village Close To Rome

Image via ID 225361451 © Giambattista Lazazzera | Dreamstime.com

The village of Maenza, around 40 miles southeast of Rome, is the most recent area to make some of its beautiful townhouses available for purchase for just €1 (US$0.85).

Maenza’s location is more central than areas previously offered up, like Sicily, which makes this offer particularly unique. And, it’s perfect if you’re after easy access to the city of Rome but not keen on dwelling in the heart of the bustle.

Around 100 properties are up for grabs in this scenic village, located on the top of the wild Lepini hills. Once an area for sheperds and tribes, the location boasts gorgeous views of the island of Sardinia and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

“Families and youths often leave town to move to larger homes in nearby cities and villas in the countryside, but there’s always some newcomer who takes their place so it’s balanced out,” Mayor Claudio Sperduti tells CNN.

“This is not a dying city,” he clarifies. “People still inhabit the old district but it needs a revamp, fresh oxygen.”

There’s a little bit of a catch, though—the residences are not ready for move-in straight away. The properties are dilapidated and require renovations. There’s also a deposit of €5,000 (US$5,900) to be made initially, but this can be refunded if the renovations are completed within three years.

Additionally, buyers are required to submit a detailed plan for renovations and their intentions for the property, if it will be residential or commercial. Families are especially encouraged to apply, as the village wants to discourage developers flipping for profit.

This “clearance sale” of single-euro properties is part of Italy’s plans to revive some of its quieter communities. Many houses, like the ones in Maenza, are falling into disrepair and would continue to sit abandoned if it wasn’t for this initiative.

It has also been reported that because of their state, the crumbling exteriors may also pose a risk to passersby if left unattended for too long.

An approximate cost of bringing the houses back to safe, habitable conditions would hover around €100 (US$118) per square meter for the average 50 to 70 square meter house, according to Sperduti.

In total, redoing the property would cost around €5,000 (US$5,900). This would include installing eco-friendly elements and fortifying against earthquakes.

”We’re taking it one step at a time. As original families get in touch and hand over to us their old houses, we place these on the market through specific public notices on our website to make it all very transparent,” Sperduti continues.

More information and details on applying can be found on their website.

[via New York Post, image via ID 225361451 © Giambattista Lazazzera | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415759/Italy-Offers-More-1-Houses-Now-More-Central-In-Gorgeous-Village-Close-To-Rome/

Keen to Visit 47 US National Parks? Algorithm Maps Out The Most Efficient Route

Image via ID 140260035 © Gillian08 | Dreamstime.com

There are 59 protected areas across the United States that are managed by the National Park Service, and these constitute the national parks.

12 of these are located off the mainland, in places like Alaska and Hawaii. But the other 47 can be visited in a single highly-efficient road trip, and someone has figured out exactly how.

For the most optimal American national parks experience, Dr. Randy Olsen, a data scientist and artificial intelligence researcher, has devised an algorithm to plan the most efficient trip. There’s no need to do any of the calculations yourself.

In total, around 14,500 miles will be covered and will require around at least two months to complete, speeding through “at a breakneck pace.” To be able to reap the rewards of the mammoth distance travelled, three or four months might be a more suitable timeframe.

This route has been designed to form somewhat of a circle, which means that any commuter can join in the route at the park nearest to them and carry on from there.

Image via Randal Olsen

Under his blog post, comments from seasoned travelers and those interested share tips on detours, other interesting sights that happen to be along the way, and how best to carry out this experience of a lifetime. It’s quite heartwarming.

One suggestion in particular is a detour through New York to Maine, which takes travelers off the interstate and through the mountains instead.

And if any of the areas don’t suit your fancy, Olsen also offers resources to help others map out their own routes using Python and Google Maps. For the less code-inclined, he also suggests a website to help with the effort.

A full list of the 47 parks covered can be found on Olsen’s website, and includes destinations like Mount Rainier, Washington, and the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.

[via Good News Network, images via Randal Olsen and ID 140260035 © Gillian08 | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415687/Keen-to-Visit-47-US-National-Parks-Algorithm-Maps-Out-The-Most-Efficient-Route/

British Airways To Offer Option To Carbon-Offset Flights & Use Sustainable Fuel

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Image by Stuart Bailey for British Airways, via British Airways Media Centre

In line with the new British Airways environmentally-friendly Better World program, the airline company has announced that a sustainable aviation fuel has been added to its carbon-offset plans.

For passengers, this means that when booking a flight, their journey can be offset. They have the option to donate to one of three offset projects, or can even choose to pay a bit more for their ticket so that 10% of their flight’s fuel can be composed of sustainable aviation fuel.

An example of pricing, as provided by Business Traveller, indicates that a return flight from London to Hong Kong would cost roughly £24 (US$33) to offset. However, the option for sustainable fuel covering 10% of gas will see the figure bumped up to £151 (US$208).

This comes as a result of a partnership between British Airways and tech company Velocys, building a commercial plant to convert household waste into renewed jet fuel. This, British Airways claims, reduces life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 100% in comparison with conventional fossil-based fuel. 

Working with Airbus, BA celebrates the launch of its “most important journey yet,” with a one-off livery on the A320neo aircraft, one of the company’s most fuel-efficient vehicles to date. Decked out in a light blue, it represents the color scheme for the BA Better World project, displaying the company’s commitment to the environment prominently.

Watch as one of our most fuel-efficient aircraft, the @Airbus A320neo, is given a new look to celebrate the launch #BABetterWorld #A320 #avgeek #Sustainability pic.twitter.com/8ueOkMXU0q

— British Airways (@British_Airways) September 8, 2021

Last, but not least, in the lineup of partnerships the Better World program has seen, British Petroleum (BP) is working with the aviation company to source enough SAF to cover all flights made between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. The summit will take place in Glasgow in November this year.

British Airways has also stated that its parent company, IAG, will invest around US$400 million into the development of sustainable aviation fuel. This comes after a commitment earlier this year to powering 10% of all flights with sustainable aviation fuel by the end of the decade.

[via Business Traveller, cover image by Stuart Bailey for British Airways, via British Airways Media Centre] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415664/British-Airways-To-Offer-Option-To-Carbon-Offset-Flights-Use-Sustainable-Fuel/

National Park Service Considers Installing Selfie Stations To Curb Overcrowding

Photo 132335822 © Joe Benning | Dreamstime.com

Nature was healing during lockdowns, and now that they have lifted, National Parks are taking on more than before the pandemic. The Guardian reports that Yellowstone received an all-time high of a million visitors in July, while visitors at Zion had to wait for four hours just for a hike.

As we had seen long before the coronavirus swept the world, some of the most precious landmarks have incurred significant, oft irreparable, damage as a result of high visitor numbers.

A number of parks have adopted some measures to manage greater crowds. For instance, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin state parks have installed selfie stations. The US National Park Service is now considering rolling them out to other parks, as well.

Posted by Iowa's County Conservation System on Monday, May 13, 2019

Although encouraging people to take selfies in a concentrated area might seem counterproductive, people are going to snap them from prime viewpoints anyway. What the National Park Service has in mind is to move visitors to a wider range of spots that aren’t so crammed but provide equally beautiful views nonetheless.

On top of that, allocating selfie zones would ensure a safer experience at the parks. People have fallen to their deaths in the past for the mere reason of pulling the perfect shot for the ’gram.

Importantly, building selfie stations is a quick and inexpensive solution for crowd control, as they will need nothing more than a sign and a phone holder pointing at a strategic angle. “They are getting used and they are low maintenance and easy to build,” Iowa’s County Conservation System head Tom Hazelton told the news outlet.

Other measures parks have taken include reservation systems, timed entries, and even putting up tickets for the lottery.

[via DIY Photography and The Guardian, cover photo 132335822 © Joe Benning | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415563/National-Park-Service-Considers-Installing-Selfie-Stations-To-Curb-Overcrowding/

Animals Have Obliviously Taken Over A Mini Village, But All They Want Is A Nap

Image via Babbacombe Model Village

Animals have been obstructing the traffic at this otherwise idyllic village, but its residents and tourists don’t seem to mind at all. That village is the Babbacombe Model Village and Gardens in Devon, UK, and it’s no stranger to the occasional giants taking over its spaces.

Built to illustrate English life and culture from the past six decades, the four-acre miniature world is home to 400 pieces of property—including houses, factories, shops, and entertainment venues—designed in architectural styles from medieval to Victorian. There, giant cats from visiting communities are known to pop by for a nap, swapping the usual cardboard box for a lush lawn as a hotel bed.

My Modern Met reports that, since Babbacombe is set in the outdoors, it frequently plays host to some adorable non-human travelers, like cats and ducks. This is when staff members find the opportunity to snap a picture to remember these celebrities by.

With a population of 13,000 miniature residents, the village might seem crowded at times, but it somehow manages to leave enough room for guests of all sizes.

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[via My Modern Met, images via Babbacombe Model Village] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415552/Animals-Have-Obliviously-Taken-Over-A-Mini-Village-But-All-They-Want-Is-A-Nap/

Louis Vuitton Debuts City Bicycles To Pedal You Around In Leisure & Luxury

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Image via Louis Vuitton

Looking for something a little more lightweight than the Dior Vespa? Although not any more affordable (they’re pricier than the scooter, in fact), Louis Vuitton’s brand-new line of urban bicycles will breezily take you through hard-to-reach pathways in style.

“A symbol of Parisian chic, the Louis Vuitton Bike is perfect for a two-wheel city adventure or a countryside exploration, inviting each curious cyclist, beginner or experienced, to explore horizons, comfortably meandering any landscape,” describes the luxury house. “The bicycle features signatures of the Maison, including a Monogram flower chainset and an interlocking ‘LV’ shaped frame.”

The two-wheelers are meticulously “​​crafted by hand and assembled” by century-old Parisian bicycle maker Maison TAMBOITE with charming back-to-front handlebars, a height-adjustable saddle, mechanical disc brakes, a two-speed crank, lighting at the saddle and frame, and tinted wood mudguards.

Since these are Louis Vuitton bikes, and losing one would be devastating, a GPS tracking chip is stashed beneath the saddle in case of a mishap.

What sets these bicycles apart from those for mere commoners are their little odes to the Louis Vuitton heritage, like the Louis Vuitton monogram wrapping, leather saddle, and luggage rack. This, of course, pushes their price point up the hill to an eye-watering US$28,900 to US$33,000.

The collection appeals to travelers of various tastes, too. There’s a vintage monogram version for sticklers of the classics, while contemporary colorways of lime yellow, red, white and black, blue Jacquard, and Damier Graphite add an animated pop of color to your adventures in the city.

Image via Louis Vuitton

Available in crossbar and step-through frame options, the bicycles can now be shopped online.

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Image via Louis Vuitton

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[via road.cc, images via Louis Vuitton] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415500/Louis-Vuitton-Debuts-City-Bicycles-To-Pedal-You-Around-In-Leisure-Luxury/

Museum Of Ice Cream Scoops Up First International Location In Sunshiny Singapore

Image courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream Singapore

In Singapore, where the climate is like summer all year, an ice-cold treat is always welcome. So when NYC’s famed Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) opened its doors in the sunny city-state, weekend slots were fully snapped up shortly after the first tickets went live.

MOIC Singapore, the museum’s first-ever international location, now keeps the historic enclave of Dempsey cool—for the lack of a better word—with 14 never-before-seen interactive installations. Guests can help themselves to unlimited servings of locally-inspired ice cream of taro milk tea and lychee flavors, and more, as they explore the museum’s 60,000-square-foot ground, which includes a café, bar, and a retail space.

Image courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream Singapore

Over here, responsibilities—and presumably, calories—don’t exist.

The icy-fresh location, decked in MOIC’s iconically cheerful pink, houses the brand’s largest-ever Sprinkle Pool too. And while it breaks conventions, the museum is a melting pot cone of tradition, combining Eastern and Western nostalgia under one roof; there’s the American-style Scream’s Diner and a beach-inspired California Dreamin, as well as structured furniture nodding at the nation’s Potong popsicles.

Image courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream Singapore

It’s also the home of ‘Mercone’, the museum’s mascot who’s part ice cream and part Merlion, which itself is part lion and part fish.

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MOIC Singapore is open from 10am to 11pm on Thursdays to Sundays. Tickets, starting from SG$38 (US$28), are currently available through December.

Image courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream Singapore

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[via Museum of Ice Cream Singapore] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415439/Museum-Of-Ice-Cream-Scoops-Up-First-International-Location-In-Sunshiny-Singapore/

Anthony Bourdain’s First Food & Travel TV Series Gets Released For Free Online

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Image via GoTravel

Anthony Bourdain may have ignited a taste for uncharted cuisines in a time when comfort meant home, but his passing in 2018 left a hole in the hearts of fans that will never be filled with meals he had been so fervent about.

And now—for a generation that had lived vicariously through his travels in No Reservations and Parts Unknown and younger viewers who have yet to—streaming channel GoTraveler has released Bourdain’s first-ever series, A Cook’s Tour, on YouTube for free. The program, no doubt overshadowed by his later achievements, offers a glimpse into the shaping years of possibly the world’s most respected yet relatable food writer and television presenter.

The food and travel series, originally broadcasted by Food Network, takes you about 20 years back to Bourdain’s earlier journeys in Japan, Portugal, Thailand, and more, where he’d indulge “his taste for local cuisine and eccentric characters.”

Full episodes of season one and two of A Cook’s Tour can be viewed for free here.

[via Open Culture, cover image via GoTravel] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415428/Anthony-Bourdain-s-First-Food-Travel-TV-Series-Gets-Released-For-Free-Online/

‘Napper’ At Orlando Airport Is A Statue So Realistic, Some May Not Look Twice

Image via Orlando International Airport

People who have traveled from the Orlando International Airport since 1986 might have noticed this napping, sunburnt fellow and his luggage at the same spot for years, but it’s not because he keeps missing his flights. The airport is actually his home, and he’s a statue.

The sculpture, entitled The Traveler, was created by American artist Duane Hanson. In his lifetime (Hanson passed on in 1996), he had completed two variations of the artwork, one belonging to the airport. The other shows the figure with an open Hawaiian shirt, revealing a potbelly.

The artist was reputed for using everyday people as muses to create lifelike statues like this bronze sculpture polychromed in oil.

If not for its glass enclosure, visitors might not have even batted an eyelid when walking past the statue. As he continues to sleep, The Traveler has unwittingly become the subject of public astonishment, thanks to a viral TikTok video showing the hyperrealistic artwork. “Who else always thinks this guy is real at the Orlando airport?” TikTok user Marvelous Mouse Travels asks.

If you need to look for him, the unknowing celebrity can be located between the East and West security points of the Terminal A concourse. Just try not to disturb his rest.

This is not a middle-aged guy tired from traveling – it’s a bronze sculpture in an airport. from



Anyone else think this guy is real? #marvelousmousetravels #mmtravels #airport #travel #vacation #orlandoairport #travelagency

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod

Ha! Sorry he was too tired to wake up and say hi this morning. 😘 pic.twitter.com/HB4FSqEv0G

— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) August 19, 2021

[via r/Pics and Newsweek, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415360/Napper-At-Orlando-Airport-Is-A-Statue-So-Realistic-Some-May-Not-Look-Twice/

Take A Trip Back In Time Aboard Vintage 20th Century Limited Train In New York

Image via Hudson River Rail Excursions

This fall, New Yorkers and those visiting the city will be able to take a trip back in time on a historic train car that was once part of 20th Century Limited. The railway line, which has featured in the musical On The Twentieth Century, used to run between New York and Chicago.

In October, its last remaining passenger car, the Hickory Creek, will make a shorter voyage to Albany and back. Joining it will be another vintage train car, named the Tavern-Lounge No 43, in three highly-anticipated day trips, as per Time Out New York.

Image via Hudson River Rail Excursions

Passengers can choose from two “classes of service,” the first for US$299, which buys you a ticket on the Hickory Creek with a four-course meal prepared by a chef onboard. Beer and wine will also be available throughout the journey, so it’ll feel extra luxe. Guests will also be able to tour the Tavern-Lounge No 43 during the return trip.

For a more affordable option, the US$149 ticket allows you to ride on the Tavern-Lounge No 43 car, which has 28 lounge seats as well as diner-style seating and a bar. Passengers will be served catered sandwiches and sides, buffet-style.

All trips will depart from the newly-constructed Moynihan Train Hall, at which passengers will have access to Amtrak’s new Metropolitan Lounge. Thinking of travelling like aristocrats of the past? Tickets go on sale August 20 here.

Image via Hudson River Rail Excursions

Image via Hudson River Rail Excursions

Image via Hudson River Rail Excursions

[via Time Out New York, images via Hudson River Rail Excursions] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415318/Take-A-Trip-Back-In-Time-Aboard-Vintage-20th-Century-Limited-Train-In-New-York/

‘Hammock Bed’ Nearly 1,000 Ft Above Ground Might Trigger Your Dreams Of Falling

Video screenshot via Wansheng Ordovician Theme Park

If you’re the sort who could just fall asleep anywhere, how about lying in a bed 300 meters (984 feet) above ground?

Being just a bed, this ‘hammock bed’ might be one of the mildest attractions you can find at the Wansheng Ordovician Theme Park in Chongqing, China, reputed for its thrilling features that aren’t for people with a fear of heights—including a gap bridge, a see-through glass bridge, and a cliff swing.

A heart-stopping video taken by an employee of the park shows two women coolly resting on a hammock that’s harnessed to a rope. “Good night!” a voice can be heard calling out to them.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem like the women were meant to be there the whole night, because actually sleeping almost 1,000 feet up above with minimal support would be a nightmare. What if your phone falls on your face as you doze off, then bounces off it and takes a nosedive? What happens if you need to pee? What if a bird mistakes your agape mouth as something else and decides to “refresh” itself? So many questions.

Swaying gently with the breeze, this would make for a weightless rest—albeit a terrifying one. Talk about sleeping light.

Sleeping in a bed 300m above the ground

Could you get a relaxing night's sleep in this bed? 😱

Posted by Metro on Tuesday, August 10, 2021

[via Storyful / Yahoo and Metro UK, cover image via Wansheng Ordovician Theme Park] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415194/Hammock-Bed-Nearly-1-000-Ft-Above-Ground-Might-Trigger-Your-Dreams-Of-Falling/

Titanic Museum’s Iceberg Wall Collapses, Striking Three Visitors On Board

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Photo 82377413 © Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com

In what appears to be a cloudy replay of history, a slab of ice has been the cause of misfortune somewhat involving the RMS Titanic. Only, this time, it happened at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Tennessee’s Pigeon Forge.

As reported by the Guardian, an ice wall—denoting the iceberg that the fateful cruise ship had struck into on April 15, 1912 in the north Atlantic—collapsed on Monday. Three visitors were wounded by the fall and were rushed to the hospital, the museum shared on social media.

“At this time, we do not now the extent of their injuries, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all who were affected, including the first-responders,” wrote the museum’s owners on Facebook.

About half the size of the “unsinkable” ship, the Titanic Museum Attraction is home to more than 400 artifacts from the vessel and its passengers. Among its displays is a 15 x 28-foot wall made of real ice, maintained through a water filtration system, that guests can feel.

Following the incident, the museum closed briefly but was up and running again the next morning. However, it returned without the iceberg, which would take weeks to regrow.

“The iceberg wall does not currently exist, and the affected area has been blocked off, for the time being,” said the museum. “We anticipate it will take at least four weeks for the iceberg to rebuild.”

Investigations by the local police concluded the collapse as an accident. Meanwhile, the museum itself is attempting to look into the cause.

[via The Guardian, cover photo 82377413 © Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415120/Titanic-Museum-s-Iceberg-Wall-Collapses-Striking-Three-Visitors-On-Board/

Pac-Man Discovered Devilishly Hidden As Part Of Stockholm Train’s Actual Design

A photo of an air vent with a hidden star in a Stockholm train. Image via Bombardier Transportation

Shaking up the humdrum of commuting is Stockholm’s transportation system, where a real-life Easter egg in the form of Pac-Man can be found.

Unlike cases of objects looking like other objects, this delicious detail spotted by Spotify senior product designer Fabiano Souza was deliberately included in the air vent holes of a subway train. Among a sea of holes, which could very well double as the edible dots in the classic video game, is the eponymous, ever-hungry character and three ghosts.

It turns out that the subtle reference, built into Stockholm’s new C30 trains, is an adorable nod at the evolving gaming industry in Sweden. “Even if these classic figures don’t come from Sweden, they’re an easily recognizable and appropriate symbol to represent the gaming sector as a whole,” Elin Lindström, spokesperson for Swedish transport firm SL, told The Local. Images shared on manufacturer Bombardier Transportation’s site suggest that other shapes hidden in the air vent holes include a star.

Predictably, the amusing addition has lightened up the moods of social media users everywhere. With something so routine as traveling by train, a slight play to the imagination would help change things up a little.

Cute Easter egg in the new subway train in Stockholm pic.twitter.com/KZzOL6QuIV

— Fabiano Souza (@iamfabiano) July 25, 2021

[via Creative Bloq, cover image via Bombardier Transportation] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415051/Pac-Man-Discovered-Devilishly-Hidden-As-Part-Of-Stockholm-Train-s-Actual-Design/

Airstream x Pottery Barn Design Cozy Travel Trailer That Always Feels Like Home

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Image via Airstream

The next time you’re on the road, all your travel ailments could be miles behind you. Pottery Barn, famed for its rustic, homely furnishings, makes its presence known in the all-new Airstream Pottery Barn Special Edition Travel Trailer. Their first wheeled collaboration yet aspires to take the sense of home on the go, and it’s like you never stepped out of the house.

Years in the making, the cozy, 28-foot aluminum travel trailer, which sleeps five, merges the best of Airstream and Pottery Barn’s design callings: one for adventure and the other for home. The goal is to make families, couples, and solo travelers feel as if they’re “always home,” no matter which road they take.

The glamper’s delight is outfitted with bespoke furniture and custom storage solutions, including the comfortable, tailor-made sofa and seating in performance boucle fabric and window coverings constructed from Pottery Barn’s oatmeal linen curtain material. Quite notably, an heirloom-quality solid hardwood oak dinette table, reminiscent of Pottery Barn’s popular Benchwright Dining Collection, is built to survive generations.

Image via Airstream

“It’s a match that makes sense in many ways,” describes Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler in a press release. “Pottery Barn has this kind of magical ability to shape a space. You see it in their home interiors, where there’s a comfortable, functional beauty to even the smallest pieces. They understand how your home is this canvas where real life happens, and we love how they applied that to the Airstream lifestyle.”

Image via Airstream

This meeting of minds shines through with an outdoor hanging table that attaches to the exterior to serve appetizers and wine in the outdoors, a first for Airstream; while a chalkboard on the door allows for everyday personalization, and an airline-inspired table swivels out of an armrest.

There are also matte black faucets in the kitchen and bathroom sinks, a stainless steel flat apron sink, a solid walnut cutting board sink cover, and canvas storage bins under the twin beds or single queen bed.

Image via Airstream

Airstream’s high-tech influences can be seen in its all-in-one Smart Control Technology that lets you control aspects like the awning, lights, and thermostat from your phone. “The result is a travel trailer made for the modern era, where work, play, life, and learning blend at home and on the road,” says the company.

The travel trailer is open for tours at authorized Airstream dealerships.

Image via Airstream

Image via Airstream

Image via Airstream

Image via Airstream

Image via Airstream

[via Yanko Design, images via Airstream] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414978/Airstream-x-Pottery-Barn-Design-Cozy-Travel-Trailer-That-Always-Feels-Like-Home/

Italy Bans Large Cruise Ships From Venice In Bid To Keep World Heritage Status

Image via Ubafoto | Dreamstime.com

As you would have heard, Venice is sinking, not only because of rising water levels caused by climate change but also because it is built on soft ground.

Likely accelerating the rise of sea levels is the presence of cruise ships on Venetian waters. And while protests and petitions have been launched over the years to add pressure on the Italian government about allowing big ships, matters were swept under waters due to the money these tourism vessels have been bringing. UNESCO had also threatened to strip Venice of its World Heritage status and forewarned that the city could be placed on its endangered list.

However, according to ArchDaily, the Italian government is finally yielding to these calls, and is officially and permanently banning big cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon to protect the city’s waterways, canals, and public squares.

Taking effect from August 1, 2021, the ban dictates that ships larger than 180 meters (590 feet) in length or heavier than 25,000 tons would no longer be able to enter the lagoon.

A large part of the strain could have hailed from a massive petition started by the UNESCO-backed Association of the International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice and signed by over 50 leaders in art, architecture, film, and fashion asking Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and minister of culture and tourism Dario Franceschini to have large cruise ships removed from Venice, ArchDaily reports.

The group argued that the ships were not only an “aesthetic intrusion,” but they were also cause for a “probable risk of catastrophe” to the weakening Venetian lagoon.

[via ArchDaily, cover image via Ubafoto | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414886/Italy-Bans-Large-Cruise-Ships-From-Venice-In-Bid-To-Keep-World-Heritage-Status/

Sleep In A Tent Suspended By Trees In This Japanese Adventure Park

Image via Tree Picnic Adventure Ikeda

Have a calling for adventure? Step out of the dull sense of security that flat ground provides and try sleeping mid-air instead.

At the Tree Picnic Adventure Ikeda in Fukui, Japan, visitors can camp in a tent held in the air by trees—which means no jumping on the bed. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, though; the tree tent is only suspended four meters (13 feet) off the ground, Time Out Tokyo reports.

In exchange for the minimal back support, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the forest park all hours of the day.

Finding the courage to climb down would be worth it, as visitors can partake in several land and water activities being offered, including water rafting and speeding via a 1,673-foot zipline. For dinner, guests can head over to the barbecue pit for a warming meal with ingredients provided by the park.

The tent sleeps four, and it costs ¥16,000 (US$145) to spend the night in it.

Image via Tree Picnic Adventure Ikeda

[via Time Out Tokyo, images via Tree Picnic Adventure Ikeda] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414866/Sleep-In-A-Tent-Suspended-By-Trees-In-This-Japanese-Adventure-Park/

France Will Require ‘Health Pass’ From Visitors To Museums, Trains, Restaurants

Image via Jean Carlo Emer / Unsplash (CC0)

Starting this week, visitors to museums and other cultural venues in France will have to provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative for COVID-19.

This new “health pass” will be required at venues with more than 50 people. Those over 18 will have to show a QR code with their vaccination record, or a negative PCR test from the previous 48 hours.

According to Artnet News, the “health pass,” which was initially used for large-scale events such as concerts and exhibitions, is now being rolled out across the country to include places such as restaurants, museums, movie theaters, malls, and long-distance trains.

“If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to increase,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in the announcement, as per France24.

However, this new law hasn’t been welcomed by all in France. Last week, on Bastille Day, over 20,000 people took to the streets to protest the “health pass” as an infringement on their freedom, with over 100,000 people joining the protests over the weekend, as per the Associated Press.

There are also museum workers who are skeptical about the “health pass” being an effective way to keep COVID-19 out of museums and cultural centres.

“To grant the visitors safe access to museums I tried last year to get COVID-trained sniffing dogs (they are amazing and super efficient). I still think they would be the best solution. Much better than any compulsory QR codes,” Marc-Olivier Wahler, the former head of the Palais de Tokyo and current director of Paris Art Lab, told Artnet News.

The new “health pass” can now be accessed via the TousAntiCovid app.

[via Artnet News, cover image via Jean Carlo Emer / Unsplash (CC0)] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414829/France-Will-Require-Health-Pass-From-Visitors-To-Museums-Trains-Restaurants/

Zero-Carbon ‘Airlander’ That Flies With Helium Could Be The Future Of Aviation

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Image via Hybrid Air Vehicles

“An aircraft that’s sustainable, capable, flexible, and cost-effective,” English company Hybrid Air Vehicles details of its latest aircraft, the Airlander 10.

With a 20,000-foot maximum altitude and the ability to remain airborne for five days, its functions include “bringing travelers to some of the wildest places on Earth” and “delivering equipment to remote mining operations and communities, or disaster-affected areas.”

The Airlander 10 is a new type of hybrid vehicle, with flight powered largely by helium and its buoyant properties. The use of helium reduces fuel burn too, making it much better for the environment.

Right now, it’s still a combination of electric and fuel-burning engines. But already, the Airlander 10 boasts up to a 75% reduction of carbon emissions compared with traditional modes of air travel, with the goal to bring this to 100% by the time 2030 rolls around.

Four engines are used in the aircraft, but on a flight, the forward two are shut down, reducing noise and fuel usage. But don’t fret; the aircraft is capable of landing with any two of the four. Since it doesn’t rely on a sole engine, this does make it safer than most other aircrafts, which do.

It’s not just cool on the outside, and a recent announcement reveals the cushy cabin design. It’s an airy, comfortable 100-seat space with plush armchairs, and offers a joyful amount of legroom and luxurious floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the view from—no more cramped aisleways and tiny cabin windows.

“On Airlander, the whole experience is pleasant, even enjoyable,” states George Land, commercial business development director, in the announcement. “And in the hybrid-electric and future all-electric configurations, Airlander is fit for our decarbonised future.”

This experience isn’t all that far away, either. The company has already scheduled city-hopping routes for 2025. They include Liverpool to Belfast in five hours and 20 minutes, Oslo to Stockholm in six and a half hours, and Seattle to Vancouver in a little more than four hours.

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[via My Modern Met, images via Hybrid Air Vehicles] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414802/Zero-Carbon-Airlander-That-Flies-With-Helium-Could-Be-The-Future-Of-Aviation/

Dubai’s ‘Sunken City’ Is The World’s Deepest Pool, With 170 Feet Of Water

Image via Deep Dive Dubai

Stretching to the skies and deep sea, not only is Dubai the location of the tallest building in the world—the Burj Khalifa—it’s now also home to the deepest pool in the world, Deep Dive Dubai.

Reaching a depth of 60 meters (169.9 feet), the dive pool is also the largest underwater attraction in Dubai. Constructed with multiple rooms to resemble an abandoned, sunken city, the pool is filled with 14 million liters (almost 3.7 million gallons) of temperature-controlled water. It’s six times bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool, GlobeTrender reports.

“Inspired by the UAE’s rich pearl-diving heritage of the past, this venture sets new heights (and depths) in the nation’s ambitious vision for an incredible future,” the company states.

There are three types of activities to try out at Deep Dive: Discover, Dive, and Develop. The choice in course types allows visitors, beginner and expert, to explore the space at their own pace. Certified divers above 10 years old are also allowed to free-dive, with the option to go without a guide too.

This magnificent “sunken city” isn’t the only thing on offer, though. There is a dive shop, gift shop, and meeting and event spaces which can be booked. Joining this lineup in Q4 2021 are a hyperbaric chamber and an 80-seat restaurant.

Although the center is now open, it is currently taking bookings by invitation only. After July 28, however, it will be open to the public, welcoming visitors to “dive into another world.”

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[via TheTravel, image via Deep Dive Dubai] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414752/Dubai-s-Sunken-City-Is-The-World-s-Deepest-Pool-With-170-Feet-Of-Water/

Lufthansa’s Airlines Go Gender-Neutral With Inclusive New Greetings & Forms

Image via Lukas Wunderlich / Shutterstock.com

The latest to ditch the traditional “ladies and gentlemen” greeting for modern and inclusive travelers is Lufthansa Group, which oversees a whole array of airlines under its wing.

According to One Mile at a Time, Lufthansa Group will phase out the “Meine Damen und Herren” phrase (“Ladies and Gentleman” in German) in inflight announcements and replace it with the gender-neutral “dear guests” or “good morning/evening.”

To accompany its initiative for inclusivity, the company will include a third gender option in the booking process, as well as eliminate terms associated with gender in customer support. Lufthansa Group will also remove all focus on gender during in-person communications with customers.

The overhaul, which will take place gradually, will be adopted by several of the group’s airlines, namely Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings.

[via One Mile at a Time, cover image via Lukas Wunderlich / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414721/Lufthansa-s-Airlines-Go-Gender-Neutral-With-Inclusive-New-Greetings-Forms/

Italy Is Paying You Up To $33K To Relocate To Its Stunning Towns

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Located in the south of Italy, Calabria is planning to offer up to €28,000 (US$33,000) to those who are willing to brave change and move to a quiet town or village in the region.

An application is to be made by those who are no older than 40 years old, and who are prepared to relocate within 90 days of their acceptance. They are then eligible to receive funding from anywhere between €800—€1,000 (US$950—US$1,186) each month for two to three years, or one-time funding to help launch a http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414673/Italy-Is-Paying-You-Up-To-33K-To-Relocate-To-Its-Stunning-Towns/

Saudi Telecom Hires ‘Content Creating Camel’ To Take Photos In Unseen Deserts

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Video screenshot via Saudi Telecom

On Mars, there’s the Perseverance rover. Saudi Arabia’s equivalent is Sarha the camel, snapping photos in places no human has ever stepped foot on.

As Saudi Arabia welcomes tourism for the first time, Saudi Telecom hopes to convey the scope of its coverage by enlisting the world’s first “content creating camel” to test it out. And the verdict is in: there is network available even on untouched, unreachable turfs.

At the same time, Sarha the camel is helping out Saudi Arabia’s tourism by capturing rare, stunning photographs from vast deserts. Saudi Telecom shares that nearly half the country is uninhabited, which gives the majestic creature plenty of unseen ground to cover.

A professional camera rig system—including a laptop, solar panels, hotspot router, and cam-ranger—was strapped onto the camel’s back. Even from other parts of the world, photographers could connect to the camel’s hump and take pictures of hard-to-reach parts of the desert.

“As a photographer, I felt like one of the first astronauts stepping onto Mars. It’s just unbelievable,” described New York photographer Ben Jacks, one of the 11 international photographers invited to work with Sarha.

According to Ad Age, the campaign was a global effort. Marketing communications agency Wunderman Thompson Saudi Arabia presented the idea and oversaw the plan, Wunderman Thompson Seattle developed the technology, and Wunderman Thompson Costa Rica worked on data visualization.

Some of the gorgeous photographs can be seen on the Instagram account of Saudi Arabia’s tourism initiative, Unveil Saudi. Don’t worry; Sarha the camel is credited for those pictures too.

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[via Ad Age, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414648/Saudi-Telecom-Hires-Content-Creating-Camel-To-Take-Photos-In-Unseen-Deserts/

Palace Of Versailles Reopens Its Doors, And You Can Stay In It Now

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

France’s famed Palace of Versailles is now home to the brand-new Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel, allowing visitors to spend a night at the historic royal residence for the first time ever.

As per Artnet News, the luxury hotel boasts an extensive range of features, including a spa, a 50-foot-long indoor swimming pool, and a restaurant helmed by chef Alain Ducasse, whose menu is inspired by King Louis XIV.

Never before have visitors been able to stay over at the palace, with exclusive access to areas within the grounds that were once closed off to the public.

A night at the hotel starts from €1,700 (US$2,014), which is steep, but comes with special touches such as an evening tour of the main palace, the king and queen’s apartments, and the hall of mirrors.

Guests will also be able to embark on morning tours to other areas of the palace, such as the Le Hameau de la Reine – a rustic retreat in the park built especially for Marie Antoinette.

Not to mention, all guests will gain access to the iconic 2,000-acre Orangery Gardens, allowing you to take a stroll through one of the world’s most breathtaking parks built for royalty.

In order to transform the palace into a hotel, artisans and craftspeople were tasked to restore and recreate the grounds’ original historical features, such as the parquet flooring, stonework, and wood paneling.

Special wall hangings were also commissioned for the hotel rooms – each named after a historical figure linked to the palace – inspired by designs from the Versailles archives.

Alongside authentic 17th- and 18th-century antiques that’ll transport you right back to the height of the French monarchy are other special artifacts on display. For example, guests will be able to view a love letter from Madame De Staël to her lover Louis, Comte de Narbonne-Lara.

Visitors can also opt to take part in special experiences, such as a private performance at the Royal Opera or a Marie Antoinette-themed costume fitting.

Each room comes with a dedicated butler, breakfast, afternoon tea, and a fully-stocked minibar for guests to enjoy. Dinner at Ducasse at Château de Versailles will feature a five-course feast, recreating banquets royalty used to enjoy, complete with waiters ringing a bell to summon diners.

Take a look at the stunning property below.

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

Image via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel

[via Artnet News, images via Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle Hotel] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414594/Palace-Of-Versailles-Reopens-Its-Doors-And-You-Can-Stay-In-It-Now/

Floating Raft Hotel Lets You Camp Out On A Calming Lake In Belgium

Image via Vlotkamp

Fishing trips are overhyped as stress-free pastimes. To truly stay unplugged, consider taking to the lake and letting the gentle waters rock you to sleep. One such option is Vlotkamp (which means “raft camping” in Dutch), a popup hotel floating on a lake in Flanders, Belgium.

Vlotkamp consists of eight rafts and sleeping tents for a fully socially distanced retreat. Each tent is constructed with five floating modules and a reinforced Sibley tent to not only keep it buoyant but also unyielding to the elements.

According to My Modern Met, Vlotkamp’s creators Tobias Knockaert and Kika Merlin were inspired in part by the pandemic to conceptualize a travel experience that flouts conventions. The hotel is so remote, you’d have to get to your room by canoe.

The units are furnished with a king-size double circular mattress—meaning that this is more of a posh “glamping” experience than the sort of your childhood—but the star of the show is really the vast bed of blue that stretches beyond the peripherals.

The hotel will be open through September 28. Find out more here.

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[via My Modern Met, images via Vlotkamp] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414539/Floating-Raft-Hotel-Lets-You-Camp-Out-On-A-Calming-Lake-In-Belgium/

Iceland Is Upcycling Visitors’ Sweatpants Into Hiking Boots For New Adventures

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Image via Inspired by Iceland

For much of the past year, your travels might have been limited to the sofa and bed. Lockdown sweatpants have predictably become a must-have during your stays, but with borders opening up, you’ll soon need different threads to weather upcoming adventures.

But don’t quit your favorite sweats just yet—Visit Iceland has a solution for you to keep using them, come rain or shine. The tourism board is upcycling the quarantine gear of a limited number of people into exclusive hiking boots, giving the staples a new lease of life to conquer new ground across its seven regions.

“All over the world, we have been under various lockdowns and restrictions for over a year; and let’s face it, we’re in a bit of a rut. In Iceland, we are lucky enough to have a wealth of adventure, from the bold waterfalls in the south, to the tranquil shores of the East and all the food, music and wellbeing culture across the country,” explains Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, Head of Visit Iceland, in a press statement. “For those ready to travel again, we want to make sure you’re prepared to experience life to its fullest and take on whatever adventure you’ve been craving. And some lucky visitors will get to do it with their own unique Sweatpant Boots.”

The Sweatpant Boots—created with the help of sustainable boot brand Will’s Vegan and Ýr Þrastardóttir, designer and founder of Icelandic fashion label Another Creation—are constructed with climate-friendly vegan materials, with water-resistant uppers to draw visitors close to waterfalls that aren’t from their wallpapers.

Sweatpant cuffs ensure ankles are warm and cozy during expeditions in the north, while easy-of laces invite wearers to jump into geothermal lagoons spontaneously.

To upcycle their sweatpants into one-of-a-kind Sweatpant Boots, travelers will need to get out of them and book an appointment in July at the popup location at Rainbow Street in downtown Reykjavík. The offer is limited to the first people to do this, and they’ll need a valid plane ticket indicating their arrival in Iceland from June 24.

Any remaining fabric from the sweatpants will be transformed into a bag. Who knew these lazy bums had so much potential in them?

Image via Inspired by Iceland

[via Travel + Leisure and Forbes, video and images via Inspired by Iceland] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414507/Iceland-Is-Upcycling-Visitors-Sweatpants-Into-Hiking-Boots-For-New-Adventures/