A $25 Train Ride is the Best Way to See the East Coast's Fall Foliage


If you want to catch a peek at the best fall foliage that New England and New York state have to offer this year, now is the time. And you can ditch your car keys. Continuing its annual fall tradition, Amtrak is running vintage train cars that offer panoramic views on certain East Coast lines, as Thrillist reports.

The double-decker Great Dome Car debuted in 1955, and was originally run on the Great Northern Railway’s Chicago-Seattle route. The only remaining Great Dome Car in service was retired from daily use in 1994, but still makes an appearance for special services like these. Its upper level features a glass dome top, giving you a 180° view of the areas on each side and above you.

The service is starting out along Amtrak’s Downeaster line, which runs from Maine to Massachusetts. Downeaster riders can experience the leaf-changing magic until September 24. Later in the month, the Great Dome Car will be transferred to the Adirondack line from Albany to Montreal. (Those dates haven’t been released yet, but in 2016, they ran from September 29 to November 1).

An Amtrak car runs along a cliff during the fall.

It might be the cheapest way to do a fall foliage trip, with tickets from Brunswick, Maine to Boston priced at as little as $25. It doesn’t cost extra money to sit in the vintage observatory car, but it's only available on certain trains throughout the day, so don't buy tickets without checking to make sure you'll be on a train with the Great Dome Car attached. Amtrak encourages passengers to move through the car during the journey, allowing as many people as possible to get a glimpse of the great views.

Not sure when to head out? Check out this fall foliage prediction map to get a better idea of when the changing of the leaves will peak. And if you can’t make it to the East Coast, fear not: There are plenty of scenic drives you can take to see fall colors elsewhere.

[h/t Thrillist]

This Is the Most Expensive City in the World

f9photos/iStock via Getty Images
f9photos/iStock via Getty Images

Experiencing all that a new city has to offer is a lot easier when you can afford it. Whether or not going out to eat or hailing a cab will put a dent in your travel budget (or totally obliterate it) usually depends on what part of the world you're in. If you're looking to save money abroad, think twice before going to Hong Kong—that's the most expensive city in the world, as MarketWatch reported in July.

To determine the most expensive city to live in on Earth, the human resource consulting firm Mercer looked at a number of factors, including the costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. Its annual Cost of Living Survey placed Hong Kong in the No. 1 slot. This is the second year in a row the survey named the Southeast Asian city-state the world's costliest place for expats.

Hong Kong's ranking reflects a wider trend seen throughout the region. Of the top 10 most expensive cities, seven of them are located in Asia. That includes Tokyo at No. 2 and Singapore at No. 3. The only non-Asian cities that rank in the top 10 are Zürich in Switzerland, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, and New York City.

Fortunately, the world's priciest cities aren't the only places worth living abroad. There are plenty of spots around the globe that offer great food, culture, and public amenities at affordable prices. If you're itching to move somewhere new, here are some cheap destinations to consider.

[h/t MarketWatch]

You Can Now Go Inside Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 Control Room

bionerd23, YouTube
bionerd23, YouTube

The eerie interior of Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 control room, the site of the devastating nuclear explosion in 1986, is now officially open to tourists—as long as they’re willing to don full hazmat suits before entering and undergo two radiology tests upon exiting.

Gizmodo reports that the structure, which emits 40,000 times more radiation than any natural environment, is encased in what's called the New Safe Confinement, a 32,000-ton structure that seals the space off from its surroundings. All things considered, it seems like a jolly jaunt to these ruins might be ill-advised—but radiology tests are par for the course when it comes to visiting the exclusion zone, and even tour guides have said that they don’t usually reach dangerous levels of radiation on an annual basis.

Though souvenir opportunists have made off with most of the plastic switches on the machinery, the control room still contains original diagrams and wiring; and, according to Ruptly, it’s also been covered with an adhesive substance that prevents dust from forming.

The newly public attraction is part of a concerted effort by the Ukrainian government to rebrand what has historically been considered an internationally shameful chapter of the country's past.

“We must give this territory of Chernobyl a new life,” Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky said in July. “Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet where nature revives after a global man-made disaster, where there is a real 'ghost town.' We have to show this place to the world: scientists, ecologists, historians, tourists."

It’s also an attempt to capitalize upon the tourism boom born from HBO’s wildly successful miniseries Chernobyl, which prompted a 35 percent spike in travel to the exclusion zone earlier this year. Zelensky’s administration, in addition to declaring the zone an official tourist destination, has worked to renovate paths, establish safe entry points and guidelines for visitors, and abolish the photo ban.

Prefer to enjoy Chernobyl’s chilling atmosphere without all the radioactivity? Check out these creepy photos from the comfort of your own couch.

[h/t Gizmodo]