Forget the Cruise—You Should See the Northern Lights by Plane

iStock/OceanFishing
iStock/OceanFishing

While taking an Arctic cruise is a classic way to catch a scenic glimpse of the aurora borealis, there are more picturesque northern lights sightings to be had. To get really up-close and personal with the astronomical phenomenon, you should hop a plane, according to Lonely Planet.

The Aurora 360 trip is specifically designed to give travelers in the Yukon the best glimpse possible of the aurora, as well as a few extras to make their Canadian vacation even better. In addition to the aurora-focused plane ride, the five-day trip scheduled for February 2019 includes a tour of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, a trip to the Takhini Hot Springs, and cultural events, plus accommodations and various dinners.

The private chartered flight will take off either on February 8 or February 9, depending on the forecast for the day. You’ll get to experience the joys of seeing the lights from 36,000 feet in the air, while sipping on gin and getting a lesson on celestial photography from on-board photographer Neil Zeller. The Aurora 360 flight is the only flight in the world to take off within the aurora oval, the area where the lights are most visible, according to Lonely Planet, so you’re guaranteed to get a unique experience.

The trip is scheduled for February 7 to February 11, 2019. There are only 80 seats available on the flight, so you’d better get planning. The full package costs roughly $2250, while a seat on the flight costs roughly $800.

Get a taste of what the experience is like in the promo video below.

Air North's Aurora 360 Flight to the Lights, Nov 25, 2017 from Neil Zeller on Vimeo.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

When Should You Book Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Flights? Right Now!

zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images
zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, paying for distressingly expensive airline tickets is just part of life when it comes to traveling for the holidays. And, while you might think you’ll get the best deal by checking fluctuating prices obsessively from today until the day before Thanksgiving, you’re probably better off booking your flights right now.

“Once you get within three or four months, the chance of something cheap popping up for Christmas or New Year’s is not very likely,” Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Travel + Leisure. “Certainly don’t wait until the last week or two because prices are going to be way higher.”

This is partially because airlines devise algorithms based on last year’s ticket sales and trends, and they know many travelers will fork over some serious cash rather than decide not to go home for the holidays—and there are always plenty of people who wait until the last minute to book their flights. In fact, so you know for next year, the absolute best time to book holiday travel is actually during the summer.

Scott Mayerowitz, the executive editorial director of The Points Guy, admits that it is possible to save a little money if you’re extremely diligent about following flight prices leading up to the holidays, but he thinks your mental health is worth much more than the pittance you might (or might not) save. “The heartache and headache of constantly searching for the best airfare can drive you insane,” he told Travel + Leisure. “Your time and sanity [are] worth something.”

If you’re not willing to throw in the towel just yet, you could always track the prices for a little while, and give yourself a hard deadline for booking your flights in a few weeks. Mayerowitz says buying your seats at least six weeks in advance—or earlier—is a good rule of thumb for holiday travel. That still leaves you several weeks to periodically scroll through flight listings and get a feel for what seems like a reasonable price.

To minimize your travel anxiety even further, try to fly one one of these dates, and check out eight other tips for a stress-free holiday trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Welcome to Cool, California. Population: 2520

Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s not hard to find U.S. towns with some pretty weird (and sometimes depressing) names, so we shouldn't be surprised that people have the option of settling in the tiny town of Cool, California.

Initially named Cave Valley, due to the limestone formations nearby, the town popped up around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The population eventually grew to 4100 people.

It's unclear when the town went from Cave Valley to being Cool. One legend suggests that a beatnik named Todd Hausman bequeathed the name after passing through in the 1950s, but the veracity of that story is doubtful since the Cool Post Office was founded as early as 1885. According to Condé Nast Traveler, records show that a reverend named Peter Y. Cool came out to pan gold and settled in the town in 1850, possibly serving as the source of the change.

Whatever the origin of its name, the town of Cool has ample branding opportunities. There’s the Cool Grocery Store and the Cool Beerwerks brewery and restaurant, which specializes in Hawaiian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Cool has held the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run every year since 1990.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER