The 10 Most Pet-Friendly Airports in America

iStock.com/Jodi Jacobson
iStock.com/Jodi Jacobson

Traveling with pets can be challenging. You have to find pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, not to mention having to figure out what type of transportation you’ll take. A new ranking of the 10 most pet-friendly airports in America makes the whole process a little bit easier for pet parents, though.

According to Upgraded Points, an online resource that provides information on credit card travel rewards, New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport is the best airport for animals in the U.S. The site took different factors into account, including the number and quality of “pet relief stations” (places where animals can pee without other passengers getting peeved), onsite boarding and daycare facilities, and other pet perks, such as dog parks with water fountains. The airports were ranked according to a point system, with 10 being the maximum number of points awarded; JFK Airport received a perfect score.

“JFK is definitely the airport to beat when it comes to pet-friendly amenities,” the site said in its analysis. “Multiple terminals have access to post-security pet relief areas, so you’re never far away from one without having to leave the secured area of the airport.”

The airport provides 24/7 access to veterinary services for all sorts of animals, as well as plenty of potty areas. One of the terminals even has a 4000-square-foot outdoor garden patio, better known as the “wooftop,” where doggies can get some fresh air and run free. (It also beats waiting for your plane in a stuffy gate area.)

Despite being the busiest airport in the world with nearly 104 million passengers last year, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport still finds time to cater to four-legged travelers. It received a score of 9.5, making it the country's second most pet-friendly airport. Some of its selling points include indoor pet-relief stations in every concourse (with faux fire hydrants adding a nice finishing touch) and a 1000-square-foot dog park.

Keep scrolling to see the full list, and visit the Upgraded Points website for a detailed breakdown of the data.

1. John F. Kennedy International Airport: 10 points
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 9.5 points
3. Sky Harbor International Airport: 9 points
4. Los Angeles International Airport: 8.5 points
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: 8.25 points
6. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 7.75 points
7. Reno-Tahoe International Airport: 7.5 points
8. Dallas Love Field Airport: 7.25 points
9. Denver International Airport: 7 points
10. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport: 6.75 points

A Golden Girls-Themed Cruise Will Set Sail in 2020

Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

If you've ever fantasized of taking a vacation that would make the cast of characters from The Golden Girls proud, you'll soon have the chance to make your dreams come true. In early 2020, Flip Phone Events and the cruise line Celebrity Infinity are launching a Golden Girls-themed cruise that brings the classic 1980s sitcom to the western Caribbean.

As CNN reports, the new cruise, called Golden Girls at Sea, leaves from Miami, Florida—the home of Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia. For five days, the ship will take cruisers on a relaxing trip through the Gulf, stopping in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. While onboard the ship, guests will have the opportunity to take part in several Golden Girls-inspired activities, including a Shady Pines craft corner, Dorothy's bingo, Golden Girls trivia, and karaoke at Blanche's favorite pickup spot, The Rusty Anchor. And, yes, there will be cheesecake.

The Golden Girls premiered over 30 years ago, but the fabulous foursome hasn't lost its popularity. Even though the show has ended, the ladies can still be spotted on apparel, candles, board games, and even their own cereal box. Their new themed cruise may be the most luxurious Golden Girls-branded experience yet.

Golden Girls at Sea sets sail from Miami on February 24, 2020 and returns on February 29. Rooms start around $987 per person for a standard cabin and go up to $7657 for the top suites. Unlimited drinks are included with every ticket.

Book your tickets here.

[h/t CNN]

Belgium's Blue Forest is One of the Most Beautiful Natural Areas on Earth

iStock.com/antonyspencer
iStock.com/antonyspencer

Imagine if the poppy fields in The Wizard of Oz were all blue—and real. That's how Belgium's Hallerbos forest looks for a short time each spring. For roughly 10 days in April or May, innumerable bluebells blossom, covering the forest's floor in a lovely violet.

Dutch for "Halle's forest," Hallerbos is located about 30 minutes outside of Brussels. But while the forest is currently part of the Belgian state, its ownership has varied, starting with its first known owner in the 7th century. Records list it as having been part of the expansive land of the Abbey of St. Waltrudis, in Mons (about an hour south of the forest). A few centuries later, it became part of the duchy of Arenberg before passing to the French Republic after their troops invaded in 1794, then to the Netherlands in 1815, and eventually returning to the Duke of Arenberg in 1831.

Unfortunately, when World War I hit Europe, the German army felled much of the forest for wood, diminishing its original size of 1125 hectares down to 569 hectares (or roughly 1400 acres). Belgium regained control of the Hallerbos forest in 1929 and spent the next 20 years actively reforesting the land. This extensive history is what, in part, makes the forest look the way it is today—because though the trees are relatively new, the bluebells are ancient.

In fact, an abundance of bluebells is an indicator of the age of a forest. Certain types of flowers, including the small, white wood anemones and pale yellow native primroses, are very often markers of ancient woodlands—this flora grows deep underground and doesn't spread through trafficked or harvested land, meaning that that larger groves of them tend to only be found in secluded areas. And for bluebells (also called wood hyacinth or wild hyacinth), their life cycle is dependent on brisk weather and sunshine, so they sprout and bloom before the trees above them have fully budded. Then, as quickly as they came, they turn to seed and continue growing their roots deeper to survive another year.

And thus, the extraordinary sight of a blanket of bluebells scattered through the forest is best observed during the early spring. Of course, this effect makes for some absolutely gorgeous photographs, so it's no wonder that visitors flock to the woods each year. Hallerbos provides directions to the forest by both car and public transportation, as well as two different maps for walks through the growth and a bloom tracker to plan for the prettiest possible visit.

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