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8 Places Amelia Earhart Flew That Are Worth a Visit

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With so much attention on her mysterious disappearance, it’s easy to overlook all the amazing places Amelia Earhart flew in her renowned—and tragically short—flying career. For the famed aviator’s birthday (she’d be 119 on July 24), we take a look at some of the cities and small towns where she touched down that are still worth a visit.

1. BURRY PORT, WALES

Earhart in 1928. Getty

This sleepy Welsh town was the terminus of Earhart’s first transatlantic flight in 1928—the first transatlantic flight made by a female pilot. The landing, which happened in the waters just off the coast, wasn’t planned: The crew, including pilot Wilmer Stultz and mechanic Lou Gordon, ran into mechanical trouble with their modified float plane, and had to divert from their original destination of Southampton, England. The surprised townsfolk eagerly received their guests, and residents today still talk glowingly of their date with history. Visitors can enjoy the scenic Welsh coastline along the Millennium Coastal Path, which inevitably leads to the photo-ready Burry Port Lighthouse. Afterwards, tourists can retreat to the local pub for a pint or two.

2. MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

In April of 1935, Earhart flew from Los Angeles to the Mexican capital on a goodwill mission. The routine flight became dire after a bug flew into Earhart’s eye, forcing her to land in a dried-up lakebed in Nopala, 60 miles short of her goal. A band of cowboys helped her flush the bug and get reoriented, and Earhart made the quick hop to Mexico City, where a crowd of 10,000 awaited her. The city is similarly welcoming towards tourists these days, with a restaurant and arts scene that’s gaining international attention. There are also popular must-see spots like the Museo Frida Kahlo, Templo Mayor, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

3. FORD ISLAND, HONOLULU

The Hawaiian capital played a significant role in Earhart’s flying career, both good and bad. First, the good: It was the departure point for her historic 2400-mile flight to Oakland in 1935. Two years later, though, Earhart crashed while taking off from Ford Island, situated in the middle of Pearl Harbor. The crash, which came down to pilot error, grounded her attempt at circumnavigating of the globe—a feat she would attempt again three months later, in what would become her last journey. Visitors to Ford Island today will find the Pacific Aviation Museum, which houses dozens of military planes and choppers dating back to World War II.

4. CULMORE, NORTHERN IRELAND

Earhart in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1932. Getty

The 34-year-old pilot touched down in a Culmore cow pasture after a 15-hour transatlantic flight. It was her second hop across the ocean, and first one flown solo. Earhart’s original destination was Paris, but mechanical problems, including a leaky fuel tank and a cracked manifold, forced her to land in Ireland. “Where are you coming from?” a farmer asked her as she stepped out of her plane. “America,” Earhart replied (she had, in fact, taken off from Newfoundland). A golf course occupies the land these days, with the 6th hole, nicknamed “Amelia’s Landing,” marking the exact spot where Earhart touched down. Visitors can play a round, then head into nearby Derry to visit the last walled city in Europe.

5. FORTALEZA, BRAZIL

Earhart and Noonan in Brazil, June 1937. Getty

Many of the stops Earhart made along her fateful 1937 journey to circumnavigate the globe were strictly utilitarian: get in, get fed, sleep, and make any necessary repairs. Not so in Fortaleza, a thriving city on Brazil’s northeastern coast, where Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were able to spend a day walking the beaches and bustling streets while Pan Am mechanics serviced their Lockheed Electra. Beaches like Praia do Futuro and Praia de Iracema are still Fortaleza’s calling card, and the nightlife is second to none. Those looking for a more cultured experience can tour the museums, galleries and theaters in the Dragão do Mar arts district.

6. SAINT-LOUIS, SENEGAL

Following a rough 14-hour flight from Brazil, Earhart and Noonan landed on this island city at the mouth of the Senegal River. It was, at the time, the capital of Senegal, and a picturesque example of a French colonial town, established in the 17th century. Today, Saint-Louis is no longer the country’s capital, but its unique blend of French and West African influences, from the colorful balconied homes that stretch down long city blocks, to the Grand Mosque constructed in 1847, show why UNESCO named it a World Heritage site in 2000. Surrounded by quays and marshland, Saint-Louis’s laid-back atmosphere is under threat from rising waters, and experts worry it could soon become submerged.

7. KARACHI, PAKISTAN

After crossing the Arabian Sea, Earhart and Noonan set down in this coastal city, which at the time was part of India. While mechanics fueled and inspected their plane, the two flyers posed for pictures and toured around via the local transportation. “Camels should have shock absorbers,” Earhart wrote in her journal, unimpressed with the animal’s handling. Camel rides are still a popular attraction in Karachi, though tourism is down these days due to the city’s hectic sprawl and threats of terrorism. Those who do venture there will find a lively, diverse city that showcases everything worth loving about Pakistani culture, from the bustling markets to the pristine Mohatta Palace.

8. DARWIN, AUSTRALIA

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Earhart made a quick refueling stop in this northern Australian city on June 28, 1937 before heading on to Papua New Guinea (she and Noonan disappeared over the South Pacific, near tiny Howland Island.) Visitors today will want to stay much longer. The capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, and one of the country’s few tropical cities, Darwin is a fun-loving outlier that’s renowned for its parks, beaches, and gorgeous sunsets. It’s also the jumping-off point for trips to scenic Litchfield National Park and Kakadu National Park. Of course, those who aren’t into roughing it can take part in the local past time and go fishing with an esky of beer.

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Why Amelia Earhart Is Remembered as One of History's Most Famous Female Pilots
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Amelia Earhart was a legend even before she mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying around the world. But the aviator's fame wasn't entirely based on skill alone. As Vox explains, Earhart's reputation eclipsed that of several contemporaries who were equally—if not more—talented than “Lady Lindy." So why did Earhart's name go down in history books instead of theirs?

In addition to her talent and courage, Earhart’s international fame could be chalked up to ceaseless self-promotion and a strategic marriage. It all started in 1928, when socialite Amy Phipps Guest and publishing juggernaut George Putnam handpicked the then-amateur pilot to become the first woman to be flown in a plane across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart wasn't involved with the actual flight process, but the trip still established her as the new female face of aviation (and introduced her to Putnam, her future husband).

After completing the transatlantic journey, Earhart’s profile rose sky-high as she gave public lectures, wrote an aviation column for Cosmopolitan magazine, performed stunts like flying solo across the Atlantic (a feat that was first achieved by Charles Lindbergh in 1927), and endorsed everything from cigarettes to designer luggage. Her celebrity was ultimately cemented with her marriage to Putnam, who orchestrated savvy promotional opportunities to keep his wife’s name in the paper.

Learn more about Earhart’s rise to fame by watching Vox’s video below.

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6 Tips From Travel Experts for Packing Winter Clothes
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Winter is a great time to snag travel deals, but if you’re going to spend all those extra savings on baggage fees, you’re better off staying home. To get the most out of your winter vacation, pack your clothes efficiently. Not only will you save money at the airport, but you’ll also save time and stress during the packing and unpacking process. We asked some travel experts about the methods they use to maximize their luggage space when heavy winter clothing is involved.

1. WEAR YOUR BULKIEST ITEMS.

A woman in a winter coat and gloves stands in an airport with her suitcase.
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No matter what folding method or fancy equipment you use, your winter coat will always take up more room in your suitcase than a t-shirt. One simple way to save space is to forgo packing it in your bag at all and wear it on the trip. The layering method is an essential strategy for Chris Elliott, travel writer and author of How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). “This method lets you avoid having to pack your heavy winter jacket, which as you know can easily fill up the entire carry-on,” he tells Mental Floss.

The same trick applies to your boots, gloves, scarves, sweaters, and any other piece of winter gear you can slip on without overheating. And don’t worry, you won’t be dressed for the tundra for the entirety of your journey: As soon as you get into the car or plane, slip off your jacket and use it to get comfy. Kristin Addis, writer of the travel blog Be My Travel Muse, does this when when she’s not storing her jacket in the overhead bin. “Sometimes flights are so cold that it’s really nice to use it as a blanket or extra pillow,” she tells Mental Floss.

2. FIND THE RIGHT BAG.

A closeup of a suitcase in front of a blue sky with a plane flying by.
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Winter puts your luggage to the test. A well-made bag should be able to fit a last-minute pair of socks when it’s already full to the brim, while an old, cheap model will be stretching at the seams long before that. Elliott recommends that travelers prioritize quality over bells and whistles. “You might have a really awesome bag that’s self-weighing and it’s got a charger in it,” he says, “but if it doesn’t hold up to the rigors of travel, you should leave it at home.” For a bag that delivers both fancy features and durability, Elliott recommends Blue Smart.

3. REMEMBER: LESS IS MORE.

A woman sitting on an overstuffed suitcase.
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Stuffing in that one extra sweater can be the undoing of many winter travelers. Instead of focusing on bulky outerwear, Addis prefers to pack light base layers that will keep her toasty without pushing her luggage past the weight limit. “I try to bring things that are inherently warm and lightweight like merino wool ski underwear and a very warm down jacket,” she tells Mental Floss. “Even with just those two layers I am good in -20°C as long as it is a dry cold.” If you have base layers packed for every day of your trip, there’s no reason to bring more than one or two sweaters. No one will fault you for wearing the same outfit twice. Elliott also prefers to pack base layers from quality brands like North Face over the flashier items he has in his closet. “If you’re going somewhere really cold, unless you're going to Aspen, you don’t really need to make a fashion statement,” he says. “You don’t need to pack your entire wardrobe.”

4. USE THE NAVY FOLDING METHOD.

A closeup of a person's hands packing rolled clothes into a suitcase.
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To roll or to fold? That is the question that plagues many travelers when they first set out to fill a suitcase. You may suspect that it doesn’t make much of a difference either way, but to both Elliott and Addis the answer is clear: Rolling is the way to go. For lighter undershirts, employ the fold-and-roll method used by the Navy. Lay the shirt flat on your bed or some other surface and fold the bottom third of the shirt to its back side. Next fold it vertically, laying the right half of the shirt over the left half. Finally, fold the left third of the shirt into the middle and then fold the remaining right third over that. Compress it even tighter by rolling the whole thing up starting from the collar. For sweaters, you can get away with a few less folds. Lay the garment flat and fold the arms behind the back to make an “X”. Fold it in two vertically—now you’re ready to start rolling it tight from top to bottom. If you’re worried about your perfectly bundled packages unraveling, secure them with a rubber band to give yourself peace of mind. Having a hard time visualizing how it's done? Check out this video.

5. INVEST IN LUGGAGE CUBES.

A set of three Eagle Creek packing cubes.
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To pack like a pro, get your hands on a set of luggage cubes. After testing them out, Elliott says he’ll never go back. “I always thought luggage cubes were gimmicky and then I tried them,” he says, “They are not gimmicky at all. Two luggage cubes can save you a ton of space.” Elliot's favorite cubes are from Eagle Creek. The mesh, zippered containers are basically mini suitcases: Fold and roll your clothes like you normally would then squeeze them into the cubes until they're full. The packed cubes fit like puzzle pieces into your bag, helping to maximize space. Addis is also a fan. “My big secret is packing cubes!” she says. “I roll and stuff each item into them, zip it up, and then it is organized and more compact.”

6. WEIGH YOUR BAG.

A woman weighing a suitcase on a scale.
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One extra pound can make the difference between paying an extra $50 at the airport and walking on the flight with that money in your pocket. Traveling with heavy winter gear means your bag is more likely to tip past the 50-pound limit. Avoid getting blind-sided at security by weighing your bag before you leave the house (a digital luggage scale is perfect for this). Pack the bare minimum amount of supplies you need before your first weight check. If you have a few pounds to spare and some room left in the bag, reward yourself by chucking in your favorite scarf or sweater you planned to leave behind.

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