By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
(CNN) — In travel news this week, we bring you the go-to airports for international connections and for passenger satisfaction, the hotels named the world’s best for 2023 and the latest cultural treasures to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Airports flying high
Some airports rank highest for passenger volume, such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which served close to 94 million travelers last year. Others excel in passenger satisfaction in North America, such as those in Detroit and Minneapolis, which triumphed in a new study by J.D. Power. A few lead the way when it comes to innovation, such as Singapore’s showstopper Changi Airport, which is about to introduce automated immigration clearance, meaning passengers can transit through it passport-free.
However, there are three international airports that punch above their weight when it comes to their rich array of connecting flights around the world.
London Heathrow is No. 1, according to a new report by travel data provider OAG, followed by New York’s JFK and Amsterdam’s Schiphol. World-class cities need world-class airports after all, and the top five is rounded out by two Asian megahubs: Kuala Lumpur International and Tokyo Haneda.
When planning vacation itineraries, you really can’t go wrong by checking out local UNESCO World Heritage sites: It’s the unofficial stamp of a quality day out.
A bunch more places have just been added to the UNESCO list, offering fresh inspiration for future travels, including prehistoric earthworks in Ohio and Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. There were also a couple of decisions that sparked controversy, such as the addition of West Bank’s ancient Jericho ruins and the exclusion of Venice from UNESCO’s heritage in danger list.
A top-notch vacation is nicely supplemented by a top-notch hotel, wherever you’re headed. A new ranking of the world’s 50 best hotels was announced Tuesday, with the top prize going to a luxurious 24-key property in Lake Como that opened just last year.
Flying tips and tricks
So it’s no mystery that air travel itself can be frustrating enough to make us weep, but why do many of us find ourselves tearful when in an airplane cabin at 35,000 feet? The answer is there are both psychological and physical factors at play: Here’s why.
Of course, it doesn’t help if we’re sleep-deprived either. Catching some shut-eye when flying long-haul is hard, but there are several ways we can help ourselves achieve better sleep beyond the usual tips such as using a neck pillow and avoiding alcohol. One surprising tip is to keep your feet off the ground.
Luxury rail enthusiasts have a couple of new trips they can add to their wish list.
In February 2024, The Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train will launch two seasonal round-trip journeys out of Singapore that take in the landscapes of its northern neighbor, Malaysia.
And also launching next year, Italy has a new program of tourist-focused trains, using vintage locomotives on popular vacation routes. The feather in the cap will be the long-distance, super-luxury Orient Express Dolce Vita train, which will bring five-star, 1960s-style glamor to 16,000 kilometers of railway line from Italy’s north to south.
Mom and 15 kids hike Appalachian Trail
Single mom Nikki Bettis tried some radical therapy after her divorce: She took her 15 kids, ranging in ages from 25 to 4, on a seven-month hike along America’s world-famous Appalachian Trail.
When there are that many mouths to feed, you have to plan your nutrition carefully. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have investigated the best hiking snacks, according to experts.
In case you missed it
A rescued alligator with the top half of its jaw missing has a new home at Florida’s Gatorland.
But a bear wasn’t so welcome at Disney World: It sparked closure of parts of Magic Kingdom.
A state-owned railway in China told women not to put on makeup on trains.
Here’s how they responded.
A Rome-bound United Airlines flight descended 28,000 feet in eight minutes.
The scary incident was because of a “pressurization issue.”
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