Travel: The Walled Off Hotel

Banksy is famous for his social commentary. His latest statement arrives not through a piece of street art, but instead an actual business. The Walled Off Hotel sits just feet away from the wall that separates it — and the rest of Bethlehem — from the West Bank of Palestine. It currently has ten rooms, customized with artworks by Banksy, Sami Musa, and Dominique Petrin, and ranging from the barracks-like “Budget” to an ornate “Presidential” suite. The hotel bar is decorated with security cameras and slingshots, and should you need reminding of the point of the whole thing every room offers “views” of the wall just steps from the front door.

This Travel Company Will Pay You To Take The Trip Of a Lifetime

If you’ve ever gotten the “travel bug“, you know that sometimes lack of money can get in the way with your world adventures. But, what if someone actually wanted to pay you to travel? That sounds like a dream scenario, right? One that certainly requires an advanced degree or years of travel blogging experience. Actually, it doesn’t.

European travel company Busabout is currently “recruiting for the best job in the world,” and that might be the understatement of the century. The company is searching for two people to travel throughout Europe, hitting up all the hot spots, while vlogging about their experiences. The only requirements are that you can work together as a team, produce daily videos of your shenanigans, and actively use social media to show the rest of the world your globe-trotting journey.

Not only will they pay to send you on this crazy adventure, they’ll cover all of your travel expenses, too. This includes flights from the US and all hotels. You even get a daily stipend for food and some extra cash after the trip is completed. They are literally paying you to have the time of your life. Can it get any better?

The two available positions are “Brand Ambassador” and “Video Producer.” Applicants for the first job should be pretty good at explaining their experience to a broad audience, be a decent writer, and be a “natural in front of the camera.” If you feel like the other position is better suited for your skills, you should probably already know how to use a video camera.

You should also be creative and have the ability to think up interesting video ideas. Nobody wants to see you sitting in a hotel room explaining all the fun you had that day, they want to actually see what you’re getting into.

The trip itself will last roughly 180 days and you need to be available from April to September 2017. During that time, you’ll get a chance to visit some of the oldest and most beautiful castles in Europe, check out the breathtaking views in the Swiss Alps, and even raise a stein or two at Oktoberfest in Munich. Read that again: They’re going to pay you to go to the biggest party in the world!

If you feel like you’re a perfect fit for either of these jobs, you’d better get your application ready. You can find all the details here. Thinking of applying? Do it! There could be much worse ways to spend your summer.

Travel: The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Road Trip

If your furry friend is your best friend, you simply cannot go on a cross-country road trip solo. Amy and Rob Burkert understand this, and thus they took it upon themselves to create the “Ultimate Pet-Friendly Road Trip” so that you and your best buddy (or buddies) can enjoy a journey together without fear that one of you may have to wait in the car while the other gets to savor the scenery.

On Gopetfriendly.com, the Burkets formuated the perfect road trip to take with pets; it covers 48 states and includes a pet-friendly attraction in each. To test it out, Amy and Rob will be spending the next 10 months trekking it themselves with their dogs, Ty and Buster. “Each selection had to represent the spirit of that state and, in combination, they needed to communicate the diversity of pet friendly adventures to be had across the country,” said Amy in a blog post on the website.

From the kickoff on the beach in Carmel, California, to the final destination of Portland’s Parks and Gardens in November 2017, the adventure is nothing short of diverse. The only possible repercussion of this trip is that your dog may feel he is too cultured for your local dog park after frolicking through the National Mall in D.C. and the Biltmore Estate Gardens in North Carolina.

Travel: You Can Camp Out in These Restored Fire Lookouts

High above the forests across America there are special lookout towers that were constructed by the Civil Conservation Corps after the Great Fire of 1910 as an early warning system in an age before radios, aircraft and GPS. The lookouts are no longer used for their original purposes, but a few have been restored and maintained to serve as respites among the nature they were originally built to protect. Heather and Andrew Pogue were brave enough to venture up a trail in Washington on their way to the Park Butte Lookout, where they slept overnight and documented the entire journey. The views from the 360-degree tower (it was a “lookout,” after all) captured by the camera are breathtaking in every direction… especially when paired together with their editorial coverage. Maintained by the Skagit Alpine Club, the Park Butte Lookout is available on a first come, first service basis with a donation area to help support the cause.

Travel: The “Sex Cruise” For Nudists and Swingers Sets Sail in September

If you love cruises but have always hated that there’s not enough open sex stuff on board, we have some great news: The Desire Cruise—described as a couples-only, clothing-optional “high-end, sensual yet spicy experience” — is setting sail this September.

The cruise will begin in the Adriatic Sea and end in Venice, Italy. The “entertainment” on board includes activities and parties like “Sexual Scrabble,” “Sensual Superheroes,” “Naughty Nautical,” and “Golf pros and tennis hoes.”

There’s also something called the Signature Playroom. From the cruise’s website as:

You will feel the electrical currents pulsate through your body, as you mix & mingle with like-minded couples in a healthy, sophisticated, erotic playground for adventurers. We invite you to take your relationship to the next level, by living out your forbidden fantasies at sea, in our Signature Playroom.

And a private jacuzzi lounge:

Enter our private, clothing-optional spa deck, with bubbling salt water bath and powerful jets that massage you as you soak up the view in the company of other like-minded couples seeking to fulfill their fantasies. This private, intimate hotspot combines cool sophistication with steamy sensuality.

And, of course, a clothing-optional pool area:

Our clothing-optional pool area provides nothing but hot n´ steamy fun, as the leader in day life aboard “Venice Foreplay”. Desire Cruises continues its infamous reign with an amplified & progressive poolside experience that is all about making waves. So accessorize your sexy self with a carefree attitude, as our Dream Team brings the action to this holiday hotspot.

If you’re busy this fall, we have more good news: The Daily Star reports another sex boat/Desire Cruise is setting sail in April 2018.

Travel: Travelers Can Now Help Save the Sea Turtles

Over the past 100 years, the population of hawksbill sea turtles has decreased by a shocking 90 percent. In an effort to save this endangered species, animal activist groups have started the “Too Rare to Wear” campaign, calling travelers to Latin America and the Caribbean to avoid buying any and all tortoiseshell souvenirs.

The tourist demand is, largely, the most threatening factor to these incredibly colorful creatures. Trinkets are slowing driving the species to extinction, despite the illegality of selling tortoiseshell products.

With this in mind, the groups behind the “Too Rare to Wear” campaign are doing their best to educate travelers on how to recognize tortoise products, so they may avoid purchasing them. This tactic has also been used to prevent the sale of elephant ivory products and shark fins.

Learn more about the campaign and how you can help here.

Good News Rays Fans, MLB Teams More Likely To Have A Bad Game Due To Jet Lag When Flying East

Playing at least 81 games on the road, sometimes thousands of miles from home and in a different time zone, will eventually have an effect on even the most fit professional baseball player, but is there a correlation between distance (and direction) traveled and performance?

That was the question that researchers from Northwestern University hoped to figure out after analyzing data from 20 Major League Baseball seasons — from 1992 to 2011 — comprising more than 46,535 Major League Baseball games, for effects of “travel-induced circadian misalignment” — aka jet lag — on performance.

For the study, published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers determined jet lag by looking at the number of time zones crossed and the number of days since travel, and then defined jet lag as those games where a team had at a two-hour jet lag, that is, where a team had traveled across at least two time zones. Using those parameters, researchers found 4,919 instances of teams having at least two hours of jet lag.

The study’s authors also accounted for “potential confounding variables,” such as home-field advantage and team effects.

“Because home teams were less often jet lagged, i.e., upon return travel home, differences attributed to jet lag could be due to home-field advantage, i.e., the general advantage a team displays at home,” researchers noted.

In general, the negative correlation between jet lag and a team’s winning percentage was stronger when teams traveled eastward than when they flew west, researchers found. Which makes sense, they say, as it’s “consistent with the fact that the intrinsic human circadian period is slightly longer than 24 hours, thus making it easier to adjust to westward travel, which lengthens the day, than to eastward travel.”

That said, there was only a significant negative correlation with team slugging percentage — total bases per at bat — for home teams, not away teams.

“Home-team eastward travel, but not westward travel, significantly reduced doubles, triples, and stolen bases, and increased double plays,” researchers write.

While only home teams saw a significant effect on their offensive performance, both home and away teams’ defensive efforts struggled in the face of jet lag from eastward travel, primarily in the form of giving up more home runs than non-jet lagged teams, researchers found.

“Pitching location and velocity appear to be important for determining the probability of giving up a home run relative to a swinging strike,” researchers note. “Thus, we hypothesize that jet lag, particularly in the eastward direction, may adversely affect these aspects of pitching which in turn impact home runs allowed.”

Despite the findings that most major jet-lag effects are evident after eastward but not westward travel, researchers said they did observe some “isolated effects of westward travel, although they had limited effects on major offensive or defensive parameters.” For example, stolen base attempts.

As for why they detected a more “robust” effect of jet lag on the home team offense rather than the away team, researchers speculate that one possibility is that the away team has a more structured daily schedule when away from home than does the home team when returning home. The home team players can go to their houses and rest, for example, while the away team is just hoping the hotel’s beds aren’t excessively uncomfortable.

That difference might not be evident on defense because pitchers — especially starting pitchers who play every fifth day — have a more structured schedule leading up to their start irrespective of whether they are home or away, researchers explain.

“The results on the effect of jet lag on home runs allowed suggest that teams may want to change their travel protocol to mitigate this effect,” researchers note. That might mean having your starting pitcher travel to the game location a few days ahead of time, they suggest, to adjust to the new time zone.

“Taken together, these quantitative high-resolution data reveal a surprising specificity in the effect of circadian misalignment on athletic performance,” the study’s authors write.

Travel: JetBlue Just Became The Best Airline For Those Who Always Need To Be Connected

Internet access in the air has always been a bit problematic. Not only is it pricey, you don’t really get your money’s worth with how slow your connection can be, well, if you do get a connection at all. JetBlue is changing that with a huge upgrade to their Fly-Fi service that gives free, high-speed wi-fi connections to every passenger on the plane. They’re also allowing passengers to stream video and they’ll also be the first airline to offer “gate-to-gate” internet connectivity so you don’t have to wait to reach cruising altitude to get connected.

Travel: How to Travel Across the USA by Train for Just $213

In December 2011, adventure traveler / entrepreneur Derek Low spent four days traveling across the USA by train for just $213. The 3,397-mile journey took him across 11 states and through 4 time zones along with allowing him to see both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Low documented the entire epic trip on his site, and we highly recommend you check it out here. If you’re interested in planning a similar trip of your own, Low started a travel planning service that will help you book all your tickets for a small service fee of $49. It’s still going to be cheaper than airfare, and this is a great way to see to the country.

Royal Caribbean Will Pay You to Quit Your Job, Travel The World and Take Instagrams

Have you ever spent the day scouring your city for that perfect shot, when the sky is a dreamy pink and the setting sun bounces off the glowing skyscrapers in just the right way? Then, after a days worth of work and only a few dozen likes to show for it, you think to yourself “Damn. If only had gotten paid for that.” If so, then put down your smartphone, and listen up.​

Royal Caribbean is looking to hire a master Instagrammer for a paid summer “intern-ship,” for which you’ll be required to snap and post eye-popping shots from a three-month trip around the world. Okay, now that you’ve regained consciousness, here’s how it works:

If you’re over 21 and have “extensive knowledge of all 23 filters,” you can earn £3,000 (almost $3,700) as an amateur photographer on three cruise ships that’ll take you all over the globe—for free. All you have to do is position yourself as a “hybrid between a photographer, documentary maker and a storyteller” to land the summer job of your dreams.

If the panel of travel experts happens to choose you, you’ll be tasked with posting three photos on Instagram each day; one of a breathtaking view, one of an awesome person found on board, and one of a mind-blowing experience. If that sounds like something you’d be into, just post your most incredible travel photos from now until January 31 and include @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer in the caption. 

Just make sure you send us a postcard.