Airline secrets: When to book and why you shouldn’t check your bag

Well there it goes, the hottest July on record. Extreme weather conditions in southern Europe and elsewhere are a wake-up call, experts say, and the vacation as we know it might well be over. Read tips on how you can make your next trip greener and then check out the rest of the news from the world of travel this week.

Insider tips for flying

When you’re facing potential delays, cancellations and sweatbox waiting areas, it’s best to be fully prepped before hitting the airport. That’s where flight attendants’ secrets for surviving summer travel come in. Our explainer has the inside scoop on everything you need to know – from the best time of day to fly to when a tight connection becomes too tight.

They also recommend avoiding checking your bags: overpacking weighs you down and bags often get lost. Lost bags are partly why luggage trackers have become the hottest travel accessory of 2023. Keen cyclist Barry Sherry found that out when he used one to track his bike after it had been lost by his airline.

And while you might find it hard to dream of chestnuts, sleighs and open fires while thermometers are hitting record-breaking highs, if you want to snap up a winter travel bargain, the time to hunt is now. “Always book opposite season,” says expert Scott Keyes.

Our animal friends

Time to get clued up on all that, because the next thing you need to prepare yourself for are angry sea lions. One charged tourists on a California beach recently and, as this video shows, this sea lion sure wasn’t playing ball.

And finally, from ocean deep to mountain high, a parrot and his owner had to be rescued from a Welsh peak after becoming stranded. Not forgetting its manners in the face of adversity, the bird greeted its saviors with a perky “hello.”

Grand designs

There’ll soon be a fresh way to get your kicks on Route 66 when a $2 billion Disneyland-sized “Americana-themed” park and resort opens along the northeast Oklahoma stretch of the famous highway in 2026.

And in Las Vegas, a futuristic entertainment venue – set to be christened in September with a series of concerts by U2 – is also the world’s largest spherical structure. Check out this video of the epic glowing orb.

If it’s the largest mirror-covered building in the world you’re looking for, though, the place to head is Saudi Arabia. Maraya is a 500-seat concert hall, community center and event space that shimmers like an oasis in the dramatic desert landscape of AlUla.

Happy campers

Sleeping under the stars, that fresh morning air, coffee by campfire – August is peak season for outdoor adventures. If you’re a camping novice, our explainer tells you everything you need to know before you set out.

The tents will be particularly useful when visiting some of the most spectacular, and hard to reach, US national park campgrounds. Leave your car behind, strap your backpack on and discover that some of the best things in life come with a bit of extra hard work.

Bon appetit

A bakery in Rhode Island might just make the best chocolate pastries outside of France. New Englanders certainly think so: Le Bec Sucre sells out before 9.30 a.m. every weekend.

In case you missed it

San Francisco was too expensive – so they moved to Spain and bought a beautiful house for $50,000. 

Here’s how they did it.

Pan Am flight attendants had the most glamorous jobs in the sky.

Here’s what happened when the airline vanished.

He left Japan and learned how to make tacos in Mexico. 

Now he owns the hottest taco truck in Tokyo.

They climbed mountains to escape Nazis. 

Now their great-grandchildren are making the same journey.

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