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World's First Underwater Restaurant

Ever wanted to eat fish amongst the fish, or watch a stingray swim past during dinner? If this sounds like your thing, travel to the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa, where you can eat at Ithaa -- the world's first-ever undersea restaurant.

By the looks of it, you'll be dining in an inverse aquarium, 5 meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by the beautiful coral reef.

According to The West Virginia Blogger: "The cuisine is dedicated to the fine balance of western food items with a Maldivian flavor, the wine concept is equally exciting, offering diners the perfect opportunity to discover the wines of the prestigious Champagne house Louis Roederer."

As you might suspect, it's not cheap. Dinner will run you an average of $187 to $220. But for a once-of-a-lifetime dining experience, maybe it's worth it.

[via Spluch]

Best Beaches in Britain

In about a month, Britain will stop being a gray, dreary, rain-soaked pit of depression, and will re-emerge as a great to place to visit -- lush, green and beautiful in the Spring (thanks mostly to all that miserable rain). If you're planning on heading that direction anytime before Fall, you might be interested in a trip to the beach.

But how do you choose? And what's so great about British beaches, anyway?

Says the Times Online, "Not sunbathing: we can go to the south of France for that. And not concrete-clad resorts full of forced fun, either. No, we want scenery - scenery so wild, it scours the soul. We want sheer cliffs, hard sand and not a soul for miles."

The article then goes on to highlight a few of the country's most beautiful, relatively un-trafficked beaches -- all of which you won't find in the UK government's tourism directory.

Well worth reading if you're into nature, and like to steer clear of tourist traps.

Mouse Delays Flight for 4 Hours

Mice are expected in some forms of public transportation. The rats in New York's subway system are legendary -- and I wouldn't be that surprised to see a little rodent scurrying around a Greyhound. But mice on planes? Not only is it unusual, but when it does happen, it's apparently quite the problem

So much so, that a recent Vietnam Airlines flight to Tokyo was delayed for four hours thanks to a small white mouse scurrying down the aisles. A passenger spotted the furry stowaway before the plane took off, and technicians had to be brought in to kill the critter.

But this didn't go very well. In fact, it was so difficult to catch the mouse that passengers were sent to a hotel while all their luggage was removed from the plane, allowing technicians to search more thoroughly for the elusive little guy.

Thankfully, the rodent was finally captured, and the plane took off -- albeit at 4 a.m.

All I can think of is Bill Murray in Caddyshack, and his relentless pursuit of that animatronic, dancing gopher. Fortunately Vietnam Airlines didn't resort to his guerilla tactics, or that plane never would've got off the ground.

Slow Travel: A New Vacation Trend?

Do you wind up feeling stressed out on your holidays -- rushing around to see all the "important," or "must see" attractions when you'd really just like to take it easy?

Maybe it's time to slow down, and re-think how you're planning those getaways.

To get you started, check out SlowTrav.com -- a Web site aimed at travelers who want a calmer, slower, more leisurely way to vacation. The site helps you find a short-term rental property instead of a hotel, which, according to site founder Pauline Kenny, "let's you live like a local: shop at local stores, go to the same cafe every morning, take time to see the things that are near you."

And she's right. Not only will taking the time to really investigate your surroundings give you a more relaxing experience, I've found it's also the only way to get a taste for the local culture in a short period of time. Otherwise you run the risk of getting lost amongst the tourists.

If you're interested in the concept, check out Kenny's Five Favorite European Destinations for ideas on where you can go to take that next trip just a little...more...slowly.

Party Flights Themed After Nightclubs

Monarch, the European budget airline, is offering Ibiza-bound passengers a more exciting way to travel. Revelers en route to the world's foremost destination for clubbing and all-around debauchery can now get started early on the company's new "party plane."

Or can they?

Because, by the sounds of it, the party is a little lame. While the inside is said to be decked out in bright colors and a nightclub theme, cabin crews won't be tolerating any drunken behavior, and anyone who's already intoxicated won't be allowed on board in the first place. It's been awhile since I've been clubbing, but -- if memory serves -- isn't getting drunk more or less the point?

But, says Monarch, the fun part is that you'll be able to buy "funky" music CDs during your "party plane" experience. Unfortunately, a) this doesn't sound like fun at all, and b) it seems to run contrary to their claims of "chic hedonism."

On the other hand, "it's the first time a plane has ever adopted a music brand," says a company spokeswoman. This may not make the new planes much of a party, but is certainly something that set them apart from the competition.

So, a little in-flight fun -- even if it's subdued -- might be a good way to get the party started, even if you'll have to hold back on the real rowdy behavior until after arrival.

Rescue Workers Evacuating Greek Cruise Ship

The Sea Diamond, a Greek cruise ship, called for help earlier today after running aground in shallow water. Now rescue helicopters and over a dozen ships are working to evacuate the 1,600 people on board. While local weather conditions are good, workers are trying to move quickly as the ship is taking on water.

Some of the 1,200 passengers -- mostly from Germany and the U.S. -- have already begun boarding lifeboats and abandoning ship. The ship has an additional 400 crew that will most likely have to be evacuated.

Fortunately, at least some of the passengers have reached Santorini, the nearest island, and "no one has been hurt," a local official told Reuters.

No word on how long the operation is expected to take.

Space Tourist to Blog From Final Frontier

Just when you thought your exoctic travel destinations were exciting, consider the latest endeavour by Microsoft billionaire, Charles Simonyi: he's headin' for space. While he's up there, Simonyi plans to -- amongst other things -- blog about his adventure.

It all starts this Saturday, when the Microsoft Word developer will blast off with a pair of Russians on a two-day journey to the International Space Station. He'll be there for 11 days, taking samples of the microbes living on the station, trying to fix a couple broken ham radios, and writing.

Simyoni hopes his trip will promote future space travel for civilians. Although, at the moment, it's a little cost prohibitive. The upcoming trip will set him back more than $20 million.

Travel Trend: Taking the Kids on Business Trips

Due to the growing number of single parents and two-income families, coupled with the trend to have children later in life, it seems more and more business travelers working in time with their kids by taking the family along for the ride.

As you might suspect, the service and travel industries are getting in on the act, trying to capitalize on the new business. Conference planners are seeking out vacation-friendly destinations, and hotels are catering to families -- not so much for vacationers, but to appear more attractive to convention organizers, who feel they can attract more participants by encouraging parents to bring their kids.

One hotel even partnered with Fisher Price to offer suites complete with a crib, baby swing, and CD full of lullabies.

Amid all the growing concern with Blackberry Parents (a term for parents whose kids feel less-important than their wireless device), and the tendency toward workaholic behavior in today's increasingly competitive marketplace, it's nice to see business travelers finding a way to incorporate more family time into their work schedules.

Because before you know it, they won't be kids anymore.

Five Tips for Students Booking Trips Abroad

Summer is right around the corner, which, for students (or anyone else who has their summers off) means the chance to travel. For those of you planning a vacation abroad, here's five tips to keep in mind while you're booking your trip.

Note: Some of these came ideas from a press release by Lessno.com -- a travel website that, not surprisingly, specializes in backpacking trips for college students. So, keep in mind, they're trying to sell you something. However, the advice seems useful, and I've amended their suggestions with personal experience.

1. Keep Travel Dates Flexible: This one may seem fairly obvious, but it's worth noting, as -- in my experience, at least -- ticket prices can occasionally change dramatically, even from one day to the next.

2. Book Many Legs of a Trip at Once: By doing this you avoid purchasing one-way tickets, which -- oddly -- are sometimes more expensive than round-tip tickets. That being said, while you're technically not supposed to, there's nothing stopping you from buying a round-trip ticket, and forgoing the return journey if it doesn't suit your overall travel plan.

3. Use Frequent Flier Points: Again, kind of obvious. But you may not know that you can use other people's miles if you haven't amassed many yourself. My dad often travels internationally for business, which came in very handy when I was in college, broke, and regularly trying to book expensive flights oversees.

4. Look For Local Airlines: Especially budget airlines. A lot of US-based travel sites don't include the often absurdly cheap European options, like Easy Jet, or Ryan Air. (Though, it should be noted, the flight attendants on Ryan Air are a surly bunch.)

5. Book Travel with Friends: Again, worth doing, particularly if you're in for a long haul. For those of you heading to multiple destinations, a large part of your experience will be the actual transit from place to place. If you don't book together with friends, the chances that you'll end up next to one another on flights -- or on the same flights at all -- is slim.

Finally, a suggestion that isn't mentioned by Lesso.com -- probably because they don't offer this service -- is, especially if you're traveling through Europe, take the train. You'll meet more people, the view is fantastic, train stations are way cooler than airports, and the whole thing will feel more "authentic." Trust me.

Cell Phones on Planes?

So why can't I use my cell phone on airplanes? Would it really interfere with airplane communications, or is it just a scam to try and get me to use those stupid air phones?

The Federal Communications Commission has been examining that very same question since 2004 (though probably not quite in those terms). As you know, current regulations mandate that you turn off any wireless devices (including your phone) while the plane is in the air, but we've all been holding out for a change in those regulations -- hoping that the organization would discover that the rules were over-cautious.

But, alas, in an order released yesterday -- citing "insufficient technical information" on whether or not the phones would cause interference -- the FCC officially shot down the idea by upholding current regulations.

Bummer.

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