T-Pain stopped by The Late Late Show to perform his recent single, “That’s Just Tips.” Dressed in a red suit and white cowboy hat, the rapper gave a high-energy performance of the track along with his live band.
The rapper dropped “That’s Just Tips” earlier this week via Nappy Boy Entertainment/Empire. The track follows several recent collaborations, including last year’s “I Like Dat,” which saw T-Pain teaming up with Kehlani. He also appeared on Denzel Curry’s recent single, “Troubles,” off the rapper’s recent album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future.
T-Pain will hit the road this month for The Road To Wiscansin Tour. The 18-date trekkicks off May 10 in San Francisco, making stops in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and New York. The tour will wrap up at his inaugural “Wiscansin Festival” at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee on June 11. Tickets are on sale now.
Traveling solo can be empowering and rewarding, offering moments of self-discovery and deep reflection. Understandably some women are intimated to travel alone, with the key concern being safety. With careful planning, however, and the right mindset, you can minimize the risks to ensure a rewarding safe travel experience.
Here is my top advice for women traveling solo, from a woman who does it time and time again:
First and foremost, book a trip with a reputable tour operator. Even if they are a bit higher – you can’t compromise safety.
Do guided tours and, better yet, private tours if you can. Not only does it provide access to unique places and people, but it supports the local economy and encourages communities to value tourism. Guided tours ensure that you are in the right places, and not a naïve tourist who could potentially be taken advantage of.
Consider forgoing the larger properties and choose to stay at smaller boutique/owner run properties. This usually allows for a more attentive experience from the staff and you almost feel like you become part of the family. You may feel safer and more secure in this environment and that the property is looking out for you. In big hotels, it is easy to become lost in the crowd.
Share your full travel itinerary with someone back home in advance. Make sure they understand the potential time differences when trying to get hold of you and know where you are daily.
Consider scheduled road transfers vs. Uber or public transportation unless it’s well established like in larger cities such as London, Paris or New York. Book scheduled road transfers through a reputable operator always.
Schedule “check-ins” with your loved ones back home. It helps alleviate concerns as well as making them part of your experience. It also ensures that they are on track with your whereabouts at all times.
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Catherine the Great, who ruled Russia for more than 30 years in the late 18th century, copied eccentric English childcare methods to try to alter Europe’s view of her empire as unsophisticated and feudal.
The harsh nursery regime favoured by the English royal family, including long walks for toddlers, cold water washing and no rocking of cribs, was adopted by the empress’s own palace in St Petersburg once she received a note outlining the rules followed by the royal nanny in London.
“The emphasis was on discipline and fresh air,” said Lucy Ward, the author of a new book that reveals startling practices in both royal households. “It is all hearty and no-frills stuff but, for Catherine, it was part of showing the world just how progressive Russia was.”
In a message to the empress, the nurse Louisa Chieveley, who tended George III’s 15 babies, claimed it was “their constant living, the regularity of which, with air and exercise, makes them the healthiest family in the world”.
As part of what Catherine described as her own “anglomania”, in 1768 she also secretly summoned a doctor from Hertfordshire to travel out to inoculate her and her young family against smallpox, a technique that was highly controversial. The charismatic despot, who is played by Elle Fanning in the hit Channel 4 drama The Great, reigned over her empire from 1762 to 1796, and was determined to impress European elites with her adherence to modern scientific advice.
“These ideas were part of her interest in education and health. Russia had a big child mortality problem and it was seen as crucial to expand the population,” said Ward.
The Empress and the English Doctor, published on Thursday, makes use of several previously unseen papers that belonged to the Quaker-born English physician Thomas Dimsdale. The doctor’s own sister had died of smallpox, and by the time he was summoned to Russia, Dimsdale had already inoculated 6,000 people, with live small pox with only one reported death.
At Catherine’s request, Dimsdale also went to Chieveley, officially titled Head Superintendent of the Royal Nursery, in 1779 and obtained key childcare details.
“As the royal family are very large, they are never put on their feet till a year old and generally walk perfectly well three or four months after. The only medicines used are rhubarb and magnesia, which are given whenever it is necessary, and walking twice every day except in rain,” explained Chieveley, adding, “It is usual in the royal family for children of three or four years old to walk four or five miles in a day.”
Catherine gained power in Russia as the wife of Peter III, who was murdered in 1762. As a native German, she saw Russia as part of Europe.
“Although Catherine quickly learned the Russian language and used the Orthodox church to bond with the Russian people, there was a pivot towards Englishness in her court,” said Ward.
“English habits, along with hunting dogs and garden design, became fashionable, but it was also really important for her to fundamentally change Europe’s view of the country. It was this thinking that led her towards inoculation.”
Smallpox swept Russia shortly after Catherine came to power, with more than one in five people affected. Emperor Peter II had died of it at the age of 14, on the eve of his wedding.
“Catherine is commonly associated with a lie about having died during an odd sex act but, in fact, the most interesting thing that she ever did with her body was get herself inoculated,” said Ward.
Pragmatic English doctors could see that inoculation worked, even though it was dangerous. Safer vaccination methods came later in 1798 when less virulent bovine pox was injected by Edward Jenner to boost immunity.
Catherine invited Dimsdale and his third wife, Elizabeth, to return to Russia later to carry out the same procedure on her two grandsons, one of whom became Tsar Alexander I. She also made the doctor a Russian Baron and gifted him large sums of money.
“Catherine really knew how to handle state symbolism,” said Ward. “She was an expert in that side of leadership and wrote letters to Voltaire about her inoculation because she knew that would help spread the word.”
Soon after her initial inoculation by Dimsdale, Catherine embarked upon the first Russo-Turkish war and successfully took control of Crimea.
A foreign land. Three young children. A rollercoaster pandemic.
After nearly two years in Germany, Air Force spouse Jessica Lynn could list plenty of reasons to stay close to home. Yet, she remains determined to explore new places — while encouraging otherOCONUS families to safely do the same.
“It can be so scary moving to a new place,” she said, “but rip off the Band-Aid of your comfort zone and see what you can see.”
Stationed in Geilenkirchen, Germany, since June 2020, Jessica Lynn is always on the lookout for the next adventure with her husband, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, and three kids (ages 5, 7 and 9). Due to the current hassles of air travel, most of their getaways have been road trips to nearby Austria, the Netherlands and quaint German villages.
Highlights so far include Wernigerode, Germany, where their familyvisited Rapunzel’s tower, andNormandy, France, where they spent four days exploringthe infamous landing siteofAmerican troops during WWII.
For Jessica Lynn, writing about travel is nothing new. In college, she started her first blogwhilestudying abroad in England.
“It was justa way to keep in touch with friends and family,” she said.
Theblog’s focus shifted once she started dating her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Kenny, whowas already in the Air Force.Knowing very little about the military, Jessica Lynn started writing about their long-distance relationship from a fresh perspective. These journal-style entries drew in readers from outside her personal network.
“I started gaining followers, which was such a new concept back then when you would write just to write,” she said.
A few years later, sheleft a beloved job at a magazine in New Mexico to get married and move to Georgia
— thefirst ofsix duty stationswith Kenny, including Italy and Germany.
TodayJessica Lynn shares posts about family friendly destinations, captivating reelsfrom theiradventuresand PCS tips for militaryfamilieswith thousands of followers across Pinterest and Instagram.
“I really enjoy connectingthrough my words and helping other military spouses and girlfriends,” she said. “I’ve moved to new bases already knowing people there because they’ve read my posts. It’s rewarding to hear that something I’ve written has helped someone or made an impact.”
When Jessica Lynn isn’t blogging or traveling, you can find her cooking or researching the next destination on herfamily’strip list, which for 2022 includes Paris, the Northern Lights, Canary Islands, Spain, Portugal and a Baltic cruise. She hopes to visit 10 new countriesthis year and plans to bloghighlights and photosofeach adventure — along with hard-earned tips for taking kids along.
Far Cry 6 blows a lot of stuff up. But the biggest thing it blows up is the Far Cry formula. Yes, as many have noted, there’s a lot of fundamental overlap with every other game in Ubisoft’s long-running open-world shoot-everything-you-see series. When you get into the weeds, though, you’ll find that Far Cry 6 introduces subtle tweaks that beget a different approach to what you’re used to.
Two of us—weekend editor Zack Zweizen and staff writer Ari Notis—have collectively played [crunches numbers] “Oh no…” of Far Cry 6 this past week. Here are 22 tips we wished we knew going in.
Get Off The Tiny Starter-Island ASAP
After the initial prologue, you are tossed onto a small island filled with a few places to explore and some early tutorial missions. You can stay here and explore for hours and hours, easily, but don’t do that. Instead, once the game unlocks the rest of the map and tells you to go out and free Yara, do exactly that. The game truly opens up once you get off the island. If you want to come back and hound for secrets, you can always return.
Start With The Valle De Oro Region
Specifically, look for the “Maximus Matanzas” mission. This questline was our favorite of the game and more importantly, it unlocks a new radio station that makes driving around the island much more enjoyable. Oh, and you get a “Zebra” too.
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But Do Get Moving On All Three Plotlines At Once
Each of Far Cry 6’s three main plotlines features a faction. Those factions each make their base at a camp, nestled in the starting areas of their respective region. You can build six helpful facilities at these camps:
Hideout Network (Gives you the wingsuit and some fast-travel locations)
Guerrilla Garrison (Beefs up your fighters, plus grants scouting bonuses)
Fishing Hut (Fuck fishing)
Hunter’s Lodge (Unlocks the bow, Far Cry’s historically best weapon)
Bandidos Barracks (Allows you to recruit more fighters)
La Cantina (Opens up options for temporary buffs, and makes Ari very, very hungry)
The catch? You can only build two at each one. But by dipping your toe into every one of the game’s plots, you can unlock all three camps in short order. See where we’re going with this?
Your First Camp Facility Should Be A Hideout Network
All of the six camp facilities provide helpful bonuses and new features, but the Hideout Network is the most useful. It lets you, for a small fee, unlock tons of new fast travel spots around the map. Best part? Many of these will be in parts of the map you haven’t traveled to yet, but you can still teleport using the map, even without visiting them first. This is very useful for getting around the island quickly. Another fast-travel tip…
Plus, Fast-Traveling Saves The Game
Much ado has been made about how Far Cry 6, unlike some prior entries, doesn’t have a manual save option. If you want to cut your session short while also ensuring you don’t lose any sweet sweet unlocks, just fast-travel to any available fast-travel spot (camp, town, you name it). That’ll guarantee your progress is saved.
Actually Take The Time To Do The Benito’s Bandidos Missions
At camps, you can access a text-based mini-game called Benito’s Bandidos. It’s pretty straightforward: You send troops of fighters out on missions. At various intervals, they ask you to give them “orders” (for instance: They’ve hit a blockade, and need some help figuring out how to pass it). Each order you give comes with a percentage check. Successfully pass three of those, and you complete the mission. It sounds frivolous, but you can get some helpful items—including a gold-plated auto pistol—from completing them.
Right From The Start, You Can Do It All
The game never really tells you any of this, so we will. In past Far Cry games, you would level up and unlock new abilities, like being able to air assassinate people or takedown bigger, armored baddies. But that’s not how Far Cry 6 works and while a few abilities are tied to some pieces of gear, most of your badass toolbox of murderin’ moves is available to you right away. So you can quietly takedown any enemy you encounter, you can chain takedowns and you can tap the right trigger while doing a takedown and toss a knife at a nearby enemy.
Oh, You Can Also Hijack Vehicles
Zack spent almost 30 hours playing this game before he realized that you could click the right stick (on console) to hijack vehicles. This is very useful as it instantly kills both the driver and the passenger of whatever car or truck is unlucky enough to get too close.
Talk To Every NPC With An Exclamation Point
On your travels around Yara, you’ll come across NPCs with little exclamation points floating over their heads. (You can also see them indicated on the minimap.) Take a second to interact with every single one. They’ll give you coordinates for gear caches, treasure hunts, vehicular races, and more optional activities. Sure, you can find that stuff just by ambling around aimlessly. But getting the specific bearings makes finding it all way, way easier.
Far Cry 6 features a head-spinningly deep suite of options. Few are more helpful than the ability to highlight collectibles. Open up the settings, then go to the HUD options. You’ll see an option that allows you to turn on an outline around every collectible item you come across. (You can also set it so enemies are outlined as well, if you so please.) Bonus points for changing the outline color. Can’t miss a pickup if it’s highlighted in neon pink!
Take Out AA Guns So You Can Drop In From Above
When fast-traveling to towns, camps, or hideouts, you have two options: Your standard fast travel and a skydive route. The standard fast travel just plops you in the camp as you would expect. The better option is to drop in via the sky. This lets you use your wingsuit, giving you a quick and easy way to fly to any nearby location. Far Cry 6’s map is enormous. But everything seems smaller—or at least more manageable—when you travel as the bird flies.
Don’t Skip The Horses
In a world filled with tanks, helicopters, wingsuits, and super-fast cars, you might be tempted to never ride a horse. But horses in Far Cry 6 are more than just a new gimmick. Horses are very fast and can be used to easily traverse all the various trails and tiny hidden paths across Yara. They also make short work of mountains too. And another bonus: Horses are quiet. So you can sneak up on enemies.
Always Have A Gun With Armor-Piercing Rounds
Far Cry 6 adds a new ammo feature. It’s a bit annoying. Just stick to using armor piercing rounds. You can craft and equip these via any workbench you find out in the world. If you go for headshots, armored rounds will drop helmet-wearing soldiers as well as unarmored baddies too. The only problem is if you don’t hit someone in the head or shoot something not wearing armor (like a dog), as it can take many more AP rounds to kill them. Does this make any logical sense? Not really, but here we are. So always keep a gun with standard or soft target rounds. We suggest an assault rifle or SMG, something that can take care of groups of dogs and soldiers in a few seconds.
Customize Guns, Add A Silencer On Something
As with past games, getting a silenced pistol or rifle turns you into a god, able to take out bases in mere seconds without alerting enemies or setting off alarms. So we highly recommend you stick a silencer on a gun as soon as you can using a workbench. When you’re checking out attachments, the game will tell you how a suppressor will affect your gun—not via stats but via…words? Pick one that says “slow to overheat,” or at the very least veer away from one that says “very quick to overheat.” (When a silencer overheats in Far Cry 6, the silencer stops making bullets silent.)
Weapon Attachments Work For The Whole Weapon Category
Say you invest in a snazzy scope for your AK-47, a killer assault rifle. But then you unlock the M16A, an even better assault rifle. You don’t need to repurchase that scope. You can just slot it on the new gun. This is true for all weapon attachments. So a laser sight for your 1911 pistol will work fine on your other handguns, a suppressor will work on your shotguns (lol), an ACOG scope will work on your snipers, and so on.
You Can Change Your Weapon’s Rate Of Fire On The Fly
It’s not possible for every weapon, but some fully automatic weapons can also be fired as single-shot or as burst-fire rifles. Just hold L1 (on PlayStation) to bring up the weapon wheel. Then hover over the one you’ve equipped and tap the Square button to cycle through your options.
Keep An EMP Grenade On You At All Times
In the same vein as weapon attachments, once you unlock a mod for your Supremo—the ugly if gameplay-changing backpacks—you can put it on any other Supremo. That goes for EMP grenades, easily the most helpful mod of the bunch. These are useful for stopping any vehicle, yes. But more importantly, they can stop tanks, which you can either jump on and steal or get the option to destroy via a quick cutscene. This can make some tough missions much easier to complete. Even better, if you steal a tank you can just use it on all the baddies and enemy vehicles in the area.
Look For Gear That Has Useful Abilities
A lot of gear in the game gives you bonuses like “Deal more damage” or “Improved fire resistance” and that gear can be useful, but I recommend looking out for and equipping gear that gives you new perks or abilities. For example, Zack found a face mask that unlocks the ability to takedown enemies from the front, even if they are fully alert and are shooting him. Very handy. Other gear lets you sneak and crouch-walk much faster. And if you don’t like the way you look, well don’t worry because…
You Can Totally Transmog Stuff
Unlike certain other Ubisoft games (cough, cough, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), Far Cry 6 starts with transmog—the option to change your gear’s appearance without changing its stats—right out of the gate. It’s easy to miss, though. First, hover over any piece of gear you want to change. Tap Triangle (on PlayStation), then navigate down to the symbol in the lower-left hand corner that looks like an eyeball doing a front flip. You should see cosmetic options for every piece of gear you’ve unlocked up to that point.
Take Out Alarms And Mark Enemies Before Starting A Fight
If you’ve played a Far Cry game, then odds are you already know to do this, but for those who might be new to the series or haven’t played in some time: scout out bases before entering. Use your phone (up on the D-pad) to mark targets, cameras, alarms, and more. Keep your eyes on the minimap too. If you see a red splotch on the map, that means there is at least one unmarked soldier in that area. You can also mark enemies by zooming in on them with a scope. Once you’ve marked people, try to take out the big, yellow alarms using arrows or silenced weapons. When you take out all alarms, the game helpfully lets you know. At that point, they can’t call for backup. Feel free to go loud at that point, if you so desire.
Do Some Treasure Hunts For Fun (And Better Weapons)
Treasure hunts are some of the best side quests in Far Cry 6, often mixing puzzles, platforming and strange stories together into bite-sized bits of action and fun. For example, one of them has you exploring a haunted castle. Another great reason to play them: weapons. Many of these missions end with a new weapon, often one of the game’s special “unique weapons.” Early on these can be super useful, featuring perks and attachments that you might not have access to yet. Zack got a rocket launcher early on after completing a treasure and it made the game much easier because he could quickly destroy annoying helicopters.
Don’t Forget About Your Amigos!
Use one that works with your playstyle. Some amigos, like the crocodile you get early on, are perfect for folks who like to run in guns blazing. Others, like Boomer (yes, the dog from Far Cry 5; don’t think about it too much) are best suited for sneaky players. Zack prefers Boomer, as he marks enemies around you and also, he’s a good boy too. Ari disagrees (he sucks) and prefers Champagne, the big cat, which is sadly only available via additional DLC (the Vice Pack). Whichever amigo you choose, make sure you check out their abilities via the amigos’ section of the pause menu and see if your favorite has alternate costumes. Sadly Boomer doesn’t. Smells like DLC, though.
The TSA has prepared for the continued surge in travelers at Southwest Florida International Airport and across the country with acrylic barriers and upgraded technology to reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and staff, according to a press release. The agency also has tips for people returning to air travel.
The first is to arrive early, two hours early. Remember that the doors to your plane are shut 15 to 20 minutes before the posted flight time and you might arrive just when there is a crowd to check a bag or go through security. TSA staff are screening record numbers of passengers at RSW, even higher than before the start of the pandemic
“The health and safety of our work force and the traveling public remain our critical mission,” said Robert McLaughlin, federal security director with the TSA at RSW. “I am impressed with the professionalism of our TSA employees and the remarkable teamwork with Lee County Port Authority and the Lee County Port Authority Police.”
The TSA has installed the latest checkpoint technology, CT 300s, as well as credential authentication technology, to reduce touchpoints. The CTs or computed tomography equipment uses complex algorithms to search for threats, allowing TSA officers to rotate the images, reducing the need to open bags. Passengers screened in the lanes with this new equipment do not need to remove their 311 bag or their electronics.
In the lanes with CAT machines, passengers are separated from TSA officers by acrylic barriers and can insert their own ID or passport. Boarding passes are not needed in those lanes. The equipment verifies passengers’ identity and confirms in real time that they are flying that day.
Face masks for both employees and passengers are required for all domestic transportation, including airport security screening checkpoints and throughout the airport. Since the implementation of the federal face mask mandate for travelers on Feb. 2 and the subsequent extension into September, masks are required regardless of any local or state easing of restrictions. Those who refuse to wear a mask face fines from the TSA and from the Federal Aviation Authority if the infraction occurs while flying. The TSA continues to work closely with all transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Travelers should follow these six tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible:
Tip 1: Wear a face mask. You must. Face masks must be worn in the airport, on the plane and on all public conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs regardless of state and local laws.
Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, verify if items are prohibited by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on the TSA website. Also, empty your pockets of your wallet, coins, phone and other permitted items into your own carry-on, not into the trays in the checkpoint. That will reduce touchpoints as well.
Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: No guns at checkpoints ever. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And know what the laws are on both sides of your trip.
Tip 5: Help is always available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673.
Tip 6: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.
The Labor Department on Tuesday released the final version of a rule that would allow employers to share workers’ tips with co-workers who don’t normally receive tips.
Under the so-called tip pools authorized by the new rule, the tips of waiters and waitresses can be shared with back-of-the-house workers like cooks and dishwashers.
But such sharing will be allowed only if the waiters and waitresses receive the standard minimum wage in their city or state, not the lower minimum wage that most states allow employers to pay tipped workers.
“This final rule provides clarity and flexibility for employers and could increase pay for back-of-the house workers,” Cheryl Stanton, the department’s wage and hour administrator, said in a statement.
The rule carries out a compromise negotiated between Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and R. Alexander Acosta, then the labor secretary, that was enacted in legislation in 2018.
Before the compromise, a Labor Department proposal for creating tip pools would have allowed supervisors, managers and owners to share in workers’ tips. The compromise prohibited this practice, making clear that only rank-and-file workers can benefit from tips.
Still, some labor advocates raised concern about an element of the new rule governing the amount of nontipped work, like cleaning, that a worker can perform and still be paid the lower minimum wage for tipped workers.
The previous standard, known as the “80/20” rule, held that workers could spend no more than 20 percent of their time on nontipped work and still earn the lower minimum wage. The new rule appears to allow workers to spend a much larger portion of their time on nontipped duties, citing vaguer language like a “reasonable time.”
Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Labor Department, has estimated that the change would cost workers more than $700 million per year, and probably far more during the pandemic, when tipped work is scarcer.
“Getting rid of the 80/20 rule is another way that employers can capture some of workers’ income,” Ms. Shierholz said in an interview.
The rule is scheduled to take effect in roughly two months, giving the incoming Biden administration a chance to postpone the implementation and possibly prevent it.
Winning tip: A zen Christmas with disco karaoke, Japan
One Christmas, I went to a zen meditation retreat in Oita, on the southernmost Kyushu island, because I was feeling very burned out. The meditation retreat, as you would imagine, was pretty relaxed and the resident monk and I got along very well. Oita is famous for its fugu – the poisonous puffer fish – and for Christmas dinner, I took the only other person at the retreat and the monk into the city for a fugu feast. After a visit to a karaoke bar where we sang I Will Survive, the three of us rounded our Christmas off at a whisky bar before riding the train back to the temple to meditate before bed. Best Christmas ever! Sarah Martin
Festive fireworks on the beach, Bangkok
In Bangkok over Christmas, we decided to head to the island of Ko Chang. A five-hour drive was livened up by the karaoke machine in the back of the taxi. Our hotel’s attempt at roast turkey – served beachside – was not a great success. Fireworks and dancing at the Sabay Bar on White Sand beach that night were more like it. And splashing out on a speedboat back to the mainland on Boxing Day was a fun end to the trip. David Hall
The belénes of Granada, Spain
Arriving late by bus, still wearing ski gear, we trundled our cabin bags over the cobbles in search of our rented apartment in the heart of medieval Granada. It was Christmas Eve. Everyone was out: drinking cava, sharing tapas or queuing to see the belénes, the nativity scenes set up in all the plazas. We went to midnight mass in the Cathedral, and on Christmas morning, climbed up to the viewpoint at the Albaicín, the old Moorish quarter. From there, the Alhambra looked sublime against its backdrop of snow-capped peaks, the same mountains we had skied down just the day before. Helen Barnes
Romance on the 102nd floor, New York
New York, 2009. Baggage handlers kindly mislaid our luggage, making our engagement more problematic than I’d have liked, but the snow and the scenery and the gasp of “really?” when I popped the question atop the Empire State Building on Christmas morning, followed by a Christmas dinner of burgers in the Diamond District, more than made up for it. There really is no other place like it, certainly not at Christmas. Visiting the Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, taking a horse ride through Central Park – they all sound like cliches but were simply magical moments we’d recommend everyone experience. We spent a lot on phone calls to the airline, but who cares? Jonathan Greenbank
A bushveld feast, South Africa
We had a family holiday at Shimuweni, a remote bushveld camp down a small dirt track in the Kruger national park, self-catering. After a day of drizzle we spent an hour trying to extract ourselves from the mud before sundown. No Christmas dinner has ever been quite such fun as a spatchcocked chicken masquerading as a turkey, green peppers (the only greens in the camp shop) as sprouts, baked potatoes cooked direct in the embers and some barbecued pineapple for pudding. Having hidden tinsel and a few tiny gifts in our hand luggage the whole trip, pulling them out to my parents’ utter surprise was entirely worth it. Sophie
Retreading the missionary path, India
For Christmas in 2016, my family and I went on a trip to southern India to see where my mum spent six years of her childhood in the 60s when her dad was a missionary. It was a fascinating trip and surprisingly Christmassy in a weird and wonderful way – a whole cooked turkey with the head and neck still on, anyone? At the Christmas Day church service Mum bumped into a friend who she used to play with when she was a child, and we swam in the sea at Kovalam beach just as she did with her family all those years ago. Alex Robinson
A wondrous walk, Jordan
Our twist on Christmas was set in Jordan and began with a sleepless night on Christmas Eve in a wind-battered tent – although “tent” was a loose term for the patchy tarpaulins we used for shelter, and a structural collapse occurred at 3am. Despite the mishaps, Christmas morning began in style with a sip of prosecco and a bite of Mum’s homemade Christmas cake for all. Once clad in festive antlers, we set off on a walk through the mountains to the majestic monastery in Petra. Festive greetings from home and an unusual Christmas dinner, consisting of a cucumber, an orange and flatbread, rounded off a brilliant Christmas Day in one of the wonders of the world. Rhian Thomas
An alternative white Christmas, Bolivia
My most unusual Christmas Day was on the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – white, but salt, not snow. We visited the Salt Hotel, then drove over packed salt to walk on a island with weird cactuses everywhere. Then it was on to a very basic hostel – no electricity (cold showers) and unisex dorms with cast-iron bunk beds – for a dinner of spag bol reheated over a gas cylinder burner and carols by candlelight. After a short night, Boxing Day saw us visiting the amazing Sol de Mañana geysers before heading to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, which was like a wild west film set. Micki Hobbs
Viennese whirlwind, Austria
With no plans on Christmas morning we searched for an impromptu mini-break and chose three nights in Vienna, departing Stansted at 8pm. No traffic, no queues, last train into the city, and a taxi around the Ringstrasse – illuminated golden bright on a silent night – for chocolate in bed as the clock struck midnight. Cafe Hawelka, Wiener wurst, Christmas markets, ice skating, Belvedere Museum Klimts, the ferris wheel at Prater, feeling giggly after gluhwein, looking for the Third Man aboard a clanking tram … Vienna simply dazzles at Christmas. Sometimes the unexpected presents are the best. Sonia Marshall
Mastering the haka, New Zealand
Taking part in a local haka contest – and winning it – on Christmas Day on a New Zealand beach was the last thing I expected to do during my backpacking trip around the world. While sunbathing on Piha beach near Lion Rock, just outside Auckland, I was invited to learn the ceremonial dance so decided to go for it along with several other tourists. My terrific trainer, Ari (whose name apparently means Lion of God), should take all the credit for my prize – a large live sheep and a Māori tattoo on my shoulder. Strictly Come Dancing it certainly wasn’t, but a Christmas with a difference it sure was. Greta Cooper
Our all-girls group’s plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve while camping and stargazing in Chile’s eerie Atacama Desert almost went wrong. Thanks to Jesus, it all worked out. Our tight budget led us to rent a Jeep from a backstreet car-hire firm in San Pedro. Result – a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, a friendly group of locals led by the aptly named Jesus, who had some mechanical knowledge, were also heading out to the desert and stopped to help us. Result: a shared trip, wine, food, campfires and songs in English and Spanish under the mystical Atacama skies to see out and welcome in the year in a stunning setting and with great company. Yasmin Cox
Cold night with hot music, New Orleans
One New Year’s Eve in the early 2000s, my partner and I were housesitting a friend’s shack in New Orleans. The temperature had plunged to -5C, remarkable for Nola. Totally unprepared for this unusual cold, we put on our onesie long johns and walked to Mid-City Lanes Rock‘n’Bowl. We rented a lane, ordered po’ boys (a Louisiana sandwich) and beers, bowled, and wandered downstairs to hear legendary local singer and guitarist Snooks Eaglin (sadly no longer with us). Around 10pm, the Iguanas came onstage and the bowling lanes were overrun with revellers juggling food, drinks and kids while dancing to the Latin-tinged R&B groove music. New Year’s Eve, but just a normal night a Noo Or-lins. Donna J Hall
Out with the old, Bologna
To see in 2019 we went to beautiful Bologna where there is a traditional burning of a huge effigy of a man – known as the vecchione (the old one) – in the square at midnight. This symbolises the discarding of all the bad things that happened in the old year and the welcoming in of the new. The night starts with dancing and music where people of all ages drink and enjoy life. As the clock struck 12 we hugged and the flames engulfed the wooden figure as confetti fell from the sky and balloons bounced over the crowd. Louisa Guise
A Méri old evening, France
In Méribel forNew Year’s Eve, a couple from our chalet invites us to the local bar. We are a mixed bunch; some of us in snow boots, some dressed very fashionably. The champagne flows, glasses are raised, then raised again as the mellow sounds of a saxophonist flood the room. The fire crackles, while outside the crescent moon hangs amid twinkling stars; this is paradise. Later, we head to the village square where vin chaud is served by chalet staff as we watch expert skiers descend carrying lanterns while fireworks burst above them. The hour is upon us as we gather around a tree and welcome in the new year. Perfect. Jean Broad
Wine and jive, Cape Town
A sunset picnic on Table Mountain, washed down with silky-smooth Stellenbosch wines, was a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Cape Town at the dawn of the new millennium. As the clock ticked towards midnight, I took the cable car down to the V&A Waterfront, looking down as the mountain tops of the 12 Apostles cast their dramatic shadows over the brooding Atlantic Ocean. An all-night open-air disco carried on the fun, welcoming in the new year for a crowd of all ages and races, with the then 81-year-old Nelson Mandela appearing on the big screen from his nearby home, jiving away, to join in the celebrations. Gonca Cox
Salsa, sea lions and sculptures in San Diego
The welcome sunshine was not just a bonus for me, but also for the sea lions who were basking on the jetty. The Balloon Parade was a party open to everyone, and it was a friendly family atmosphere along with plenty of salsa moves. At sunset, stunning stone sculptures were silhouetted against the skyline. Standing on the boardwalk in Seaport Village was the perfect viewpoint for the midnight fireworks and their sparkling reflections in the sea. A great way to see in the new year – and all for free. Vanessa Wright
I found Paradise, Ethiopia
One year I spent 31 December at Paradise Lodge, overlooking Ethiopia’s Lake Chamo in the south-west of the country, where the individual tukuls (round huts) could be described as primitive or charmingly rustic, depending on your take. At the gala dinner we ate berbere-spiced wats (stews) and injera, a flatbread that reminded me of foam rubber in looks and taste. The music ranged from Amy Winehouse to traditional Ethiopian tunes, and a group of Indian visitors proved funky dancers whatever the beat. Midnight arrived, along with a huge cake, poppers, streamers and more dance music. The international partying continued until the early hours when I returned to what seemed like a palatial room. Helen Jackson
Covid willing, we’ll be heading to Kyrgyzstan. It’s at that perfect point where the infrastructure supports a great travel experience, but it’s not become spoiled by tourists. Bishkek is modern and vibrant, and in the stunning rural areas it’s possible to stay with nomads living the traditional life. It’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with delicious locally sourced food. Kyrgyz community-based tourism proved an affordable way to experience the life of horse-riding nomads living in yurts, and the money goes into the community itself. Minnie Martin
Where the map takes us, Wester Ross
The west coast of Scotland is our wild goal. During the neverending house tidy of 2020, we found the Gairloch & Ullapool area OS map and pored over it – a bit of geography home learning for my son, who liked the wriggly contour lines and the consonant-heavy names of the lochs and mountains. We’ll take the high road to Gairloch to see orca and minke (Hebridean Whale Cruises, £64 adult, £35 child), stay in a wooden wigwam at Sands campsite (from £52pp), and walk to the beach humming the Skye boat song. Nancy Gladstone
Island dream, Lundy
My son, daughter and I have been making lists of where we want to go since the first lockdown. We’ve booked a few days on Lundy for next August in the hope that it will be safe to travel again by then. It only involves a five-hour drive to Ilfracombe, Devon, and then a couple of hours on HMS Oldenburg (which for my three-year-old boy will be the holiday made before we even get there). We’ll stay in Castle Cottage, in the keep of a castle built by Henry III in 1250. There’s nothing to do but explore cliffs, beaches and lighthouses, and look for the crashed bomber plane in the heather. And there’s no internet. Kate Attrill
All a-Twitter for York
I’d love to go to York and visit the Yorkshire Museum as their wonderful tweets – mainly about odd or mysterious items in their collection – have kept me entertained and brought history alive this year. A pint or two in the city’s ancient pubs and a wander home to characterful lodgings would just cap a cultural visit off nicely! Liz
Mind-Boggling Whitby, North Yorkshire
Low cost and close to home, a stay with the YHA at Boggle Hole is always a welcome relief. A converted watermill with a reception, bar and cosy sitting room complete with a log fire and leather couches, it’s in a pebbled cove overlooking the sea, with wooded cliffs on either side. Go in spring or early autumn and the prices are as low as £29 a night. Walk across the sandy beach to Robin Hoods Bay or over the jagged cliffs to Ravenscar to see the seals. Safiya El-Gindy
I long for the wide expansiveness of Glasgow boulevards: west-facing, bathed in the golden glow of light glancing off sandstone. I long for the cobbled alleyways, armpit-piled bookshops, curiosity shops crammed with treasure; and also the glitzy, glassy, high street emporiums filled with unafforded luxuries. I long for views of the university, the Campsie Fells, the high flats, the rivers snaking through. And the tearooms, pubs, gastropubs, curry houses, Asian street food haunts, delis and restaraunts high end and greasy spoon. It’s only two hours away but has been impossibly out of reach. I long for full immersion, to be sated by all its gritty, impossibly romantic, unabashed grandeur. Fiona
Simply sublime, Cotswolds Way
In 2021 I want to carry on enjoying the benefits of the simple pleasures of travelling that 2020 led us to – like walking and talking. I want to walk the Cotswolds Way from Broadway to Bath, breathing in fresh air, wondering at big skies, scanning rolling hills in the distance while getting fitter without going to gyms or swimming in chlorinated pools or using mobile apps. Its 120 miles should take about a week, staying in village pubs along the way. Travel, like life, should be about connecting reality to your imagination by inspiration, which can come in the purest, most simple of forms. Nick
My dream is to fulfil a Covid-delayed bucket-list trip to see the ultimate sporting underdog story, and take my football-crazy nine-year-old on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We will be travelling to see the Faroe Islands play an international match on home turf. They’re due to play Scotland on 12 October in a World Cup qualifier. Fly into the capital, Torshavn, and you can walk to the stadium. Hire a car for the full Faroes experience: it’s the bird-watching capital of Europe. Hotel Streym in Torshavn has Atlantic views and doubles from £90. John Connolly
Harvest festival with a difference, Ukraine
It will take the best part of a day and a half but here’s my plan: a few buses, some trains and a flight from my home in the Ribble valley to Ukraine, crossing the Polish border at Przemyśl. I’m expecting Lviv to be “bruised but not broken” as the Ray Davies song goes, with coffee, cake and varenyky (dumpling) culture still largely intact. I plan to go in August for the Saviour of the Apple feast, an Eastern Orthodox celebration of harvest. The reason for going is not necessarily the destination or the festival but the sweet joy of a long journey to a foreign land and interaction with strangers at long last. Martin Charlesworth
Totally ore-some, Mauritania
For 2021, I want to travel somewhere that is remote with low population density and gives me an adrenaline rush. After a bit of research, I’ve chosen to go on the iron ore train in Mauritania. The 700km journey on a cargo train from the north of the country to the west coast takes around 34 hours. This train is among the world’s longest and heaviest and riding it is totally free. From time to time, I look at the photos and videos of the journey on the internet and instantly get goosebumps. See for yourself. It’s total madness. Venkata K C Tata
Silk Road: Samarkand to Baku
As we enter 2021 with unbridled hope and optimism for a better year filled with limitless freedom and a vaccinated global population, never have I wanted more to return to completing my journey of the Silk Road, started in 2019. Beginning in Xi’an and Kashgar, China, I headed west to Almaty, Kazakhstan, before crossing over into Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. My trip allowed just enough time to reach dazzling Samarkand in Uzbekistan. My trip ended at the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, a breathtaking marvel from which I hope to restart my adventure in 2021. My aim is to reach Tehran, from where I will return to Baku, one of my favourite cities, for a deserved cup of coffee. Scott Strachan
Mountain overload, Georgia
I want to be overwhelmed by Georgia’s Kazbegi region again. I want to get so exhausted by marvellous hikes – where I will not meet a soul – that the next day will be spent on a balcony with a book that gets little attention because the mountains take my breath away. I will only leave that balcony to eat terrific vegetarian Georgian food, with the same view. That balcony I left and want to return to is at Rooms Hotel, where doubles go for $100 – steep by Georgian standards but worth it and not as steep as those mountain slopes. Franka Hummels