Up Your Sunbathing Game This Summer With a Round Beach Towel

Here's the simple truth: Round beach towels are amazing.

If you haven't heard of round beach towels (a.k.a. roundies), they are large, circular beach towels usually featuring cute designs, including round foods like watermelons and doughnuts. According to The Cut, this Instagram-worthy trend originated in 2013 when Australian brand The Beach People invented roundies and saw them immediately sell out. The craze spread to the U.S. a few years later, when roundies went viral on the internet.

ROUND TOWEL #today #beachday #whitesandbeach #roundbeachtowel

A post shared by MYRIAM KATJA (@myriamkatja) on

So, why are roundies superior to your average rectangular towel? From a practical point of view, the large size and circular shape mean you have lots of room to move around and flip over. With a rectangular towel, you're always struggling to stay on a narrow strip of terrycloth to avoid the sand surrounding you on every side, threatening to stick to your wet skin. If you want to turn over, you pretty much have to do it in place. Who decided that a tiny rectangle was the best size and shape for a towel anyway? Why have we put up with this nonsense for so long? Round towels are logically the better choice.

You may be asking yourself: Why not just have a large square towel? Why does it have to be a circle? And the answer is: Stop being a Debbie Downer. They're round because it's fun and whimsical and it means you can have a pizza-shaped towel. (In all seriousness, though, big square beach towels do exist, and they're great. They just haven't blown up on Instagram the way roundies have.)

Having a round towel makes it easy to spot your group at the beach: Your roundie will stand out among all those regular ones. It's also big enough to share. What's more, it can easily double as a picnic blanket, a tablecloth, or even a shawl for walking on the beach (just fold it in half first).

In conclusion, save yourself from the clutches of your tiny, rectangular towel and buy a roundie. Here are a few of our favorites:

WATERMELON; $68

watermelon round towel
ban.do

Find It: ban.do

DOUGHNUT; $20.99

doughnut round towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

MANDALA; $19.99

round mandala towel
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

PIZZA; $21.99

A round beach towel in the shape of a pizza
Amazon

Find It: Amazon

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What Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?
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iStock

For millions of people, summer means an opportunity to hop on a plane and experience new and exciting sights, cultures, and food. It also means getting packed into a giant commercial aircraft and then wondering if you can make it to your next layover without submitting to the anxiety of using the onboard bathroom.

Roughly the size of an apartment pantry, these narrow facilities barely accommodate your outstretched knees; turbulence can make expelling waste a harrowing nightmare. Once you’ve successfully managed to complete the task and flush, what happens next?

Unlike our home toilets, planes can’t rely on water tanks to create passive suction to draw waste from the bowl. In addition to the expense of hauling hundreds of gallons of water, it’s impractical to leave standing water in an environment that shakes its contents like a snow globe. Originally, planes used an electronic pump system that moved waste along with a deodorizing liquid called Anotec. That method worked, but carrying the Anotec was undesirable for the same reasons as storing water: It raised fuel costs and added weight to the aircraft that could have been allocated for passengers. (Not surprisingly, airlines prefer to transport paying customers over blobs of poop.)

Beginning in the 1980s, planes used a pneumatic vacuum to suck liquids and solids down and away from the fixture. Once you hit the flush button, a valve at the bottom of the toilet opens, allowing the vacuum to siphon the contents out. (A nonstick coating similar to Teflon reduces the odds of any residue.) It travels to a storage tank near the back of the plane at high speeds, ready for ground crews to drain it once the airplane lands. The tank is then flushed out using a disinfectant.

If you’re also curious about timing your bathroom visit to avoid people waiting in line while you void, flight attendants say the best time to go is right after the captain turns off the seat belt sign and before drink service begins.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Don’t Fall For This Trick Used by Hotel Booking Sites
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iStock

Hotel booking sites can be useful tools when comparing prices, locations, and amenities, but some services use deceptive tactics to get you to click “book.”

A new report spotted by Travel + Leisure determined that those “one room left” alerts you sometimes see while perusing hotels can’t always be trusted. Led by the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the eight-month investigation concluded that many sites use “pressure selling” to create a false sense of urgency in hopes that customers will book a room more quickly than usual. Similar notices about how many people are looking at a particular room or how long a deal will last are some of the other tactics travel booking websites employed.

The CMA also found that some discount claims had either expired or weren’t relevant to the customer’s search criteria, and hidden fees—like the much-maligned "resort fees"—are sometimes tacked on at the end of the booking process. (To be fair, many hotels are also guilty of this practice.)

The report didn’t drop any company names, but the consumer agency said it warned the sites that legal action would be taken if their concerns weren't addressed. The companies could be breaking consumer protection law, the CMA notes.

“Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said in a statement. “Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected … It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”

Still, booking sites remain a convenient option, so if you decide to use one, just take your time and be cognizant that some of the claims you're seeing may not be entirely truthful.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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