Forget the Cruise—You Should See the Northern Lights by Plane

iStock/OceanFishing
iStock/OceanFishing

While taking an Arctic cruise is a classic way to catch a scenic glimpse of the aurora borealis, there are more picturesque northern lights sightings to be had. To get really up-close and personal with the astronomical phenomenon, you should hop a plane, according to Lonely Planet.

The Aurora 360 trip is specifically designed to give travelers in the Yukon the best glimpse possible of the aurora, as well as a few extras to make their Canadian vacation even better. In addition to the aurora-focused plane ride, the five-day trip scheduled for February 2019 includes a tour of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, a trip to the Takhini Hot Springs, and cultural events, plus accommodations and various dinners.

The private chartered flight will take off either on February 8 or February 9, depending on the forecast for the day. You’ll get to experience the joys of seeing the lights from 36,000 feet in the air, while sipping on gin and getting a lesson on celestial photography from on-board photographer Neil Zeller. The Aurora 360 flight is the only flight in the world to take off within the aurora oval, the area where the lights are most visible, according to Lonely Planet, so you’re guaranteed to get a unique experience.

The trip is scheduled for February 7 to February 11, 2019. There are only 80 seats available on the flight, so you’d better get planning. The full package costs roughly $2250, while a seat on the flight costs roughly $800.

Get a taste of what the experience is like in the promo video below.

Air North's Aurora 360 Flight to the Lights, Nov 25, 2017 from Neil Zeller on Vimeo.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

Disney's Most Magical Destinations Have Been Reimagined as Vintage Travel Posters

UpgradedPoints.com
UpgradedPoints.com

Many of the iconic settings of animated Disney movies were modeled after real places around the world. Ussé Castle in France’s Loire Valley, for example, is widely rumored to have been the inspiration behind the original Sleeping Beauty story. (Although the castle in the movie more closely resembles Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle.) Likewise, the fictional island in Moana was made to look like Samoa, and the Sultan’s palace in Aladdin shares some similarities with India's Taj Mahal.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Agrabah or Neverland, then you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in these Disney-inspired travel posters from the designers at UpgradedPoints.com, an online resource that helps individuals maximize their credit card travel rewards. Only one of the posters features a real destination ("Beautiful France"), but these illustrations let you get one step closer to scaling Pride Rock or plumbing the depths of Atlantica.

All of the images are rendered in a vintage style with enticing slogans attached—much like the exotic travel posters that were prevalent in the 1930s.

“A few of our designers wanted to capture that longing to experience the true locations of these fantastic films, and the inner child in all of us couldn’t resist seeing how they interpreted the locations of their favorite films,” UpgradedPoints.com writes. “The results are breathtaking and make us wish we could fall into our favorite Disney movies.”

Keep scrolling to see the posters, and for more travel inspiration, read up on eight real-life locations that inspired Disney places (plus one that didn't).

A Disney-inspired poster of France
UpgradedPoints.com

An Atlantica travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Lion King travel poster
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A Neverland travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

Australian Accounting Firm Offers Employees 12 Weeks of ‘Life Leave’ to Strike the Perfect Work-Life Balance

iStock.com/karenfoleyphotography
iStock.com/karenfoleyphotography

What would you do if you could take a three-month vacation each year? Would you book a flight to Hawaii, catch up on your favorite Netflix shows, or simply spend some quality time with your partner, kids, or dogs? The employees at one Australian accounting firm undoubtedly have a few ideas about how to spend the six to 12 weeks of “life leave” they will soon be granted.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Ernst & Young Oceania decided to introduce more flexible work hours in an attempt to attract and retain top talent. “We’re innovating so we don’t lose these people while they pursue passions outside of work,” company official Kate Hillman told The Independent. Hillman went on to cite volunteer experiences, training programs, and even a trekking trip to Nepal as different ways that employees might take advantage of the new policy, which goes into effect April 1.

Employees can either use their leave all at once or split it into two smaller vacations. The only catch is that the leave is self-funded—so it’s essentially an unpaid vacation. Still, if someone has the burning desire to backpack through Europe for a couple of months, or work on a project, it’s a safer option than quitting their job only to return unemployed and broke.

In addition to this policy, employees can choose to reduce their hours to a part-time schedule for up to three months each year. Parents may also choose to take advantage of a term-time arrangement, which lets them work regular hours when school is in session, then take time off during school holidays.

According to the firm’s research, flexibility at work boosts employee engagement by 11 percent. There are plenty of other reasons to take a vacation, too—not the least of which is evidence that time off may help you lead a longer, healthier, and happier life. Plus, you’ll come back refreshed and motivated, so your boss will be happy, too.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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