Tourists Pay To Hunker Down In East German Bunker

bunker sign
Martin Abegglen, Flickr

Sleeping in rickety old beds, eating bland food that you’re forced to cook yourself and being bossed around by hotel staff hardly sounds like a fun travel experience, but tourists in Germany are paying $150 a night for exactly that.

It’s all a part of a unique experience that gives travelers the chance to experience life as it was for soldiers in East Germany. Visitors are taken to a forest 200 miles outside of Berlin where they spend the night in the Bunker Museum, which as the name implies, is a former military bunker. The bunker was built more than 40 years ago for use by the German secret police, and was designed to become a military command center if the local area was ever attacked.Today, tourists can experience life in the bunker, which includes donning the soldier’s uniforms before peeling potatoes and cooking sausages for dinner. But don’t expect a good night’s sleep here-the bunk beds are small and uncomfortable with thin mattresses and, naturally, you’re expected to make the bed yourself.

Those who run the hotel say the experience has proven extremely popular among travelers, and quite a few of those who visit are actually former East German residents themselves.

Helsinki Airport Opens Free Lounge With Real Beds

helsinki airport relaxation lounge
Photo: Juho Suoperä

If you’ve ever tried to sleep on one of those hard airport terminal chairs as announcements blare over the PA system and passengers jostle into you with their luggage, you know how hard it is to get any decent rest while waiting for your flight.

Skift reports Helsinki Airport is giving travelers a reprieve by opening a relaxation lounge where travelers can sleep, rest or work in peace. The lounge has pod style chairs and even real beds, so passengers can choose the relaxation option that best suits them. The walls and ceilings are designed with acoustic technology to ensure a quiet environment, and the décor is meant to reflect the calming Finnish landscape, with ice and northern light motifs incorporated into the design.The relaxation area is open to passengers 24 hours a day, and here’s the best part -– it’s absolutely free. While we’ve seen a number of airport terminals incorporate mini hotel suites and pod sleeping areas in recent times, most charge by the hour for the privilege. Thankfully, in Helsinki that’s not the case. There’s no need to be a member of an airline loyalty program or fork over any exorbitant fees to get some shut-eye here.

Tourists Driven Cuckoo By Chiming Clock

Bishop's Castle UK
Shirokazan, Flickr

A tourist destination in the U.K. has brought new meaning to the term “wake up call” with fears the constant chiming of the local clock tower is driving visitors away.

While thousands of tourists descend upon the small English town of Bishop’s Castle each year, many apparently vow never to return after spending sleepless nights listening to the chime of the city’s clock.

The bells in the clock tower chime not just on the hour, but every 15 minutes — regardless of whether it’s day or night.Debate has erupted recently over whether to quiet the clock for the sake of tourists. For the uninitiated, the constant jingling from the clock is maddening, according to the owner of a local hotel. He says many of his guests love the town but refuse to return because of the incessant chiming. Although the clock has been chiming every 15 minutes since the 18th century, he’s pushing for it to be silenced at night.

However to locals, the musical clock is part of the town’s character and many say they’re lulled to sleep by the reassuring chimes. “I always sleep better when I can hear it. It is definitely part of the town and it would be a real shame to see it go,” argued one resident.

Would a chiming clock drive you bonkers when traveling, or is preserving the character of the destination more important?

Will This App Make Sleeping on Airplanes Easier?

Have trouble sleeping on an airplane? There may be an app for that. AIRSLEEP is an iOS app that combines nature sounds, ambient music and “slow wave” audio to hypnotize you into sleep. The combination is supposed to cancel out cabin noise and match your brain’s low-level “delta waves” as you fall asleep. The app itself is free and comes with some basic sounds including rain, beach waves and desert wind, but you pay to expand your “sleep library” with additional sounds such as “monk chant,” holiday sleep sounds (think snow falling and the crackling of a fireplace) and a “control freak” customizable program.

Does it work? There are only a few reviews on iTunes so far, and they are a mixed bag.

The “slow waves” seem to create a good bit of reverse feedback in addition to the ambient sounds to cover up background noise, and the sounds are definitely soothing. When you open the program, you agree to a standard disclaimer that you will not use while operating heavy machinery and such, but also not under the influence of alcohol, which many of us use to help sleep. If you are someone who has used a sleep sound machine with success at home, this might be the app for you. If the wind chimes make you feel like you’re locked in a candle shop, you might be better off with noise-canceling headphones.

Try it yourself at www.air-sleep.com. Sweet dreams!

5 strategies for beating jet lag

jet lagWhen traveling, jet lag can really put a damper on plans. Instead of struggling to make it through the day and spending sleepless nights tossing and turning in your hotel room, try these five strategies that help to beat jet lag.

Practice before you leave

Before you leave for your trip, begin resetting your biological clock for the time zone you will soon be entering. About three days before your are set to fly, shift your bedtime by and hour or two in the appropriate direction. If you do this, it will be a lot easier to adjust once you land.Don’t sleep until bedtime

This is the most important rule when it comes to battling jet lag. Until it is nighttime in the city you are in, do not lay down. Go for walks, take in some sights, try out a new restaurant…anything but sleep. On the other hand, do not let your body stay up all night if it is not tired. You need to work to get yourself adjusted to the time difference.

Take care on yourself during the flight

There are many things travelers should be doing while on an airplane to keep themselves healthy. Drink lots of water and limit alcohol so that you stay hydrated and make sure you get up to stretch your legs frequently to avoid blood clots. While international flights often offer free beer and wine, skip it and opt for good old H2O. Your body will thank you when you are not dozing off during your afternoon bus tour.

Know your body

There are a few things to consider when booking your flight. Most importantly, how well do you sleep on planes? If you are not likely to get shut-eye during your flight, book your itinerary so that you land during the evening of your destination and can go right to sleep. However, if you know you’ll be able to sleep soundly in the air, it is wise to land at your destination during the day so you will be energized and ready to explore.

Think positive

Remember, you are in a new city and there is a lot to do. Think positive and stay excited about learning about a new culture, trying new foods, and taking great photographs. Sign up for tours that you find exciting and book excursions that will keep you active while quenching your curiosity.