Relief: Four airport perks coming soon

There’s nothing fun about going to the airport, and the regulatory climate isn’t likely to change that anytime soon. Security will still be a nightmare, and you won’t be able to bring your own water with you (at least not for a while). Fortunately, there are companies out there looking for ways to make your airport experience better.

So, what can you expect to see in your local airport in the near future? Here are four amenities to whet your appetite for something to counteract the airport security gauntlet:

1. Catch some comfy shut-eye: sleeping on a plane sucks. There’s just no way to get comfortable. And, if you slip your leg alongside the seat in front of you, you do run the risk that it will get slammed by the beverage cart. Well, you’ll be able to use your layovers to rest, soon. Napping nooks, already available at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, are expected to come to San Francisco in the near future. Seven airports are in the early stages.2. Light up a cigar: okay, this one is particularly meaningful to me. A few airports still have smoking areas (I just lit up in Denver last month), but they tend to be unfortunate spaces, not designed to appeal. This is where a company like Graycliff can make a difference. The Bahamas-based cigar and hospitality company has an idea for well-ventilated lounges, featuring cigar rollers (and nothing beats a stick fresh off the bench, at least, not for me). With Graycliff involved, you can expect a stylish, upscale experience. The first is already open at the airports in Nashville and Nassau.

3. Better shopping and eating: the challenge of finding a bite or buying a tie during weird hours could become a thing of the past. From the chance to dine at a Food Network Kitchen to broader shopping options, airports are scoping out ways to enhance the experience of being trapped within their walls. If all the doomsday predictions by the airline industry about the implications of the three-hour delay rule are true, you might need to buy several changes of clothes and meals … because they believe this rule means you will never get home again.

4. Get picked up more easily: no, this has nothing to do with wearing something hot or having that extra cocktail. Rather, airports are opening their minds to parking where your ride can wait for you. You call; they drive around to get you. But, it’s not always that easy. Nature calls, and there’s always a shortage of space. So, look for larger parking lots with bathrooms flight information boards and maybe even dining options? Newark’s already headed down this road, with plans in the works for JFK airport, Cincinnati, Fort Myers and St. George (in Utah).

For more on this topic, head on over to USA Today where airport expert Harriet Baskas explores more upcoming airport amenities.

[photo by msspider66 via Flickr]

Top 5 things to do in Bermuda

Few people think to travel to Bermuda but those who do find a charm unknown on many more popular islands. While Bermuda is technically a British overseas territory, the residents of Bermuda consider themselves very much an independent nation. Bermudians are known for their practicality, integrity and simple luxuries – they are fiercely proud of their heritage and it shows in all aspects of their island.

It’s hard to find an unattractive place in Bermuda. Thanks to the turquoise waters and multi-million dollar homes, Bermuda is utterly elegant. But like most anywhere, there’s a hidden side to Bermuda that will take a tourist past the pink sands and inside the history that makes Bermuda such a great destination spot.

1. Dark and Stormy’s: There’s no drink a Bermudian loves more than a good Dark and Stormy, which is why it’s known as the national drink of the island. The Dark and Stormy gained popularity in the sailing community along the east coast, thanks to black rum brought home by various sailors who frequented Bermuda. Made with Gosling’s® Black Seal rum and ginger beer, the drink is poured over ice and garnished with a lime. Some variations of the dark and stormy include adding gingerale, muddling the lime and decorating the rim of the glass with sugar but in Bermuda, simple is best and the old standby is the best: Pour the rum, add the ginger beer, and enjoy!

2. Golf at Tucker’s Point: The Tucker’s Point golf course is one of the most talked about courses among golf’s elite. In its 2005 World’s Best Golf Resorts issue, Travel + Leisure Golf’s readers placed the club in the top three in categories of Best Golf Resort and Best Restaurants in the Caribbean, but there’s a special place on this course for beginners, too. Grab a lesson with one of the golf pros and tee off amid some of the most breathtaking views of the island, thanks to Tucker Point’s perfect position along
Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. I took a turn on the links and while I’m not ready for any upcoming PGA tour, I enjoyed the exercise and scenery from my few hours on the course. The undulations and landscape make this course worth a visit for any traveler. After 18-holes (or nine, or just a few driving rounds), head into the Golf Clubhouse for food and drink in the private club, decorated with an authentic Bermuda in mind. Don’t worry if you forget anything, the Golf Pro Shop has everything you could want from golf shorts and shirts to hats and shoes.3. Boat ride to the stars: The beauty of Bermuda lies in its intimacy, which is why many celebrities look for a home on the island. Hope a boat ride to the outskirts of the island and take a glimpse of the famous homes of the stars including Ross Perot, David Bowie and his wife Iman, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. While you’re out and about, tuck into a few of the hidden coves and awe at the homes and boats of Bermuda’s wealthiest residents. Why? Because you can.

4. St. George’s town: St George’s was Bermuda’s original settlement and one-time capital located at the east end of the country. It’s a great way to kill a few hours and spot some historic architecture. A walking tour is a good way to explore the museums and shops and if you’re lucky, you’ll run into the Town Crier along the way, who will reenact some of Bermuda’s famous moments in history. The hub of town life is King’s Square where you’ll find Town Hall and the State House, dating back to the early 1600s. Nearby are art galleries and museums, but the best part of the area are the narrow sidewalks and hidden streets that frame the picturesque homes.

5. Bermuda glassblowing: While you’re here, don’t miss a visit to the Bermuda Glassblowing Studio. Watch the artists in action and marvel at how color and shapes are made with hot glass. Bring your wallet because it’s likely you’ll want to walk out with a treasure from this idyllic island.