Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.
Travelers pick Singapore's Changi Airport as the world's best
Flying into Singapore's Changi Airport? You're in luck.
Changi has been named the world's best airport for 2023 by Skytrax, an airline and airport ranking site. It's an honor the airport has received multiple times before, thanks to features like a butterfly garden, a 130-foot indoor waterfall, an IMAX theater, and more than 280 stores and restaurants.
The airport offers "something for everyone," Skytrax's Peter Miller told CNN Travel. To come up with its rankings, Skytrax asks travelers from around the world to rate their airport experiences, and Miller said the feedback shows Changi "performs well because it offers such a wide range of facilities and amenities for all types of customers — families, business, and leisure travelers are all well catered for."
Two North American airports made the 2023 list: Seattle-Tacoma International and Vancouver International. Skytrax also gives out individual awards, and LaGuardia Airport in New York's Terminal B was the top pick for World's Best New Airport Terminal. It has its own water feature, art installations throughout, and private suites travelers can book to get away from the crowds.
Jordan's 'beautiful' Wadi Rum Trail connects travelers with Bedouin guides
A new 75-mile trail is giving visitors a fresh way to explore Wadi Rum.
This stunning area of southern Jordan near the border with Saudi Arabia is known for its "dramatic desert landscapes, rust-red sands, and enigmatic canyons carved with petroglyphs," Lonely Planet's Lauren Keith writes. Often, tourists see Wadi Rum as they drive through it on their way to other landmarks, and the Wadi Rum Trail aims to change this. It was scouted by 10 local Bedouin tribesmen, and gives visitors the chance to not only hike through the area, but also do some scrambling and rock climbing.
This is not for solo travel — the trail was designed so a Bedouin guide can lead visitors on the journey, which takes 10 days to complete. Sabbah Eid of the Anaza tribe oversaw the trail scouting work, and told Lonely Planet the route is "beautiful" and "encourages and supports the local people in Wadi Rum. It connects the past and present and keeps the heritage, climbing, and the paths of ancient Bedouin, educating the modern generation to ecotourism."
Download this: Autio
Equal parts tour guide and podcast, Autio turns any car ride into a history lesson. This immersive storytelling app has a library of more than 10,000 audio vignettes about people, places, and things across the United States. Each story is between two and four minutes long, and the app uses GPS to determine a user's geographic location in order to pull stories based on where they are at.
"Stories are updated and added every week, so no two journeys are ever the same," Autio CEO and co-founder Woody Sears told The Week. "Our expanding library of stories is fueled by suggestions from the Autio community, because we believe that history is written every day."
The stories run the gamut from profiles on landmarks and VIPs to tales of yore, and firing up Autio can keep road trips and even quick drives across town from getting stale. Narrators include Autio co-founder Kevin Costner, John Lithgow, and Phil Jackson, and Sears said the aim is to make sure stories reflect the diversity of America while being politically unbiased and honest about the country's past. "We do not censor difficult truths," he said. "Being able to respect the authentic story of another gives you the space and freedom to tell your own."
Autio is free to download, with a 1-year unlimited subscription for $36.
Plan accordingly: Upcoming events to add to your calendar
The 2023 UFO Festival is landing in Roswell, New Mexico, June 30 through July 2, with events including an Alien Chase along the Spring River Trail; lectures from UFOologists at the International UFO Museum; laser shows featuring music from Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd at the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium; a parade and costume contests; and a Roswell Invaders baseball game. Whether you're a true believer or not, the UFO Festival is sure to be far out.
Sample some of the best sakes in the world at the Joy of Sake, on April 22 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the Joy of Sake is the largest annual sake celebration in the United States, with 576 different brands to try, all in peak condition. Attendees will want to come thirsty — and hungry: tickets are $120, and include unlimited sake samples and appetizers made by local chefs. This is a 21-and-over event.