Travel & Outdoor

AFAR June - July 2015

AFAR is a different kind of travel magazine that guides and inspires those who travel the world seeking to connect with its people, experience their cultures, and understand their perspectives. Get AFAR digital magazine subscription today for intriguing travel stories told with beautiful photos and a fresh design.

United States
Afar Media, LLC
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6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
get into the wild: kakadu national park

OUTFITTERS Many travel companies offer tailor-made trips and itinerary extensions into Kakadu National Park from Darwin. Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.com), Asia Transpacific Journeys (asiatranspacific.com), Cox & Kings (coxandkings usa.com), and GeoEx (geoex.com) book travelers into the finest lodges and pair them with the region’s best guides. LODGES Bamurru Plains A short distance from Kakadu, a three-hour drive east of Darwin, 10 airy bungalows on stilts have en suite showers and views of the wildlife-filled Mary River floodplains. From $420 per adult. bamurruplains.com Cicada Lodge In Nitmiluk National Park, just south of Kakadu, Cicada Lodge’s 18 balconied suites are filled with Aboriginal art and face the otherworldly sandstone formations of the Katherine Gorge. From $530. cicadalodge.com.au Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel This crocodile-shaped retreat has all the creature comforts you’ll need after a few days in the wild, including air-conditioning,…

1 min.
the 2015 travel vanguard

*and we don’t mean from your hotel. Upgrades Get an Upgrade THE DISPATCHER OF THE SKIES Jet Smarter founder SERGEY PETROSSOV says a scrum of startups are vying to get you—yes, you—onto a private jet. HOW DOES IT WORK? “Jet charters have been around for a while, but the technology to book an aircraft from the palm of your hand, in real time, is new. Jet Smarter has a network of 3,000 private aircraft around the world, 2,500 of which might be flying empty—say, when returning from a chartered trip. Members pay an $8,000 annual fee for access to as many of these empty-leg trips as they can book.” IS FLYING PRIVATE REALLY BECOMING MORE AFFORDABLE? “Yes, if you imagine the annual fee as a monthly payment (about $700). Normally, chartering a top-tier jet from New York…

1 min.
the dream weaver

HOW ARE YOU SHAKING UP TRAVEL? “We plan trips starting with the why you are choosing to travel rather than the destination. Where you go might be a surprise; some people don’t want to find out until the day before takeoff.” AND HOW DO YOU DO THAT? “We start with an in-depth interview that reveals your passions and motivations. People tend to travel because they want something that isn’t present where they are. We discover what that is, then find a destination that can fulfill it. We tap our global network of locals, experts, and dignitaries to concoct behind-the-scenes experiences and meetings with interesting characters. [See the Iceland itinerary on page 54.] Then, we reveal the trip in an unusual way: maybe a hardcover book delivered by courier or a soliloquy…

2 min.
listen up, travel deeper

“WHENEVER I WOULD TRAVEL, I went on walking tours for the same reason that I eat my vegetables,” says Andrew Mason, the cofounder of local deals website Groupon. He’s only half-joking. I’m sitting with Mason in a café in San Francisco’s startup-packed SoMa district. “You’re in this place and you might not be there again, and you feel this moral responsibility to attempt to understand the destination, the history, and the culture. But more often than not, if you see something that makes you want to stop and explore, you can’t, because you’re on someone else’s schedule.” In 2007, Mason traveled to Rome with his now-wife and downloaded an audio walking tour of the Colosseum onto an iPod. They each put in an earbud and wandered around the ruins. The actual…

1 min.
the futurist

HOW ARE HOTELS EMBRACING MOBILE? “Not long ago, the idea of hospitality and technology coming together seemed foreign. But they complement each other: You can use our new app to book your trip, view previous stays, check in, and choose your room. For example, a family might choose a room that opens to the pool. You can even use it to make sure a burger and fries will be there to greet you.” WHAT SHOULD TRAVELERS WATCH FOR? “This year, Hilton is turning your phone into your room key. Soon, the app could allow you to pin your favorite room or curate local information. Another idea I’d love to see: Once guests have arrived in their room, we could check in with them via the app. We want our app to…

1 min.
the party maker

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST PROJECT. “Proper Hotels are a nod to the grand hotels of the 19th century. We aren’t talking grand lobbies and bellboy hats but that those hotels were the cultural centers of their communities. Our San Francisco hotel will be fully wired, a hub for local personalities, and well designed— think vintage furniture you can actually sit on.” HOW DOES THE COMMUNITY FIT IN? “Each hotel will be a showcase for what’s happening in its neighborhood. We’re partnering with people, brands, and institutions in each of the cities, including San Francisco and Austin so far, who can use public areas to create and share art, music, and technology.” HOW WILL THAT MAKE HOTELS FEEL DIFFERENT? “In the early 2000s, the boutique hotel world was focused on design. Creating…