Travel news: Space balloons, floating hotels and supersonic jets

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(CNN) — This week in travel, we take a look at innovative new transportation concepts, the reopening of Thailand’s most famous beach, and flight attendants talking about the airport chaos plaguing Europe and America.

blue sky pansy

Someone warns the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff: If NASA gets it right, the booms might not be shaking the room soon.

The agency is working on Quiet SuperSonic technology to reduce the explosion-like noise traditionally produced when planes break the sound barrier, which means crafting like sound X-59 supersonic jet will be able to fly over the earth, which is prohibited by the regulations due to noise pollution.
Other ambitious projects underway include Spaceship Neptune, the “world’s first carbon-neutral spacecraft”, according to its creators Space Perspective. They plan to start taking passengers on flights to the far reaches of space by 2024, floating mid-air in a pressurized ball suspended from a giant high-tech helium balloon. Take a look here.

This summer of crazy travel

So first, the good news. New Zealand, Samoa and Brunei have all reopened their borders, and the Chinese game center of Macau eased its Covid restrictions. Malaysia and the Caribbean island of Martinique have also lifted all of their Covid-related travel restrictions.
However, as the summer of travel chaos continues in Europe and the United States, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol have announced more curb air traffic and the level of Covid risk is on the rise in a number of destinations, including Romania and Moldova.

Spotlight on Asia

Cannabis cafes are popping up in Bangkok after the plant was decriminalized in Thailand in June. Crowds are pouring in, but not everyone is happy with the new outlets.
Also a popular spot with backpackers, Maya Bay in Thailand was made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film “The Beach.” Visitors were unwittingly doing massive damage to the bay’s coral reef, and it was closed for four years for a massive rehabilitation project. Now it’s open again for beach lovers.

Staying cool in Abu Dhabi

Countries around the world have experienced extreme summer temperatures, but some cities are better at handling the heat than others. Temperatures in Abu Dhabi can soar to over 120 F (over 50 C), and the city still uses an ancient Arabian architectural cooling technique – with a modern touch.
And in the emirate Jubail Mangrove Park, a forest of hardy plants thrives in the intensely salty waters of the world’s warmest sea. It is both a serene wildlife habitat and an offer of hope in a time of climate crisis.
And although Abu Dhabi is known for its scorching temperatures, last year it was the first destination in the Middle East and Asia to be declared an official “Bike City” by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body of sports cycling. There has been huge investment in an exhilarating network of cycle routes – although the best time to ride is before sunrise or after sunset.

Italian dream house

A Maryland couple bought an abandoned Italian house for a dollar and turned it into their European dream home, complete with an elevator. Here is how they did it.

In case you missed it

A passenger was fined $1,874 for two undeclared McMuffins and a ham croissant.

Imagine, as an 1980s teenager on vacation in London, having an outfit so stylish that you are asked to be an extra in your favorite pop star’s music video.

pretend until you make it

If you want a sun-kissed glow all year round (and without the skin damage that comes with sunbathing), then you need a good self-tanner. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a guide to CNN-owned product reviews and recommendations, have put together 15 of the best self-tanning products in the market, according to experts.
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