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It’s a brand new route on the world’s most famous train – but it’ll cost you $8,500 one way

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In travel news this week, a European airline is weighing passengers before takeoff, the new luxury train trip that costs $8,500 one way, and how Ukraine keeps its railways running, two years into the war.

Life on the rails

In June 2024, the world’s most iconic luxury train route — the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express — will be heading to Italy’s Ligurian coast for the first time in its long and prestigious history. Those illustrious carriages will be rolling from Paris to Portofino on a two-day journey. The price tag, for those whose budgets stretch to it, is $8,500 one way.

Elsewhere in Europe, a direct train route between Italy and Slovenia is being revived after more than 100 years, with the launch of a new high-speed seven-hour service from Milan to Ljubljana on the cards “as soon as possible.”

In South Africa, the buzz is around a train that goes precisely nowhere. Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge is a hotel in Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves. A set of train carriages has been renovated into 24 modern suites with balconies and a pool overlooking the Sabie River, offering the chance of breathtaking sightings of wildlife, including Africa’s “Big Five.”

And in Ukraine, the country’s railways are still running after two years of war. With air travel impossible, here’s how trains have become a lifeline for long-distance journeys.

News from the skies

Taylor Swift’s private jets have been in the news this week almost as much as the star herself. Amid a flight-tracking drama in which the singer’s team threatened legal action against a Florida student who keeps tabs on the private jet usage of celebrities, including Swift, the singer was reported to have sold her Dassault Falcon 900LX.

However, it’s her larger Dassault Falcon 7X she’s expected to use when flying from Tokyo to Las Vegas to catch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the Super Bowl this weekend. One problem she could have is finding a parking space (around 1,000 private jets are reported to be flying into town) and the other will be jet lag. Here are some coping tips for that, whether you’re a Grammy-winner or an average traveler.

European airline Finnair has started weighing passengers before they board the plane, along with their carry-on bags and their heavy coats ready for a Nordic winter. The trial is to help the airline refine weight estimates before takeoff, and they adjust it by season.

Warm coats also played a role in helping save six flamingo eggs on board a flight from Atlanta to Seattle over the summer, after a quick-thinking flight attendant and several passengers came to the rescue when the eggs’ incubator stopped working. The baby flamingos are now thriving at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

Finally, a Canadian was arrested in Thailand on February 7 for allegedly opening a plane door and deploying the evacuation slide. The incident caused delays affecting around 2,300 passengers.

Destination inspiration

There are more than 220,000 miles of coastline in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook — so why is it that someone always puts their beach towel right next to yours?

If you want to escape the crowds, Mexico’s long-overlooked Riviera Nayarit, on the Pacific coast, has blossomed into a low-density luxury travel destination. Some of the biggest names in hospitality are showing up and perhaps you should too.

Just off the coast of East Africa, the 50 islands that make up the archipelago of Zanzibar are diverse and culturally vibrant. UNESCO-protected Stone Town is the jumping-off point for most visits.

If you’re taking to the air so you can hit the coast, then you could do with a travel-friendly beach tote that can double as a carry-on bag. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have gathered up 15 of their favorites.

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is upon us this weekend. Check out our Chinese zodiac fortune predictions for the Year of the Dragon and then learn more about China’s spectacular dragon dance.

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