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The Pope's Summer Palace Opens for Tours, Science Takes on Jet Lag, and More: Today's Travel Briefing | Frommer's Aleteia Image Department/Flickr

The Pope's Summer Palace Opens for Tours, Science Takes on Jet Lag, and More: Today's Travel Briefing

A roundup of travel news from all over

Good morning, everybody! Here's the latest from the world's airplanes, resorts, and palaces.


A cure for jet lag is of course the holy grail of travel-related science research. Could the answer be oxygen deprivation? 

That's what a new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism seems to suggest.

Working with mice, researchers found that when the rodents breathed air with about a quarter to a third less oxygen than usual, they adapted to a six-hour time change (about what you'd get from flying from Chicago to London) more quickly than mice breathing regular air.

What this could mean is that oxygen plays an important role in regulating the circadian system that keeps the body's internal clock in good working order. If it's true that we, like the mice in the study, consume more oxygen during our waking hours, maybe we can get over jet lag faster by consuming less oxygen in the period immediately before experiencing a time change so that our circadian systems can reset. Or something.

The study should be of special interest to the aviation industry, which is looking into ways to pump more oxygen into airplane cabins in order to help passengers who get altitude sickness.

In the long run, however, that extra oxygen could doom all of us to worse cases of jet lag once the plane lands.


Overwater bungalows—which are almost de rigueur at luxurious South Pacific resorts—have finally made their way to the Caribbean. 

El Dorado Maroma resort on Mexico's Riviera Maya has unveiled 30 new "palafitos" dubbed the "first and only over-ocean bungalows in Latin America." 

Each 600-square-foot thatched-roof hut features an open-concept interior with glass floor panels for peering into the turquoise ocean. Steel and concrete have been used in the construction to make sure each unit can withstand hurricanes.

Outside, guests can jump straight into the water from private swimming platforms or take a dip in freshwater pools on private decks.

The resort's claim to overwater exclusivity in the Caribbean won't last long—the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica will unveil five overwater villas of its own next month.


For the first time ever, the centuries-old residence intended as a summer retreat for popes has been opened for public viewing.

The Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, located along Lake Albano about 25 kilometers (16 mi) outside of Rome, has 20 rooms you can tour, including a library, study, chapel, and bedroom, all set aside for the use of the Catholic leader while he's on vacation.

The current Pope Francis isn't big on taking vacations or on sitting in the lap of luxury, however. In fact, he's only visited the palace a handful of times and has never spent the night.

That doesn't mean the building is without historical significance. During World War II, Pope Pius XII hid Jewish women here while they were fleeing the Nazis. Two popes died in the bedchamber. And John Paul II had a swimming pool put in.

Tickets to see the palace are 10 euros (US$10.89) per adult; you can book a tour through the Vatican Museums website.

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