Iceland Has Seen a Massive Decline in Tourism Due to the Demise of WOW Air

From alternative college spring break trips to a feature on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Iceland had become a prime vacation spot for just about every type of traveler over the last several years—partly because of how cheap it was to fly there.

It looks like that era has come to an end, and Condé Nast Traveler reports that it’s largely due to the March collapse of WOW air, one of Iceland’s two airlines. Known for its bright purple planes and “Wow”-worthy prices, the airline offered roundtrip, nonstop flights from major U.S. and European cities sometimes for as little as $100. The deals drew millions of frugal adventurers to seek out Iceland’s attractions, causing a peak of 38 percent year-over-year tourist growth in 2016, as Visit Iceland told USA Today. Aviation journalist Seth Kaplan explained to Condé Nast Traveler that the small island nation simply couldn’t handle servicing millions of people across two airlines in its capital city Reykjavik, and WOW air’s business model wasn’t sustainable.

This year’s statistics illustrate just how quickly the tourism numbers are plummeting. According to data from Diio by Cirium, the number of scheduled airplane seats for the rest of 2019 is down a devastating 27.5 percent from last year. Though WOW air’s demise heavily contributed to the drop, things aren’t running smoothly for Iceland’s other airline, Icelandair, either: It owns nine Boeing 737 MAXs, which haven’t been flown since the model’s official worldwide grounding in March. As a result, Icelandair has had to fire 45 pilots.

And, contrary to what the media surrounding the bargain flight prices might’ve made you think, Iceland is not a cheap country. Hotels, food, and alcohol are all significantly more expensive than throughout Europe, and many tourists aren’t prepared for it. Condé Nast Traveler travel specialist Chris Gordon said it caused chaos across the usually very safe country. “People were breaking into churches to sleep in them,” he said. “People were rampantly using lawns as toilets, and pristine landscapes—Iceland’s greatest attraction—became famously strewn with toilet paper.”

Without WOW air ferrying hoards of ill-equipped vacationers into the country, prices will probably level out. “I would expect you will have more of an equilibrium, where the cheapest flights will be gone but with fewer people in the country, the cost of other things should be dropping,” Kaplan says.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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How Anoka, Minnesota Became the Halloween Capital of the World

A photo of Main Street in downtown Anoka, Minnesota.
A photo of Main Street in downtown Anoka, Minnesota.
123dieinafire, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

On November 1, 1919, the residents of Anoka, Minnesota, a suburb about 20 miles north of Minneapolis, woke up to what Smithsonian calls a “prank of epic proportions.” Outhouses were overturned, wagons were parked on roofs, and cows roamed through the streets.

The prank was part of an epidemic of Halloween-related hijinks that seemed to grow more extreme with each passing year. Civic leaders decided that the time had come for the city to do something to dissuade such mischief—or at least to keep would-be pranksters so busy that they couldn’t dream of causing trouble.

So in 1920 a Halloween committee, fronted by local businessman George Green, planned one of the first—and largest—community-wide Halloween celebrations in the United States. The 1920 celebration, featuring a parade, a bonfire, and free candy for children, and was so successful that the police received no reports of pranks.

The celebration only grew in subsequent years, and Anoka leaders wanted people to know it. In 1937, 12-year-old Anoka local Harold Blair was one of 200 Minneapolis Journal newspaper carriers to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Members of the Anoka Commercial Club seized on the opportunity, sending Blair off with a request to Congress that Anoka be formally designated as the “Halloween Capital of the World.” A fire in Anoka destroyed many of the city’s earliest documents about the Halloween celebration, so it’s hard to know whether Congress approved the moniker back in the 1930s. But in 2003, Minnesota state representative Mark Kennedy restated the proclamation, officially cementing Anoka’s title.

“It’s like a pebble being dropped into a pond,” Karen George, a member of the board of directors of Halloween, Inc. (the nonprofit organization that plans Anoka’s yearly festivities), told Smithsonian in 2019. “It’s really the people of Anoka who want to enjoy this hometown festival, and then they bring along relatives and friends who tell others about it.”

Today, Anoka’s Halloween festivities have expanded to three parades instead of one, and includes other community activities such as a house decorating competition, bell ringing, and a group pumpkin smashing. In 2020, Anoka’s Halloween festival is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. By most accounts, the holiday has become a part of Anoka’s identity.

“I would say Halloween is in my bone marrow,” Anoka resident John Jost told CBS Minnesota. “Being an Anokoan, the Halloween experience is tied directly to that.”

This story has been updated for 2020.