Every year before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, Google takes stock of the most frequently asked questions of the year. Here are the things travelers wonder about most often, according to the search site—along with T+L’s answers.
What to pack for Cancun?
Whether you’re headed to Mexico for a relaxing beach getaway or a boozy spring-break style vacation, here’s our list of packing must-haves. A swimsuit is a given, and rumor has it one-pieces are the new two-pieces. This low-backed number from Solid and Striped is a chic alternative to a bikini, and a Kule t-shirt is the perfect lightweight layer for a day in the sun. If your prefer books to beer, toss Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring in your carry-on for an insightful beach read. And of course, don’t forget sunscreen. May we recommend this SPF 40 from Supergoop?
Where is Disneyland?
Anaheim, California. Its more popular, more sprawling sibling, Walt Disney World, is in Orlando, Florida. Head to Disneyland for the Matterhorn, Disney’s California Adventure, and a chance to spot the Kardarshians; head to WDW for Splash Mountain, the epic drink-around-the-world challenge at Epcot Studios, and a stay at the beautiful new Four Seasons Resort Orlando (princess breakfasts included).
What airport is ORD?
Chicago O’Hare. Unlike airports like MIA or SFO, whose abbreviated names clearly correlate to their destination, ORD makes basically no sense whatsoever. But while you’re there, make sure to check out Rick Bayless’ great airport restaurant Tortas Fronteras, with made-to-order guacamole and Intelligentsia coffee.
When is whale watching season in San Diego?
According to the National Parks Service, mid-January is peak time to see the Pacific Gray Whales pass by the western overlooks of San Diego's Cabrillo National Monument, though the massive creatures can be seen in the area from mid December through March. For your best chance at a sighting, look west from the park and keep an eye out for the fluke (tail) or a blow.
What is a boutique hotel?
Your guess is as good as ours. Just kidding. The term has been diluted for years now, but when it first made its way around, boutique hotels referred to places like W Hotels, with an original perspective on style and service that felt modern, fresh, and true to their location. But that was in 1998. Now, everyone wants to be a boutique hotel, so the basic criteria has more to do with what you’re not than what you are. Does the hotel have more than 100 rooms? Is it part of a major brand? Does it look like you could copy and paste the rooms into any destination around the world? Answer yes to any of these and you’re not looking at a boutique hotel.
What to do in St. Louis?
Fortunately for travelers on a budget, St.Louis claims to have more free attractions than anywhere else in the country besides Washington, D.C. Visitors can explore the city’s world-class zoo, peruse the Missouri History Museum, or take a tour of the Anheuser Busch Brewery (complete with samples) without spending a dime. For eats, Shake Shack owner (and burger connoisseur) Danny Meyer recommends O’Connell’s pub for “one of the juiciest, most satisfying cheeseburgers you’ll ever have.”
What to do in Missoula, MT?
This small city in Montana is a gateway to some of the best adventures in the Rockies. And it’s known as a place that Lewis and Clark documented on their westward journey—so outdoorsy types and history buffs end up here often. But lately, the city has been able to offer a vibrant urban experience, too: it has all the requisite cultural attractions (check out the local art museum and the all-American Fort Missoula Museum), great food (hit up Bernice’s Bakery and Depot, for steaks), and tons of micro-breweries (the city ranks #2 in the country for breweries per capita).
Stay at The Resort at Paws Up, one of T+L’s favorite winter resorts anywhere, with 28 luxury cabins and 30 tents that will convince even the most adventure-averse traveler to go “glamping.” It’s 40 minutes outside of town: the perfect place to go horseback riding, backcountry skiing, white water rafting, or just sit by a fireplace with a good book and fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies.
What to do in Louisiana?
Head to New Orleans, of course. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the city is ready to be back in the spotlight. Make sure to take a stroll in the French Quarter, take in some live jazz, and eat as many beignets and po’boys as humanly possible. Your guide to the city’s best spots is right here.
What to do in Albuquerque?
Ranked one of the top 10 friendliest cities in America by Travel + Leisure readers, Albuquerque offers a slew of experiences from the culinary—check out El Pinto for great chile or The Standard Diner for healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods— to the quirky, like Hotel Parq Central, a former psychiatric hospital, which now has the rooftop Apothecary Lounge, or Rebel Donuts, which serves a faux blue-meth-sprinkled donut as an homage to Breaking Bad. Or, plan your visit around the city's annual Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta to see the sky fill with color.
Where is Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone National Park is spread out across three states: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. However, the vast majority of the park is in northwest Wyoming. To get there, fly into any of these airports: Cody and Jackson, WY; Bozeman and Billings, MT, and Idaho Falls, ID. Salt Lake City also offers connecting flights to an airport in Yellowstone itself, but those are only available from June to September. What to see once you’re there: Old Faithful, the wildlife-filled Lamar Valley (which some call the “Serengeti or America”), and the Yellowstone River (which a red-rimmed canyon easily mistaken for the other national park in Arizona). (Find more trip-planning ideas here.)