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San Francisco Dispatch: Check In to Hotel Palomar and Check Out with a Tattoo

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Gimmicky packages and marketing campaigns are far too common in the travel business, which is why we love it when we hear about a hotel tie-in that is fresh, edgy, and captures the artistic spirit of a destination—for real.

The Hotel Palomar, in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, is partnering with Inked Magazine Creative Director Todd Weinberger and Contributing Writer Jennifer Goldstein to create a tattoo getaway package. (This is not a misprint.)

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Q+A: Keith Cox Explains How Vacatia Is the StubHub of Timeshares

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Travel + Leisure has long celebrated hotels as the go-to choice for travel accommodations, and in recent years we've covered the explosion of the vacation rental market, from villas to Airbandb.com. Time shares were not often part of the conversation. Their merits as a good investment were questionable—limitations on use and impossible to resell. Enter Vacatia.com. With a special focus on the family market, this online marketplace for timeshares is changing things for the better. We caught up with Keith Cox, Vacatia.com's CEO:

Q: How is Vacatia.com disrupting travel?
A: 
Vacatia is creating a new online sales and marketing channel for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry, a $10B a year market segment of travel that is still selling almost exclusively offline using the same sales strategies that have been used for decades.  In particular, with the recent launch of Vacatia.com, we are bringing transparency and liquidity to the secondary, resale market serving the 8.2MM American families who own timeshare. 

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Tucson’s Westin La Paloma Resort Partners with Arizona’s Desert Museum

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On a recent trip to Tucson, I was amazed to learn that the Sonoran Desert, which laps at the city’s doorstep, is second only to the Amazon for its diversity of plants and animals. Who knew? I was also excited to discover the iconic Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa—which underwent $35 million in renovations to its guestrooms, public spaces, and pools in 2013—has partnered with Tucson’s excellent Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to inspire and educate guests, and bring the incredible surroundings to light.

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How to Avoid Tick Bites: A Hiker’s Guide

201405-hd-deer-tickjpgLate spring and early summer is one of the best—and most exhilarating—times of year to take to outdoors for a hike. It’s also peak season for tick bites, especially if you live in the East or Midwest.

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Severe Weather Across the US: Be Ready With These Smart Weather Apps

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UPDATE: Whether you live in the Deep South, the Midwest or along the East Coast, you're likely to experience severly stormy weather today. According to CNN, 75 million Americans, or a third of the country, are under threat of severe weather, which may include tornadoes, high winds and hail; the Deep South has been the hardest hit, with a powerful spring storm system overtaking Mississippi and Alabama. The risk of severe weather is expected to continue through Wednesday, and may affect Americans living between the Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast, and through the Midwest and the East Coast.

This one falls in the “Are you kidding?” category: Just as East Coasters from New Jersey to Massachusetts are coming back online and picking up the pieces after the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, a nor’easter is threatening to wallop the same area this Wednesday or Thursday. Named for the direction the storm travels, this type of weather typically has many of the same characteristics as a hurricane—fierce winds, heavy rains or snow, and—brace yourselves (again) coastal residents—tidal flooding.

While this new storm is not expected to be pack the same intensity as Sandy, it is worth watching—especially in the Carolinas. Whether you live in its projected path, are planning a trip East, or just want to have smart weather forecasts in your pocket, there are five Webby Award-winning apps that should be on your Doppler radar:

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World’s Best Frozen Yogurt in New York City?

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As freezing rain pelts New York City streets, it feels strange to acknowledge, let alone celebrate, yet another made-up holiday: National Frozen Yogurt Day. But I can’t help myself, namely because I just tasted the BEST frozen yogurt of my life at Blue Olive Market, in Midtown Manhattan.

The welcoming, newly opened Greek marketplace is a mini Eataly-style space, with everything from build-your-own Greek salads to authentic prepared foods—toothy moussakas, savory bean dips drizzled with house-infused olive oils, and more. There’s also a wine bar with Mediterranean pours, a soup station featuring lemony avgolemono, and a pastry counter. But it was the siren call of the Greek Yogurt Bar that lured me within seconds, and that will keep me coming back.

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Q+A Series from PhoCusWright 2013: Cheryl Rosner of Stayful.com

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At this year’s PhoCusWright Conference—an annual gathering of the world’s most influential travel innovators—all eyes were on the Innovation Summit and the presenting entrepreneurs. But not all of the talent in attendance was on stage. In a short Q+A series we will introduce you to three new companies that are also poised to change the way we travel.

First up, is Cheryl Rosner, the visionary behind Stayful.com, a website whose proprietary bidding system allows travelers to suggest their own rates at amazing independent and boutique hotels in six (soon to be 10) U.S. cities. As the former Hotels.com president and president of Expedia Corporate Travel, Rosner is a discerning traveler who prides herself on seeking out unique properties with great design and enduring character—but who also likes a bargain.

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(Travel) Agents of Change: PhoCusWright Announces Winners of its 2013 Travel Innovation Summit

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All sweat and nerves and butterflies last night, some 30 next-gen travel innovators eagerly awaited the results of this year's PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit. Which start-up would be crowned the industry's next change agent? After two days of schmoozing, courting VCs, and convincing the travel industry's top players they they were the Next Big Thing, only one young company would walk away with the coveted top prize: General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation.

The competition was stiff—and the stakes high. A win all but guaranteed a steady stream of calls from investors.

“This year’s presenting companies are amongst the most exciting we’ve seen present to date at The Travel Innovation Summit,” said PhoCusWright vice president, research Douglas Quinby.

Not surprisingly, it was a tough decision for this year's panel of judges—made up top travel and technology experts—to choose from this already elite group of companies hailing from across the U.S., and as far away as Russia, Melbourne, and India. But there could only be one winner.

SafelyStay, an Atlanta-based start-up that powers safe and instant vacation rental reservations for online travel agencies, vacation rental marketplaces and property managers, walked away with the title, and $250K.

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Q+A with My Yacht Group Founder Nicholas Frankl

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The Formula One U.S. Grand Prix—where some of the world's fastest and most expensive cars will compete—kicks off tomorrow in Austin, Texas. People travel from all over the world to attend.

On the eve of the second-to-last race of the season, we thought we’d check in with Nicholas Frankl, die-hard F1 fan, founder of My Yacht Group, Olympian bobsledder (who has a friendly but competitive bobsledding rivalry with HSH Prince Albert of Monaco), and collector of many things—yachts, cars, and, yes, even refrigerator magnets.

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Emirates Debuts First Transatlantic Flight

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Beginning today, Oct. 1, Emirates Airlines launches a new route: JFK-Milan. Why is this big news? Because the expanding UAE-based airline will offer the only first-class service between the two popular cities. And, it's the first flight of the airline’s that does not touch down in Dubai before flying on to other gateways.

We expect Emirates’ first transatlantic service to be a big boon for business and leisure travelers, and are already imagining the crush of Louis Vuitton suitcases during Milan and NYC’s Fashion Weeks.

Departure and arrival schedules are timed to sync with flights going to and from feeder markets, especially those on JetBlue (US) and easyJet (Europe).

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