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Skyscanner Launches Soccer Flight Finder for 2014 World Cup

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Skyscanner already helps travelers compare flight prices for the best deals, but they’ll be focusing on the sports-crazed in 2014. Just as soccer fans around the globe are gearing up for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Skyscanner has launched their Soccer Flight Finder. The search engine compares outbound flights from each of the 32 participating countries to Brazil, as well as internal flights so that fans can follow their team directly to the field. Simply select which of the eight groups your team is placed in, and Skyscanner lets you search for free across web and mobile devices, in 30 different languages. Hotel and car rental comparisons let spectators further plan their visit to Latin America's largest country—all the more reason to stand and cheer (or shout) during the high-energy tournament.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Skyscanner

Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Lagoon Goes Oddly Dark

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Aside from Disney World, I wouldn't normally call a destination magical—but Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent Grand Lagoon comes pretty close. Unfortunately, the popular Fajardo tourist destination has gone strangely dark. Visitors come to swim or kayak through the waters to witness a trail of sparkling green light appear. The glow is caused when dinoflagettlates (microscopic plankton) are disturbed, giving off light they’ve collected during the day. But since November 11, tour operators have been forced to cancel excursions and reimburse disappointed guests.

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Hyatt Union Square Announces New Accessories Butler

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Packing the perfect holiday outfit just got easier for New York-bound travelers. The Hyatt Union Square New York is now offering “The Accessories Butler,” a curated closet of seasonal jewelry, scarves, cufflinks, and more where each item is available for loan. Guests can browse then borrow any item that happens to catch their eye, from a sparkling set of earrings by designer Kevia to luxe fur boot wraps by Hugrz (above). The service is convenient for guests who may have forgotten outfit staples like a watch or belt, and just plain fun for those of us who like to play dress up. Organized by style expert Pamela Pekerman, the Accessories Butler is free of charge to all hotels guests, who can flaunt their new wardrobe piece for up to 12 hours after submitting an information form. Having a mini fashion closet at your disposal? Now that’s an amenity we can get behind.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Shawn Punch

Turkish Airlines Brings Startups Into the Spotlight for Flying Investors

Turkish Airlines is now catering to specific kinds of fliers—namely, investors. The airlines’ new in-flight entertainment, Invest on Board, highlights a selection of startup pitches from the online platform eTohum to help investors support the next big idea.

Eleven videos are currently available to watch on the Invest on Board website, and while most of the companies are based in Turkey, the service may expand to include international startups if investors take a liking to it. With in-air resources like this, along with WiFi availability and a lift of the ban on electronic devices, it looks as if airlines are working to keep you plugged in—no matter how many thousands of feet above the office you may be.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Andaz Hotels Feature Local Artists With First-Ever Online Holiday Bazaar

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In the season of giving, nothing is more satisfying than knowing your gift is appreciated. Now, Andaz Hotels are ensuring online shoppers that their thoughtful presents will bring smiles near and far with the first-ever Andaz Holiday Bazaar. The boutique hotel group has partnered up with local artists from around the world (think trendsetting cities like New York, London, and Shanghai) to create an eclectic collection of items for purchase on Joyus.com. Not only will your loved one take pride knowing that the hip-hugging Alexander Campaz dress you bought them is one of a kind (seriously—only one was made), but you can take solace that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to Women for Women International (WfWI), a nonprofit organization helping to rebuild the lives of women in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.

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Movie Buff's Dream Getaway: 20 Film Settings Around the World in 90 Days

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Imagine having Breakfast at Tiffany’s to fuel up for an afternoon adventure in Petra, Indiana Jones-style? Then ending the day with a dreamy sunset on The Beach in Thailand? Hardcore (wealthy) movie buffs can now live out their dreams with a 90-day itinerary by Very First To. The extensive trip—which visits 20 famous film sets across 10 countries—costs a hefty $321,000. But the price tag does come with perks: business-class flights for two for the full three months; overnight stays in lavish hotels like London’s The Savoy and the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.; and of course, serious bragging rights.

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Avis: First Car Rental Company Available on Google Wallet

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Avis Car Rental is keeping up its tech-y track record with the integration of Avis Preferred, its express rental service, with Google Wallet—making them the first company in the car rental industry to join Google’s new app. Wallet’s application allows users on Android and iPhone devices to send money, pay for online purchases, and store loyalty program info all in a 24/7 fraud-monitored location. As of today, travelers can enroll in Avis Preferred through the app and have their new Avis Wizard number appear automatically, while existing members can save their Wizard number in the app. Users will then receive offers from Avis directly through Google Wallet, expediting the car rental process—especially convenient for travelers on a tight schedule.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Newscast / Alamy

Escape to Miami With Your Dog This Winter

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As the the winds pick up and the weather gets chilly, it’s only natural for we northeasterners to daydream about a sunny Florida getaway—and canines are no exception. Ladybird, above, is a fan of Miami’s EPIC Hotel for their “pet-friendly and incredible accommodations, along with the views of Miami and the bay!” And while Ladybird is on the small side (T+L Instagram follower @shmesyca says she’s an Australian Cattle Dog—also known as a Blue Heeler—and Chihuahua mix), all weights, sizes, and breeds of animals are welcomed free of charge at the hotel.

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JetBlue Celebrates First Flight to Allow Gate-to-Gate Use of Portable Electronic Devices

A few weeks ago, I was scolded by a flight attendant for switching my iPhone into airplane mode instead of powering off. This week, however, we are living in a world where portable electronic devices can be kept on from take off to touch down. JetBlue celebrated its first PED-approved flight on Friday, allowing gate-to-gate usage from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Buffalo Niagara Airport. The video above captures this moment of joy in air travel history. With both JetBlue and Delta's approval of the policy, we can only imagine that more airlines will follow suit and adopt this tech-friendly stance.

Maria Pedone
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Howling Good Travel-Inspired Dog Costumes for Halloween

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Halloween (or should we say, howl-o-ween) is tomorrow and we’re taking notice of the best travel costumes this side of the kennel. Jackson, above, will be donning his aviator gear in Healdsburg, CA, according to T+L Twitter follower @Green4Lori. This little guy proves that even if you can’t be a jet setter, you can most certainly dress like one.

Is your pet dressing up this weekend? Show us using the hashtag #TLDogs on Twitter and Instagram—we’ll repost the best! Click here for how we may feature your photos.

Photo courtesy of @Green4Lori

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