Virgin America's added a little twist to their in-flight safety video. Grooving nuns, rapping kids, and auto-tuning robots guide you through the airline's safety regulations. This won't be the last dance, either. Virgin America has already posted a casting call on Instagram for future video stars. And if you can't get down with the funk, Virgin America's offer—20% off flights for today only—is sure to make you jump. Simply use the promo code "GETDOWN" upon checkout.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.
Fiery red, amber orange, golden yellow—these autumn colors are trademarks of the season, and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway along New England's coast.
Maine’s striking foliage is still in its prime, and just an easy drive from Boston. Pack up the car and course along one of America’s best fall color drives to get there, or opt for a train ride to take in the hues. (Amtrak's Downeaster service departs five times daily from Boston to Portland.) Once you arrive, the fall viewing opportunities take to the sky, literally. Step onto a private plane with The Inn at Brunswick Station, whose “Fall Foliage Flyover” package offers for an hour-long aerial tour of Maine’s coastline. Or, take the Maine Eastern Railroad further north. Passengers will get an eyeful of colorful views on the 57-mile trip along state's scenic Mid-Coast, from Brunswick to Rockland.
KAYAK recently announced that it will be expanding its travel search site to eight new markets in the coming weeks. Having already launched in Australia and the Netherlands, the Priceline-owned company also plans to set up in Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Back in the US, KAYAK continues to help us find great deals on airfare and hotels—especially useful as the holiday season sneaks up. The site released their Holiday When to Book & Travel Guide, which breaks down travel tips by each holiday—and warns against waiting to book. According to KAYAK's guide, which is based on millions of queries conducted on the site last year, the cheapest flights can be found between September and mid-October. After mid-October, airfare prices skyrocket 17% for Thanksgiving, 51% for Christmas, and 25% for New Year’s Eve. These numbers hold true for domestic flights—unfortunately, international fares saw no low period during the season.
Over the past two years, NYC visitor numbers have broken records, with 52 million in 2012. To help accomodate tourists, one of the city's most-visited (and shopped at) sights, Macy’s Herald Square, has stepped up with partner NYC & Company to unveil a revamped, user-friendly visitor center.
Flanked by curved staircases on either side, the white-tiled mezzanine sits above cosmetic brands like Chanel and Dior. Four touch-screen kiosks resembling giant iPhones allow visitors to plan their next move, with extensive attraction, dining, and nightlife listings. Nine languages are available—including Mandarin and Portuguese—while Google Maps provides step-by-step directions that can be printed on the spot. By Nov. 1st, you'll even be able to purchase attraction tickets (Empire State Building Observatory; Circle Line cruises) directly through the kiosks.
Danielle Steel’s new book, Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love (on sale Oct. 29th), highlights her travels with dog Minnie—perfect inspiration for the next trip with your own four-legged friend. If you can plan with T+L, all the better.
Though they may not be reading, T+L does have its fair share of traveling canine fans. This shot of Daisy the Maltese was taken just before her trip out to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. According to Instagram follower @kpe319, the seaside town is this pup’s favorite vacation spot, with its number of dog-friendly inns.
Westin Hotels is catering to marathoners with its new Running Concierges.
Whether it's a 5K, half-marathon, or the full 26.2 miles, finishing a distance race is no easy feat. Make it a destination race and you'll have even more to think about: what to pack and how to adjust to different time zones and temperatures, to name a few. But the T+L editors love a challange—and any excuse to travel.
Hotels are even picking up on the trend. Westin brand hotels recently teamed up with the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon series (which hosts races year-round across North America and Europe) to offer RunWESTIN participants access to its dedicated running conceirge, Chris Heuisler. Perks include a race course tour (Chris meets with local running associations in each city for insider tips), fitness and recovery advice, and a pasta dinner and breakfast to fuel up for the big day.
Road trips are a blast with friends, furry or not. But there inevitably comes a point when you have to whine, “Are we there yet??” Teddy, the ecstatic dog above of pet parent and T+L Instagram follower, @lundec, journeyed several days from Duluth, MN to San Francisco—stopping midway at the pet-friendly Mountain Sky Guest Ranch for a well-deserved run-around. We asked for @lundec’s trick to keeping Teddy happy while driving the distance:
“Set up a cozy spot in the car. Give them occasional snacks during the trip such as a couple raw almonds, etc.”
Air New Zealand, known for their offbeat in-flight safety videos, has released a new four-minute reel, featuring actress Betty White. The latest video depicts the former star of The Golden Girls at the fictional Second Wind Retirement Resort, where she instructs a lot chess-playing residents to “listen up” as her “cousin’s grandson” (a.k.a. an Air New Zealand flight attendant) reminds seniors of the usual on-board precautions (fastening seatbelts; pulling down oxygen masks).
“We had a lot of fun on set and I think we’ve shown that it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s important to live life to the full,” says White.
Road trips with your pup just got a little safer, thanks to a new pack of crash-test dummy dogs. Partnering with Subaru, the Center for Pet Safety in Virginia used the dummies—which stimulated dogs from a 25-pound terrier to a 75-pound golden retriever—to test out seven different pet harnesses. Findings released last week “uncovered serious flaws in many of the popular pet restraints…with many resulting in catastrophic failure.”
“Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all,” claims Michael Michale, Director of Communications at Subaru of America. While pet owners may get giddy at Fido hanging his head out of the window, pet advocacy groups insist this is a serious danger to both pet and passengers during a crash.
Small towns have a charm you just can’t find in cities. Quiet B&Bs stand in place of bustling hotel towers; mom-and-pop shops outnumber the strip malls. Beach towns like Rehoboth, DE and Boca Grande, FL are all-American classics, with saltwater taffy and seafood shacks lining the boardwalks. Stranger towns like Lily Dale, NY are known for their residents (psychics here were the focus of an HBO documentary), while Bardstown, KY’s 1892 courthouse makes its town square one of the most beautiful.
We’ve nominated these towns—and hundreds of others across the U.S.—to be one of America’s Favorites. Think your town deserves recognition? Head here to view our full list and vote in a number of categories, from farmer’s markets to cool motels. Rank your town from now until Oct. 15th and—besides possible bragging rights—receive a free download of the World's Best Affordable Beaches and a chance to win $25,000 towards a dream vacation. Follow the hashtag #TLTowns on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to see how much noise your town is making.