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Coming Soon: New Trail Set To Trace Historic Explorer's Route from South Sudan to Uganda

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Fans of the T+L Hiking Guide who've already completed the Appalachian Trail, the pilgrimage to Santiago, or the climb to Machu Picchu will soon have another path to traverse: The Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail, covering nearly 360 miles in South Sudan* and Uganda.

The route is the same one that Samuel Baker, a British officer, took with his wife in the 1860s. Traveling south from present-day South Sudan, the couple became the first Europeans to see what they would name Lake Albert, which marks the terminus of the new trail.

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Trip Doctor: New Airline Survey from Skytrax Picks Global Favorites

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The plane surveys keep on coming. Just a few weeks ago, Trip Doctor reported on a slew of recent polls that give insight into what Americans think about flying nowadays. And at the recent Paris Air Show, Skytrax announced its winners for the 2013 World Airline Awards.  While the surveys we wrote about earlier show what American flyers are thinking, the Skytrax awards offer a more global scope, with respondents from over 160 countries taking part in the poll.

Some of the takeaways?

  • Emirates earns the coveted “Airline of the Year,” and wins for best Inflight Entertainment

  • Garuda Indonesia wins best Economy Class Seats and best Economy Class overall, making it a Top 10 scorer for the first time

  • All Nipon Airways claims the best Aircraft Cabin Cleanliness award

  • Cathay Pacific Airways is awarded best Cabin Staff

  • Etihad Airways nabs best First Class Seats and best First Class overall

  • AirAsia is the best Low-Cost Airline

If you’re thinking that the list seems dominated by Asian and Middle Eastern airlines, you’re correct. Of the Top 10 airlines, only 10th ranked Qantas hails from outside Asia and the Middle East.

See the full results here

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team.

Photo courtesy of Emirates

Trip Doctor: Hotels Celebrate Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Rulings Just in Time for Pride

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Today's Supreme Court rulings—striking down DOMA and essentially paving the way for same-sex marriage in California—have helped make this Pride month prouder than ever. A number of hotels are sharing in the celebrations by offering special promotions geared for LGBT guests, their allies, and their causes.

Here, T+L takes a quick look at a few of them:

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Trip Doctor: Webflakes.com Translates Foreign Blogs for You

A new website is making it easier for Americans to get the local scoop on international destinations. Webflakes, launched in May, uses its growing team of volunteers (currently at around 200) to translate foreign blogs into English, a major boon to anyone who’s ever been frustrated at the lack of English-language, international posts in the blogosphere.

The site compiles posts from over 60 hand-selected bloggers who hail from France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Argentina, Peru, and Switzerland. That list of bloggers and home-countries is set to grow, with German and Chinese blogs predicted for the near future. The posts cover traditional lifestyle topics including travel, design, architecture, relationships, fashion, wine, and food & dining.

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Trip Doctor: Paris's New Riverwalk

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T+L has got you covered when it comes to hiking guides in rugged locales like the Dolomites, the Andes, and Zambia, but we love to trek around urban areas too. That’s why we’re thrilled at the completion of a project transforming 1.4-miles of roadway into a pedestrian riverwalk along the Seine's Left Bank in Paris's 7th arrondissemont.

As various news sources reported, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe recently inaugurated the new walkway, three years and nearly $50 million in the making.

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Trip Doctor on Pride 2013: Spotlight Twin Cities

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Did you miss the Pride events this month in Boston, Providence, and D.C.? Those cities already had their big celebrations, but there’s still time to attend the festivals in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and elsewhere.

One Pride event you may not have considered is Minnesota’s Twin Cities Pride. This under-the-gaydar destination has a lot to celebrate since last year’s paradegoers marched down Hennepin Avenue. In November, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and the state legislature legalized equal marriage in May, with the law going into effect August 1. No wonder T+L readers voted the Twin Cities one of America’s top cities for Gay Travel.

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Trip Doctor: What Americans Really Think about Flying

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With summer vacation upon us, it seems students aren't the only ones getting their final grades. A slew of reports and studies recently came out—including ones from Harris Interactive, J.D. Power & Associates, Consumer Reports, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)—surveying a total of over 67,000 Americans on their latest opinions North American air travel. Here are some of the highlights:

Satisfaction is…Up!

  • Even though Consumer Reports concludes "There isn't much good news for passengers," recent findings by J.D. Power & Associates suggest that the passengers themselves disagree. The marketing information firm surveyed nearly 12,000 individuals and measured customer satisfaction on a 1000 point scale based on airline performance in 7 categories: cost & fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservation.  The results?  Overall passenger satisfaction is up 14 points to 695, a score not seen since 2006, before the age of a-la-carte baggage fees.

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Titanic Nostalgia Will Go On

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With the 101st anniversary of the Titanic sinking a few months behind us, some of you may be thinking that you'd heard the last of that fated ship for a while. Think again. The passenger liner that sank in April, 1912 continues to make waves in the 21st century, and Titaniacs the world over make treks to see and experience anything related to the ship and its sinking.

Just this month, in Belfast, a tender that ferried passengers boarding the Titanic in Cherbourg, France, reopened as a museum. The S.S. Nomadic (pictured) had spent years languishing – I saw her moored across the Seine from Paris's Eiffel Tower in 1999, windows broken and a plastic palm tree ingloriously placed on the top deck. In 2006, the Northern Irish city of Belfast purchased the Nomadic and transported it back to the Irish port where it was built in 1911. The ship, fully restored, now resides in Belfast’s new Titanic Quarter, a massive new development built on former docklands.

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Trip Doctor: New Index Ranks International Cities by Cost

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Newsflash: Oslo (pictured) is an expensive city.

Actually, according to a recent study by TripAdvisor, the Norwegian capital is the most expensive city for travelers. And while the priciest cities shouldn’t be too surprising (Oslo is followed by Zürich, Switzerland, and Stockholm, Sweden), the results are fascinating.

The website ranked 49 popular travel destinations around the world on a pricing index based on the relative costs of an evening out (cab rides, dinner, and drinks) and a one-night stay at a four-star hotel.

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Trip Doctor: Legislators Renew Push for Family Flying Policy Changes

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Back in February we reported that several senators had expressed opposition to recent airline fees that force families to pay extra if they wish to sit together. Now, five lawmakers from New York and California are sponsoring a bill that would require airlines to change their policies.

The legislative push is still in its "early stages," according to the offices of the resolution's main sponsor, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY), so no news on when (or even if) to expect a vote. Right now the sponsors are working on outreach both with other members in Congress and their constituents.

Nadler introduced a similar proposal last July with 10 co-sponsers, but the resolution was never enacted.

Have strong feelings about this? Contact your Congress representative and write to them about House Resolution 2191.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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