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Robot Parks Cars for Travelers at German Airport

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Leave it to the efficient Germans: Düsseldorf Airport now uses a robot to park cars, rather than have travelers search for a spot on their own.

Ray, as the new robot is called, picks up vehicles from six drop-off "transfer boxes" near the terminal before leaving the cars in one of 249 parking spots available through the program—the first of its kind in the world.

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Boston Celebrates July 4th with England's Magna Carta

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In time for Independence Day, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has opened an exhibition with a rare copy of England's Magna Carta, one of the building blocks for America's Constitution and other bills of rights.

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Zen Moment: Switzerland From Above

This year, Swiss Tourism is celebrating the Alpine nation's incredible views, and a new video does just that. "Switzerland From Above," filmed by renowned French journalist Yann Arthus, takes viewers on an aerial tour of some of the country's most scenic vistas.

The Rheinfalls, high mountain peaks, and bucolic farm scenes (Swiss cows!) all appear in the film, which is set to a transfixing score by Armand Amar.

So take a moment—well, 20 minutes actually—to experience Switzerland from above.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 

We Love Virgin America's New/Adorable/Gay-Friendly Website

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If you've booked a flight with Virgin America recently, you may have noticed the airline's fun new Where We Fly page, which uses artsy icons to symbolize each of its destinations.

Just in time for the city's Pride festival this weekend—the country's largest—San Francisco appears as the Golden Gate Bridge under a rainbow, with one of the city's famed sea lions dressed as the police officer from the Village People.

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Cape Cod Beaches Ban Smoking

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Just in time for summer's high season, popular Cape Cod beaches enacted smoking bans last week.

Meant to minimize second-hand smoke for the marjority of beachgoers, the bans apply to six heavily visited lifeguarded areas on Massachusett's Cape Cod National Seashore. Smokers will have to head several hundred feet away from lifeguard stations to light up.

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Man Stranded at the Airport Films Viral Celine Dion Video

What do you do when you're stranded overnight at the airport? That's the question Richard Dunn asked when he found himself alone at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport.

The answer he came up with has since gone viral: Using his phone to create a lip-synced music video to Celine Dion's 1996 hit "All By Myself."

Even better? The songstress saw the video and responded with a video of her own, inviting Dunn back to Las Vegas so he wouldn't have to be alone.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Expedia Now Accepts Bitcoin

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Expedia will accept bitcoin for its online hotel bookings, the company announced yesterday.

Travelers choosing the new payment method will be redirected to Coinbase, a digital money exchange, where they will have ten minutes to complete the transaction. How many bitcoins does a hotel cost? At around $640 per bitcoin, a $200 hotel-stay will run 0.32 bitcoins. Coinbase also charges a miniscule "miner fee," worth roughly twelve cents.

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New Travel Survey: Americans Divided on Beach, Plane Etiquette

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A new survey from the Travel Leaders Group reveals that courtesy in the air does not necessarily translate to courtesy once on the ground.

When confronted with limited overhead space for carry-on bags near their assigned seats, only 4.3 percent of survey-takers would stow luggage at the earliest open spot, while nearly 75 percent would wait until they approached their seat.

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New Rosetta Stone App Helps World Cup-Bound Travelers

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Rosetta Stone unveiled a special Portuguese Futebol Edition of its Travel series on Wednesday, targeting lucky Americans heading to Brazil for the Fifa World Cup this month.

The free app, which uses an immersion-based system like all Rosetta Stone products, teaches key soccer vocab (beyond "Gol!"), as well as useful phrases relating to public transportation, restaurants, and attractions in the Games' twelve host cities.

With the Cup just one week away, Brazil-bound travelers better learn quick, or should I say rápido?

The app is available for Android and iOS.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 Photo courtesy of Rosetta Stone

 

How Airport Retailers Target Passengers

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Airport retailers know a lot more about their potential customers than you might expect, and they're using that information to target specific shopping demographics, as an article in the Economist details.

Aware when flights arrive and depart, shops behind security alter their selection based on who will be walking by during that "golden hour" before takeoff. At Heathrow, for example, cognac displayed in the morning is geared to passengers on that 9:45 am Barbados flight—who apparently prefer Hennesy and Courvoisier—while afternoon flights to Norway and the US call for cheaper brandies. Likewise, shopkeepers schedule their multilingual staffs based on flight timetables.

As the Economist writes, "Most [passengers] are relatively prosperous; all are briefly at loose ends," and retailers have found that these slightly-crazed, moderately wealthy individuals make great customers.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo by Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy.

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