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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.

New Murals Bring Color to Philadelphia Amtrak Route

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A new set of murals are making a colorfusl splash along a stretch of Amtrak lines in Philadelphia.

As part of the city's Mural Arts Program, German artist Katharina Grosse painted warehouses and abandoned lots visible from the tracks. Around 34,000 rail passengers will see the project every day from their seats on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route between Philadelphia and New York, as well as from several local commuter lines.

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Video: Watch Lightning Strike London's The Shard



London's the Shard—Europe's tallest buiding and home to the newest Shangri-La hotel—made headlines last week when it was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Thursday. The video above has since gone viral, with nearly 1 million views.

For those of you concerned about safety, a hotel employee assures me that no guests or staff members reported feeling or hearing the strike.

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.

 

Airbnb's Agreement with New York Attorney General

201405-hd-airbnbjpgAirbnb announced this week that it reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, after the state office issued a second subpoena demanding data on thousands of Airbnb hosts.

In this latest update to the long saga of New York State vs. Airbnb, the short-term apartment rental website will hand over anonymized data of its hosts, giving the Attorney General's Office one year to review the information.

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T+L's Favorite Hotels for Bike Month

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It's Bike Month, and hotels are getting in on the action. Here, a few of our favorite two-wheeler programs at properties around North America:

All that separates Santa Monica's Shutters on the Beach from the ocean is a bike-path. Luckily, the hotel has a fleet of bright-green cycles designed by Kate Spade available to rent.

On the Atlantic, Miami's James Royal Palm has complimentary Republic bikes for guests to ride along the South Beach boardwalk.

And in Puerto Rico, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort (pictured above) is a nature preservation unto itself, with secluded paths through a 70-acre bird sanctuary—home to endemic parrots. The hotel provides complimentary bike rentals.

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FAA Investigates Near Collision Between Jetliners Over Hawaii

The Federal Aviation Authority is investigating claims of a near collision between two passenger planes over Hawaii last month.

Apparently, on April 25th, a United Airlines flight dropped 600 feet in order to avoid an oncoming U.S. Airways flight. At just two miles apart, the planes could have collided within twelve seconds due to their speeds.

The incident went under the radar until this week, when passenger Kevin Townsend published an essay on the subject. Now, the FAA and both airlines are cooperating to investigate the close call.

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.

Ecuador Declares Environmental Emergency in Galapagos

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A cargo ship that ran aground last week prompted Ecuador's government to declare an environmental emergency yesterday.

Nineteen-thousand gallons of fuel have already been removed from the Galapaface I, stranded off of San Cristobal island, but the environmental ministry's statement highlights the continued threat from the remaining cargo, including chemical products and bilge water.

In effect for 180 days, the declaration opens up federal resources to remove both the dangerous products and the ship itself.

Thankfully, the government's fast response has minimized any potentially disastrous effects, leaving the island's unique ecosystem relatively unscathed. Here's hoping the cleanup process remains so successful.

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 Ralph Lee Hopkins

New Ferry Service Reconnects Maine to Nova Scotia

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On May 15th, a new ferry service will begin making daily trips between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

With a capacity of 1,215 passengers, the MV Nova Star isn't exactly your average ferry though. Shipboard amenities include multiple restaurants—seafood will feature prominently—an art gallery, casino, and full-service spa.

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New Survey Reveals State of U.S. Pet Travel

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American travelers sacrifice significant vacation time for their pets—a whopping 69 percent have missed out on spur-of-the-moment getaways. So says a new survey from DogVacay, which polled 2,025 adults last month.

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