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Facebook 's Top 25 Most Checked-In Places for 2013

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Facebook just released its 2013 Trends report, and the big winner is Disney.

The map of most checked-into destinations for 25 countries shows that the theme park empire holds the number one spot in an impressive four countries: Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland.

The California park's ranking increased a slot since 2012, overtaking Times Square to become the most checked-in locale in the US.

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Check out Delta's New Holiday Video

We're loving Delta's new holiday video, which features flight attendents, pilots, and other crewmembers making music with improvised instruments—peanuts and service carts, for example. Take a look!

It seems like there's a new airline video every day, as legacy liners and up-and-comers strive to retain loyalty among their flyers. Expect to see a Virgin America holiday video sometime soon.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Are Bitcoins the Travel Currency of the Future?

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We here at T+L have been reading a lot about Bitcoins lately.

The virtual currency—unaffiliated with national institutions and easily traded anonymously—has seen its value skyrocket to over $1,000 per “coin.” Whispers abound of a potential bubble (remember Tulipmania?). Today those whispers turned to full on warnings, when Chinese banks instructed financial institutions not to trade in the digital money. Yet while the news briefly caused the prices to tumble, they're once again on the rise.

Bubble or no bubble, it seems likely that digital money is here to stay. And the travel industry is helping.

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TSA Has Over $500,000 in Forgotten Pocket Change from 2012

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In fiscal 2012, travelers left $531,000 in pennies, nickels, and dimes at airport security checkpoints, according the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Nearly 95% of the loose change collected came from domestic flights, with $22,000 coming from LAX alone. Altogether, the TSA has amassed over $2 million in the last five years.

What is the TSA planning on doing with all the money?

Currently it sits mostly untouched in an “aviation security fund,” but Florida representative Jeff Miller last week issued a committee report recommending the unused coins go toward upgraded travel amenities for members of the U.S. military and their families while traveling.

Congress is set to vote later this week on Miller's bill.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Travel to Thailand Okay Despite Clashes in Bangkok, According to U.S. State Department

Political demonstrations in Bangkok took a violent turn this weekend, as anti-government groups clashed with government supporters and riot police. The ongoing protests need not affect travelers' plans to Thailand as of yet, however, according to local sources and the U.S. Department of State.

In an official statement yesterday, the State Department recommends US citizens join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides security updates and makes it easier for the embassy to contact enrollees during emergencies. It also urges travelers to steer clear of the demonstrations and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings. Significantly, the statement does not go so far as to suggest individuals cancel their travel plans.

Local hotels are open for business, as are most major sites in the city. Outside of Bangkok, popular areas such as Chiang Mai are unaffected by the clashes.

Pat O'Connell, a T+L A-List Agent with Asia Transpacific Journeys, reports that travel to and around Thailand has not been significantly impacted by the protests. Allowing more time for airport transfers has been the only effect to date, although the company's on-the-ground staff is monitoring the situation closely.

The demonstrations have left at least 4 protesters dead and scores more injured. Anti-government activists want Ms. Shinawatra out of office, alleging that her brother, and ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra is leading the country behind the scenes from exile.

It is unclear whether the protests will calm down in time for the Thai King's birthday this Thursday.

We here at T+L share the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok's hope for a peaceful resolution, and will follow the situation closely. For up-to-the-minute news, follow the embassy on Twitter.

 

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

How to Relive the Hunger Games in Atlanta

Want to walk (or run frantically) in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta? Consider venturing to Atlanta, the primary filming location for Hunger Games: Cathing Fire, which opened last night.

The city's convention and visitors bureau has prepared a self-guided, two-day Hunger Games Tour. The CVB even recommends a hotel: The Marriott Marquis, where multiple scenes were shot.

Braver souls might consider the Hunger Games Unoffical Fan Tours, which run Adventure Weekends recreating the book and film trilogy's creepy competition. The weekends include themed accommodations, survival training, a gala banquet, themed food, archery tag, and a Hunger Games simulation. Details of what exactly the simulation entails are scarce—all the better to keep participating Tributes on their guard.

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Boston Opens Country's First Helmet Vending Machine for Bikers

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Boston's popular Hubway bicycle sharing program just got a lot safer for out-of-towners. The new HelmetHub allows users to rent or purchase helmets in the country's first helmet vending machine.

Located by the bike sharing station at Boylston Street and Mass. Ave, the HelmetHub holds over 30 helmets. The goal? Encourage all users, whether daily commuters or one-time visitors, to ride safely.

The helmet machine is one of 14 set to arrive in the city as part of a pilot program. Boston's Director of Bicycle Programs Nicole Freedman tells T+L that if all goes well, more may soon sprout up among Hubway's 100+ stations.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and part of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: HelmetHub

Swiss Hotels Offer Pay-What-You-Want Holiday Promotion

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Early booking specials and last-minute deals are ubiquitous in the travel industry, so we at T+L are always fascinated when someone gets creative with their pricing.

A collection of hotels in Switzerland have done just that with their "Pay What You Want" two-night stay offer before the holidays. Guests pay the normal rate for the first night, and then decide what they'd like to pay for their second night based on the service they receive. And given that each of the 18 participating hotels were voted some of Switzerland's Most Welcoming Hotels in 2013, it's likely their award-winning service will have guests paying full price or more for their second night stays.

Learn more at Switzerland Tourism's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: Martin Ruetschi/Keystone/Corbis

Celebrities Talk Los Angeles in Thirty Seconds to Mars Music Video

The new music video for "City of Angels," from the band Thirty Seconds to Mars is an 11-minute tribute to Tinseltown, featuring sweeping aerial shots interspersed with interviews from A-Listers and celebrity impersonators.

Watch as Kanye West, Lindsey Lohan, James Franco, Selena Gomez, and others discuss their city—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effect is more love-letter to L.A. than music video.

Feeling inspired? Check out T+L's guide to the Los Angeles.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

New Hyatt Study Reveals What Business Travelers Wear To Work in Hotel Rooms

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Hyatt recently hosted a day-long Twitter chat that it dubbed the “World's Largest Focus Group,” tapping into current travel trends among its clients. Most of the results were not all that surprising—respondents' top wish was for seamless check-in, bypassing the front desk and heading straight to the room.

But by far the most important takeaway regards business travelers' clothing preferences when working from their hotel rooms:

65 percent of women opt for pajamas or workout gear

50 percent of men prefer casual business attire

2.5 percent of both genders forego clothing altogether

Think about that the next time you receive an email from a colleague on a business trip...!

 

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: Hyatt Hotels Corporation

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