Getting excited for one last hurrah this Labor Day? You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.
According to travel club AAA, 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. That’s up 4.2 percent from last year, and is the highest number since 2008, when a staggering 45.1 million took a vacation.
An “increasingly positive economic output and optimism in the housing market” are the main factors of this year’s higher numbers, says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet. With home prices improving across much of the country, “more families are feeling comfortable about traveling.”
Scoot Airlines, a low-cost spinoff of Singapore Air, has joined Malaysia's Air Asia X in offering child-free zones on its flights. The new ScootinSilence seats, which cost as little as $15 more, offer travelers a few more inches of legroom and the promise of no seatmates under the the age of 12. The jury's still out on whether U.S. domestic carriers would find a market for such seats. Marketwatch has the story. (Amy Farley)
The ever-helpful George Hobica of Airfare Watchdog has assembled a list of the airports providing Wi-Fi service, outlining both the network names and costs. We'll be sure to consult it before heading on our next flight. (Nikki Ekstein)
Also from Circa News, scientists in western Nevada have discovered petroglyphs from as many as 14,800 years ago, making them the oldest rock out found in North America. (A.G.)
In tech travel news, Sky News reveals that New Zealand aviation authorities have given jetpack developers a flying permit, allowing the company to run test flights. (A.G)
The Boston Globe's Christopher Muther meets with the general manager of Forum, the restaurant at the epicenter of Boston's Marathon Bombings that is reopening today four months after the attacks. (Peter Schlesinger)
This week's Economist investigates how doping scandals are affecting travel trends at the Baseball Hall of Fame. (P.S)
Don’t you hate it when this happens? An American man accidentally snapped a finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary at a museum in Florence. Oh yeah, and he’s a surgeon. [Daily Mail] (Amy Farley)
A new skyscraper in Spain's resort town Benidorm is almost finished, except they forgot to build an elevator…Jamie Condliffe from Gimodo shares the bizarre story. (Peter Schlesinger)
"Bucharest not Budapest" is the Romanian capital's new tourism campaign, highlighting that the city, dubbed the Paris of the East, should not be compared to similarly-named Hungarian capital. Feargus O'Sullivan from The Atlantic Cities reports. (P.S.)
There are three locations for this dog and cat resort—two in Chicago and one in Dallas/Ft. Worth—each near airports. Accommodations include large dog suites, as well as a gated community of bungalows for cats (select bungalows have window perches and fish aquariums). Dogs can exercise in the indoor grass area and splash in a bone-shaped pool. For cats, there’s an Adventure Jungle for climbing custom-made cat trees. Dog suites from $49/night; Cat bungalows from $27/night.
Christian Boyens, general manager of the Ritz Paris—currently undergoing renovations—reveals his short list for where to eat in the City of Light.
First Arr.-Verjus($$$$): French farm food, great setting. Kinugawa($$$): Japanese bento boxes for lunch.
Second Arr.-Chez Georges(pictured; 1 Rue du Mail;$$$): well-preserved classic, market-fresh specials. Le Mesturet($$): real Parisian bistro, good price-to-quality ratio. Le Petit Vendôme($$): hole-in-the-wall for lunch; get the escalope de veau with mushrooms.
Third Arr.-Derrière($$$): young, eclectic scene, great patio, table tennis, rotisserie ham. Chez Janou($$$): French bistro, get the duck and the chocolate mousse; fish soup only so-so.