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Crowdsourcing: What to Do When You're Near the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul


View Hagia Sophia in a larger map

The sixth-century Hagia Sophia (a basilica turned mosque turned museum) retains its jaw-dropping 180-foot dome. We asked true travel pros what to do nearby. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.

“The most authentic Ottoman cuisine can be found at Matbah (6 Caferiye Sk.; $$), where you can eat on a terrace and look out to Topkapi Palace.” —Mine Demiroren, via Facebook

“Have a rooftop drink at Seven Hills Hotel ($$) for views of boats in the Bosporus and close-ups of Hagia Sophia.” —@mrbaileynyc

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Twitterature: Super-Short Travel Stories

Super-Short Travel Story: Dani Shapiro

Social media is a riot of snippets, photos, and links. But where are the real stories? We challenged five T+L wordsmiths to tell a pithy travel tale in just 140 characters. Read the results—and submit your own.

Henry Alford (@henryalford): Visited Campari factory outside Milan to determine once and for all whether the aperitif’s main ingredient is cinnamon gift soap. #TLStory

Peter Jon Lindberg (@peterjlindberg): Paddling Zambezi in 2-man canoe. Sunlight glints; hippos grunt. 18-ft croc slinks under boat. Paul (guide) not talking. Um…Paul? #TLStory

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TODAY Show Video: 6 Travel Etiquette Rules

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Expert advice for what to do when you face unruly kids on a place, noisy hotel room neighbors, and other dilemmas on the road.

1. What do you do when there is a shared armrest on your flight?

A. Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests. If you think about it, it makes sense—aisle and window passengers are guaranteed at least one armrest.

Related: America’s Rudest Cities

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Weather Channel Video: Weekend Getaways From San Francisco

Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from San Francisco on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.

1. EMERGING FOOD SCENE: Oakland, California

A now-thriving restaurant scene has put this East Bay City—just a 20-minute drive across the bridge from San Francisco—on the traveler’s map. WHERE TO STAY The Waterfront Hotel, a 143-room property right on the marina, with a heated pool, weekday wine and cheese hour, and a fireplace and balcony in every room. PRICE $149 a night. BOOK NOW 

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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Ruzwana Bashir of Peek.com

Ruzwana Bashir

At last month’s PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel:

Ruzwana Bashir, the British-born 29-year-old co-founder of Peek.com, is part of the exclusive club of PhoCusWright “Young Leaders.” In October of this year, she launched a new website that provides an attractive, centralized place to book vacation activities. It also highlights “Perfect Day” itineraries supplied by travel insiders, luminaries, and in-the-know locals.

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Travel + Leisure Tweet-Up Tomorrow: Dishing on Food and Travel

Adam Sachs

As travelers, we love to discover new places, new people, and especially new food! Satisfying your appetite in a new locale can make for some delectable memories, whether you're craving an epicurean feast or hoping to eat like a local. So where to eat next? We’ve assembled a top-notch panel of celebrity chefs and culinary experts to dish on their favorite restaurants, the industry’s hottest trends, and what they’re craving now.

The tweet-up will take place Wednesday, December 5, from 2–3 p.m. ET.

The Host
Adam Sachs (pictured), Travel + Leisure contributing editor (@sachsmo)

The Panel
Mario Batali, chef, TV personality, cookbook author (@Mariobatali)

Andrew Carmellini, chef and co-owner of Locanda Verde and The Dutch, NYC (@andrecarmellini)

Mitchell Davis, cookbook author, radio host, executive VP of the James Beard Foundation (@kitchensense)

Kat Kinsman, managing editor for CNN's food blog, Eatocracy (@kittenwithawhip)

Debi Mazar, actress, and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, stars of the Cooking Channel's "Extra Virgin" (@debimazar; @TheTuscanGun)

Nilou Motamed, Travel + Leisure features director and senior correspondent (@niloumotamed)

Daniel Patterson, chef, Coi, San Francisco (@dcpatterson)

Marcus Samuelsson, chef and co-owner at Red Rooster, author of Yes, Chef (@MarcusCooks)

How does it work?
1. Log in to Twitter any time from 2–3 p.m. EDT and be sure to follow the chat host: @TravlandLeisure
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to tweetchat.com/room/TL_Chat
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert food and travel advice.

Photo by Peter Jon Lindberg

Vote in the World's Best Awards!

World's Best Awards survey

Attention all travelers! It’s that time of year again…The Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards survey just launched!

Remember that stylish hotel you visited earlier this year? That amazing cruise? The idyllic spa? Well, now’s your chance to spread the word. Click here to rate your favorite hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines, airlines, travel companies, and more. What’s new? Three new survey categories: airports, hotel brands, and individual cruise ships.

And don’t forget the prizes. All respondents can enter for a chance to win a $10,000 dream trip to the destination of their choice. A-List travel agents will design the Grand Prize, along with three additional first- and second-prize vacations. Two third-prize winners will each receive $1,000.

The survey is live now, and open until 4/1/2013. The winners will be announced in T+L’s August issue.

Vote now!

TODAY Show Video: Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Here are some of our favorite specials offered by hotels, resorts and travel companies for Cyber Monday. Be sure to read the fine print before you book!

JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona

On 125 acres of Sonoran Desert, this adobe casita-style property has 453 guestrooms and suites with their own private entrances, two golf courses, six tennis courts, a 32,000 square-foot spa, three pools and seven restaurants and lounges.

The Deal: Doubles from $99/night (72 percent off regular rates) are available through December 31, 2012. To book, call (480) 948-1700 and use booking code ISPQ or ISPR, or visit Camelback online and use booking code I24. Maximum 9 rooms per person and blackout dates apply. camelbackinn.com.

Related: Best U.S. Hotels for the Holidays

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Open Letter to a Hotel Concierge

Concierge Open Letter

Dear Concierge,

Can we take a moment? Because lately our arrangement has been feeling a bit stale. Positively outdated, even. When we asked you to suggest a great local spot for dinner, we didn’t mean your hotel’s “signature fine-dining outlet” or the white-linen relic you’ve probably been recommending for a decade. We meant where you would go for a casual night out. Do you still read the local papers? Maybe start skimming the blogs, too. We even know a concierge who started his own blog!

The point is, we’re here to actually get to know your town, and you’re our advance scout. We shouldn’t have to tell you about that great new gallery downtown or the cool cocktail joint that just opened. It’s okay to have a folder of harmless standbys. But trust us: we can handle something offbeat and authentic, like that great Indonesian spot your colleague in Amsterdam sent us to.

Indeed, many of your brethren go above and beyond, like the London concierge who selected a gift at Harrod’s for our friend’s wedding, or the guy in Tokyo who mapped out a complicated train journey for us. So please, don’t just feed us the same rote script. Wouldn’t a little creativity make your job more interesting?

Respectfully,
The T+L Editors

Photo © iStockphoto

Eat Like a Local: Canada's Best Scones

scones

Together with CNN, Travel + Leisure's multi-platform series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local combines iReports from you, television spots, chef recommendations, and editor finds to spotlight the best local food finds around the world over the next few months. Here's one iReport here.

CNN PRODUCER NOTE | While on a two week motorcycle trip from her home in Maryland to and around Nova Scotia, sasstagg says she discovered Cabin Coffee, a store that she says serves delicious scones that are extra tasty. "They were taking the scones out from the oven when I walked in and they had me at first glimpse and first whiff. They were hot and fresh from the oven and loaded with fresh local berries," she says. "You can't get scones like that in Maryland, even from my local coffee shop that makes them from scratch."

- Anika3, CNN iReport producer

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Photo Courtesy Sheila James

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