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5 Great Learning Vacations

 

Trade in those sandals for a spacesuit on your next vacation. T+L Senior Editor, Jacqui Gifford, shares five of her favorite learning vacations, from astronaut training at the Adult Space Academy in Huntsville, AL to falconry at Ireland’s Ashford Castle.

 

Must-Reads for the Week Ending September 20, 2013

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The Telegraph's Soo Kim reports on plans to open a Jackie Chan theme park in Beijing. The best news? Admission is expected to be free. (Peter Schlesinger)

Skift takes a look at budget airline Ryanair's first foray into social media. Famously brash, the company is now tweeting with attitude. (P.S.)

I'm a sucker for commercials with nice music. This new Carnival Cruise Lines ad (the company's first TV spot since the Triumph debacle last spring) fits the bill. Showcasing Instagram photos from passengers, it is an upbeat step forward for the beleaguered cruise line. The New York Times reports. (P.S.)

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Fall Foliage Getaways

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

Whether you’re looking to take a trip Southern California, the Midwest, or New England, we’ve got the perfect fall foliage getaway for you.

Michigan’s Gold Coast

Stay: Chateau Chantal, Traverse City

Michigan’s northeastern shores have charming coves, towering sand dunes, tiny fishing towns, orchards, and vineyards. Peak season for this area is typically early-mid October, but you can sign up for weekly fall color report on michigan.org. Drive along Grand Traverse Bay where you’ll find fiery-hued maples and oak leaves that stand out against green pine, fir, and spruce trees. The 11-room Chateau Chantal inn and vineyard sits on a 65-acre estate on Old Mission Peninsula. Not only do they serve amazing breakfasts, but they also have their own own tasting room and winery where they produce Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other varietals. Doubles from $190/night.

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The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending September 6, 2013

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Thanks to the growing air travel demand in China, Boeing expects to see 5,580 new commercial aircrafts during the next 20 years, via Circa. (Adrien Glover)

While Jamaica, Oahu, and many cruise lines are banning smoking of all kinds, Mexico City is considering legalizing marijuana to create cannabis clubs, according to the Huffington Post. (A.G.)

A new twist in Edward Snowden's NSA leaks? Evidence that the organization tapped into at least three foreign airlines' reservations systems—leading Skift's Rafat Ali to speculate that their data dive may have touched everything from OTA records to domestic booking data and beyond. (Nikki Ekstein)

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TODAY Show Video: Affordable Getaways for Fall

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

Whether you’re looking to take a trip to a national park, a scenic drive, or to visit an island in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve got the perfect affordable fall getaways.

Northeast Wine Retreat: Long Island, NY

Stay: Greenporter Hotel

The Greenporter Hotel is in the heart of the North Fork's wine country, in historic Greenport, Long Island two hours from Manhattan by car. With floors of bright maple and sleek aluminum furnishings, the 30 rooms are all about cool minimalism and convey the feel of a comfortable beach house. The restaurant Cuvee Seafood & Grille highlights seasonal produce, seafood, game, and wine from vineyards and local purveyors. Sip rosé at Croteaux Vineyards in the shaded garden, visit McCall Wines, Long Island’s largest vineyard for Pinot Noir, or stroll around Paumanok Vineyards, known for its crisp, fruity Chenin Blanc. Fall rates start at $149 on weekdays and $239 on weekends.

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Last-Minute Labor Day Travel Advice

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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.”

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Confessions of a Nature Guide

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A Montana-based backcountry tour leader spills the dirt.

“In Yellowstone, I was asked: ‘Where do they keep the animals at night?’” And in the Grand Tetons: “‘What is that white stuff up there?’ Um, snow.”

People think we’re babysitters. One couple asked me if their child could sleep in the group van, so they could have some privacy!”

“There’s always a braggart. If we’re looking at a bear, someone will inevitably say, ‘I once saw an elephant in Africa.’ Sigh.”

Photo by © JLImages / Alamy

The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending August 23, 2013

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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)

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Must-Reads for the Week Ending August 16, 2013

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Pandas are ALWAYS news. Here, Circa News reports on the birth of a rare giant panda in Vienna's Schönbrunn Zoo. (Adrien Glover)

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)

Want to visit Sicily but can't foot the bill yet? Beverage company San Pelligrino let Facebook users this week control robots for three-minute virtual tours. But hurry, the experiences ends on Saturday!  (P.S.)

Scott Mayerwitz from the Associated Press shares his view on the American-US Airways merger, finding that Department of Justice's suit is too little too late for consumers. (Amy Farley)


Photo credit: iStockphoto

The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending August 9, 2013

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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.)

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