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TODAY Show: Five Fun Facts About America

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

 
Did you know that the world’s tallest roller coaster is right here in the U.S.? Read on to find out which state it’s in, plus more fun facts about America.

Fun Fact #1: The world's tallest roller coaster is in New Jersey
At 45 stories, Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure in N.J., is the tallest roller coaster in the world, plummeting 456 feet and reaching speeds up to 126 mph. The highest roller coaster recently opened in Colorado at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet.
Source: The Rollercoaster Database and News.com.au

Related: See the World’s Scariest Roller Coasters

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TODAY Show: Places to Reinvent Yourself

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Travel really can transform your life, and these are a few of the trips that will make it happen.

Globe Aware Volunteer Trips

A volunteer vacation in another country can help you put your life into perspective. Globe Aware, for instance, operates trips in 15 countries, from Costa Rica to Cuba, Brazil to Vietnam. You’ll assist in rural schools, build wells, and deliver supplies to orphanages, teach English and computer lessons, or distribute fruits and vegetables to low-income families. Travelers come home and say that every aspect of their week was meaningful, and that they felt that they were able to give back to the community. Rates range from $1,140 to $1,390 per week depending on the trip. Cost covers meals, accommodation, and on-site travel (but not airfare).

Related: See the Best Life-Changing Trips

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TODAY Show: Family Travel Tips for Summer

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Traveling with kids doesn’t always feel like a vacation, but these tips for summer flights and road trips will make things easier for your family.

Plane Travel

When/What To Book: To pick the best seats for your family consult a site like SeatGuru.com. Planes will be more full this summer than before, so book your flight early—six weeks or more is a good rule of thumb—to improve your odds of getting seats together. If you use social media, follow @airfarewatchdog and @smartertravel on Twitter to learn about last-minute deals. Both carefully vet price drops and unadvertised sales. As for flying, Saturday mornings at airports are more quiet and flights can often be cheaper. Plus, the first flight out in the morning usually takes off on time.

Related: America's Best and Worst Airports

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TODAY Show Video: Father's Day Getaways on Sale

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Stumped about what to get dad for Father’s Day? Why not treat him to one of these sports- or food-themed getaways.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans
If your dad is the family chef, opt for the John Besh Package at this recently reopened hotel within walking distance of the French Quarter. The deal includes nightly accommodations, an autographed copy of Besh’s new cookbook My Family Table, a $50 gift card for Borgne, Besh’s coastal Louisiana seafood restaurant at the hotel, and breakfast buffet for two at 8 Block Kitchen & Bar. Doubles from $189.

Related: America’s Best Affordable City Hotels

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Insider's London: Black Tomato's Tom Marchant Shares His Favorite City Spots Right Now

Black Tomato's Tom Marchant

The line up for the summer in London is as exciting as it is daunting. Try and do too much and you'll be running all over town, exhausting yourself. Take it too easy and you'll be kicking yourself for missing half the action. A little careful planning will go a long way if you're planning to take part in London's many festivities this summer. We caught up with Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke travel company Black Tomato, for his rundown of secret locales, restaurants, and tips.

Q: There's a lot of discussion about the transport system and how it will cope with the millions of visitors heading your way. What's your preferred way of getting around town?
A:
London is bigger than you think so it depends on how far I'm going. I just got a new dog (Ernie), so try and walk as much as I can. When I am not with him, for short distances, I use a Boris Bike (nicknamed after Boris Johnson, our mayor) you can rent them from all over town for a pound a day. When the suns out there's no nicer way to get around. For long distances, I use taxis. My new find is HAILO, an app that lets you hail Black Cabs without even leaving your seat—useful when it's raining! 

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8 Gadgets to Keep Kids Busy While Traveling

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More than 34 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Memorial Day weekend—and most are be driving. Pack these eight gadgets to keep your kids entertained while you’re on the go. 

Travel Kiddy Kids Travel Journal: Ages 5+
Older kids can personally document their journey with this customizable journal. With pages for maps, favorite places, daily activities, and favorite events kids can create their own unique souvenir of their adventure. $10
Travelkiddy.com


> Related: America’s Best Family Hotels

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VIDEO: The Best Burger Joints in the Best Burger City

It’s true: We like it when people read (and share) our lists. We like it even more when people create entire videos about them. So we were thrilled to see this from our fans at the Providence, RI tourism board, which is eating up the news of its ranking as the best burger city in America. Now when you visit Rhode Island’s capital city, you’ll know exactly where the locals go to get their burger fix.

TODAY Show Video: Affordable Beach Vacations

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

Looking to plan a seaside getaway—with hotel rates under $200 a night? Hear Travel + Leisure's deputy editor, Laura Begley Bloom's, best tips for an affordable beach vacation right now.

TODAY Show Video: When to Book the Best Airfare

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

Travel + Leisure's features director Nilou Motamed shares her tips for the best times to book airfares.

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QVC's Lisa Robertson's Top 10 Packing Tips

201204-b-lisa-robertsonjpg
There are two kinds of travelers in the world: over-packers, those who try to stuff their entire closet into the overhead compartment on the plane, and under-packers, those who head directly to the store once they get to their destination because they don't have what they need. Not only am I a former over-packer, but I was a random over-packer, so I had a suitcase full of nonsense. Nothing ever went together so I was constantly asking myself, "Why did I pack that?"
 
I'm proud to say I've come a long way in the packing department. But it's an acquired skill and one worth spending some time on as summer approaches.
 
Here, 10 questions to ask yourself when you're trying to decide what to put in your suitcase.
 
1. What activities do you KNOW you're going to do?
The reason I was an over-packer was because I allowed my mind to go crazy with 'maybes.' Maybe I'll want to do this activity, maybe I'll want to do that activity, and pretty soon I was taking my whole closet because I wasn't focusing on what I was really going to do. So first and foremost: what activities do you KNOW you're going to do? Start there, and then you can tweak at the end as space allows.

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