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Top Discount Food Apps

discount food apps

Five-course dinners at top restaurants around the country no longer have to be such a costly part of your trip, thanks to an influx of restaurant deals found both online and via mobile apps. The BlackboardEats site offers discounts—such as 30 percent off dinner at Los Angeles’s Mo-Chica or New York’s Matsuri—to anyone who signs up. All you have to do is present the discount code at the restaurant at any time. Every venue is handpicked by a staff of professional restaurant reviewers (many from the now-defunct print version of Gourmet). Sometimes the deals involve mystery dishes that are only available to members, making it more of a food enthusiasts’ club than a coupon service.

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New Dutch Coins Include Digital Codes

coins with qr codes

The Dutch government yesterday began circulating a commemorative coin that features a scannable QR code on one side and a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix on the other.  Scanning the QR code, one of those black-and-white squares that resemble Space Invaders, brings you to the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for a helter-skelter video tour of the building.  The coins, available in silver-tone €5 and gold-tone €10 denominations, were minted in a limited run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Mint building.

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Sing Your Way to a Free Hotel Upgrade

Remember that scene in Heartbreakers, when Sigourney Weaver’s con artist character staged a dramatic fall for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character in the marble-decked lobby of an über fancy hotel, all for the sake of getting a sweet suite at the hotel, free of charge? Funny as that was, there are other—and much more legal—ways to get a free upgrade at a hotel. There are hotel reward programs. Or, for those who like to have a little fun, just sing a song!

Seriously.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: T+L 500 Hotels for Less!

201106-b-esperanzajpgThere’s nothing better than a guaranteed stellar hotel stay, which is why, every year, we spotlight the top 500 hotels as voted by our savvy readers—so that you can rest assured that your next trip will be top-notch. And this week, you can stay at three of these winning hotels for less, thanks to deals on Vacationist.

In search of a mountain retreat in Vail? Try Sonnenalp Resort, a Bavarian style lodge with a unique sensibility. Looking for a sexy beach getaway? There’s Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, in Los Cabos, with views that overlook a private cove. Or toast your deal-finding luck in Dublin, where you’ll stay at the historic Shelbourne for 30 percent less.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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Boston Residents vs. Tourists On Segways

BOSTON (CBS) |  There’s a battle rolling onto Boston’s sidewalks pitting pedestrians against tourists on futuristic wheels.

Residents in the North End have been complaining about an onslaught of Segway riders invading their neighborhood.

“They’re a pain in the butt, especially on like Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” said John Gargano. “It creates a nuisance. It creates a hazard.” That’s why the Boston City Council members voted unanimously to ban Segways from city sidewalks.

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Jonathan Adler's Travel-Inspired Pillows

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Cute alert: I usually pass interior designer Jonathan Adler's West Village [NYC] boutique on my way home from work, and recently noticed a window display spotlighting the interior designer's a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e new line of travel-inspired needlepoint throw pillows ($98). What can I say, they just make me happy. And apparently Adler, too: "Travel inspires me. These pillows are homages to my favorite Jet-Set locales. Looking at them is like a mini-vacation!" See for yourself:


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What’s Your Travel Score?

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Ladies and gentleman, pack your suitcases. Travel is now officially competitive—and that’s a good thing. This week marks the launch of Traxo Travel Score, a new feature from mileage and travel points tracker (and all-around travel organizer) Traxo.com that uses a specialized algorithm to calculate all of your trip information and generate a unique number to crow about.

What does this mean, really? Well, for one, the scene in Up in the Air where George Clooney and Vera Farmiga’s characters one-up each other with who has the most air miles, best hotel benefits, and fattest wallet stuffed with upgrade cards would have been a lot shorter. With TTS, a single number says it all.

But here’s where TTS gets interesting: depending on your score, top travel companies will offer you special perks. The higher your score, the more upgrades, freebies, and extras you’ll rack up from companies like Avis, Briggs & Riley, Virgin America, and South African Airways. Hello, two roundtrip tickets to Cape Town?!

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Destination Durham: American Dance Festival

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Dancers have descended on Durham, NC for this summer’s American Dance Festival—a multi-venue six-week event that brings master-classes and modern dance troupes from across the globe.

The festival runs from June 9th through July 23rd and features thirteen dance companies including Bill T Jones, Pilobolus, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

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Cruise Your Way to Weight Loss?

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Somewhere off the Cote d’Azur, on a pre-inaugural cruise of the stylish 450-passenger Seabourn Quest, I indulged duo course of seabass with citrus fondue and barbeque glazed lamb shank with seared foie gras. So it was particularly weird to hear talk of people coming on Yachts of Seabourn ships and losing weight.

But an enthusiastic fitness trainer in the Quest’s fancy and sizeable two-deck spa swears that’s what happened with passengers on a recent three-month world cruise on year-old sister ship Seabourn Sojourn.

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Chatting Up T+L Features Director at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

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T+L Features Director and Food Editor, Nilou Motamed, talks (with GenConnect) about the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and the upcoming Travel + Leisure Global Bazaar (Sept. 16–18, NYC).

Social Website Connects Travelers Using Facebook

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A new travel website is turning friends into travel agents, coworkers into guidebooks, and families into concierges. Gtrot.com (short for globetrotters) recently stepped out of its beta phase and is now a full-blown social travel site with various tools designed to personalize trips at home and abroad. The brainchild of Harvard-grad Zachary Smith and co-founder Brittany Laughlin, Gtrot registers past, present, and future trips through Facebook with the vision of friends swapping secrets and gems from around the world.

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New Hot Spots in Champagne, France

Le Parc

There’s much more to Champagne, France, than sparkling wine. Just an hour-long TGV ride from Paris, the region is now bubbling over with new spots to sip, eat, and stay.

An 18th-century mansion turned 12-room eco-retreat, the charming Hôtel Jean Moët opened last summer in the heart of Épernay, just off Avenue de Champagne. Its lovely wrought-iron-and-glass atrium doubles as a tea salon that serves (yes) champagne cocktails. 7 Rue Jean Moët; 33-3/26-32-19-22; doubles from $169.

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Oink! The Ultimate Summer Bacon Festival

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Just how popular is bacon? Google the word and you’ll get 144 million results (and how many of those are really about Francis Bacon?). There’s practically a tweet every minute under #bacon. There’s bacon ice cream, bacon cocktails, and, of course, burgers piled high with bacon in cities across the U.S. What gives?

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Who cares! This salty meat treat has become a dietary staple—it’s practically an honorary member of the food pyramid (or plate, or whatever it is now). So go join a grease feast: the Des Moines-based Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is taking its show on the road, to Keystone, Colorado for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour from June 24-26. It’ll be an all-bacon, all-the-time weekend, with bacon tastings, bacon lectures (?!), and bands made up, one would assume, of non-vegetarians.

We’d go if we were closer—it’s only $30 for stuff-yourself-silly (i.e. unlimited) bacon tastings—but we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with New York–style bacon: with an egg, on a roll. And, hey, that’s not so bad.

Photos courtesy of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour

Guess Where? Mural

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This mural can be found in the lobby of a famous building with a famous address. Is that too many hints? I hope not. Can you guess where this is?

Log in and leave your guesses below and check back here on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 6/20/11: LetsGo_Mark got it right! This beautiful Art Deco mural is in 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The building's official name is the GE Building, but most people know it as "30 Rock" from Tina Fey's popular TV show.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Adrien Glover

Following the Royals Through North America

BBC Travel - Passport Blog |  At the end of this month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will embark on their first royal tour of North America.

The 11-day trip will begin in Canada’s National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario, Gatineau and Quebec) and continue into Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Alberta and then to the west coast of the United States. The exact itinerary for the American portion of their tour has yet to be released.

A source from St James’s Palace told People Magazine that the couple views this as a “working” trip. If you decide to trace their path, though, your royal trip can focus more on stylish luxury than “work”....

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Earthquake Media: Japan's Hand-Written Newspapers in D.C.

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The latest addition to the Washington D.C.-based Newseum’s permanent collection is far from newfangled or tech-savvy. In fact, it’s a rotating display of seven original hand-written newspapers, scribed by a resilient cluster of staffers at a daily in the earthquake and tsunami ravaged city of Ishinomaki, Japan. Armed with flashlights, editors at the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun fueled their community’s need for up-to-date information by relying on the powers of felt-tip pens and poster paper, displaying their creations at relief centers and convenience stores throughout the city.

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20% Off Travel Photography at 20x200

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Still looking for that perfect Father's Day present for your travel-loving dad? Fear not. Affordable online art gallery 20x200, which has a wonderful collection of travel prints, just kicked off their semi-annual sale this afternoon. Nab an extra 20% off of orders of $50 or more by entering the code RIDONK at checkout. $20 prints are now just $16, $50 now $40, and so on! The sale goes from now until Monday.

They’ve already curated a great gift guide for dads so you don’t have to dig through their entire archives. They also have gift guides for grads and newlyweds.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Tod Seelie/20x200.com

Contest Watch: Fiji, French Riviera + More

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This month’s Contest Watch celebrates the senses. From the romance-inspired Bachelorette giveaway to a quick jaunt to the French Riviera, there are prizes for the eyes, mouth, and soul. Celebrate good health with the luxurious Casa del Mar’s “Live Well Again” program promoting fresh food—and luxurious spa relaxation. Take in Austin’s quintessential sights and sounds in a Facebook scavenger hunt to win a Four Season’s getaway for two to any of the chain’s properties in the U.S. Lastly, share your culinary talents with shrimp and you could be off to a seafood-fueled vacation for six in Georgia. Read on for the delicious details.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Urban Escapes in New York, Rome, and Venice

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Whether you prefer the fast-paced streets of Manhattan, the ancient ruins of Rome, or the romantic gondolas of Venice, we’ve got your next vacation covered—all for more than 30 percent off standard rates. And don’t forget that all Vacationist reviews include tips, a room to book, and destination information from T+L insiders, so you can explore the world’s most exciting cities like a true insider.

PLUS This month we’re also offering special two-day sales at over 100 Preferred Hotels thanks to the Check-in For Japan program, and all proceeds will be donated Japan relief. So no matter what you’re looking for, we have an experience for you.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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Video Q+A: Dhani Jones Talks Travel, Sports, and His New Book

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Fact: We live in an era marked by overachievers. Witness the declining average age of American Idol contestants; the proliferation of cats who play the piano; and football star Dhani Jones.

After 11 seasons as one of the NFL’s most indomitable bruisers, the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker has made a name for himself off the field as a thrill-seeking citizen of the world. Jones is an entrepreneur with his own charitable bow-tie company; an environmental advocate; a photographer, poet, and musician; and the host of Travel Channel’s “Dhani Tackles the Globe,” in which he competes in the native sport of a foreign country—everything from dragon boat racing in Singapore to capoeira in Brazil—and uses his interaction with trainers and teammates as a way into the culture. Now he can add author to that list.

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Should You Pay for Wi-Fi? Airports Explore Tiered Service

USA Today |  For years, one of the top if not the top amenity on many road warriors' wish lists has been free Wi-Fi at the airport. Slowly but surely, it's happening.

Take a look at the USATODAY.com Airport Guides, airport websites, and various commercial and user-generated Wi-Fi directories. You'll see there are now hundreds of U.S. airports offering travelers complimentary wireless Internet access.

San Francisco? Free. Orlando? Free. Seattle, St. Louis and San Jose? Free, free, free. Washington's Dulles and National airports? As of April, 2011, free as well.

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The Airplane of the Future Will Melt Your Mind

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I have seen the future of air travel, and it will be (to use scientific jargon) freakin' awesome. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus today released its report on what air travel may be like in 2050. And all I can say is hold on to your hat, Cap'n Sully, because it is going to be one way cool ride.

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Tweeting My Way Through San Francisco


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Whenever I head out of town, I turn to my small but trusty band of Twitter followers for recommendations in my destination, but I really discovered the power of social media during my visit to San Francisco last month. As has become the norm for me now before any of my trips, in the days leading up to my departure I hashtagged away to glory and beseeched strangers and friends alike for tips.

Soon an itinerary was taking shape (many thanks, @PaperDaydream, @JasleenK, @streetno8, @BeautyNDFeast, @LettuceVeg, and @chiratsu!), incorporating classic landmarks like Lombard Street with restaurants and neighborhoods I never would have found in my guidebook.

 One place that kept making its way onto my Twitter timeline was a sandwich shop called Ike’s Place (3489 16th St.) on the fringes of the colorful, mural-bedecked Mission District. It generated so much buzz in response to my queries that the first thing I did was plug the address into my GPS to make it my starting point.

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TODAY Show: Quick Weekend Getaways

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

New Website Helps Travelers Pick the Best Hotel Room

Brad Gerstner

Who He Is: As founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in travel-themed tech companies, Brad Gerstner spends a lot of time on the road as both a business and a leisure traveler. As a result, he knows how to spot a good hotel room (“on a high floor and away from the elevator”)—a skill he leveraged when creating his latest company.

His Big Idea: The website room77.com promises to help travelers pick the perfect hotel room. (Sort of like what SeatGuru did for airline seats.) The site offers floor plans, pictures, user reviews, and window views for rooms in 2,500 three-star-plus hotels (and counting). A new iPhone app provides the same service for free, on the go. So now guests can book a room and not worry about that blocked ocean view the hotel’s website neglected to mention.

Photo courtesy of Brad Gerstner

Editor Find: Fabulous Flats in Florence

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I don't know about you, but I'm forever on the hunt for that quintessential thing that you can only find locally—like the conch shells from the beaches of Turks and Caicos or Ladurée macaroons (before the French company decided to sell out and populate the earth). It's that thing you would ask a friend to pick up if you knew they were going. Rare as it is with the internet at our fingertips, it's still fun to make discoveries when we travel.

While in Florence on a T+L Sept cover shoot, I noted a great pair of navy suede ballet flats on an effortlessly chic Italian colleague. Always on the hunt for great travel flats, I became obsessed when she told me how much she paid and had to make a mad dash to the shop before I got on the plane the next morning.

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America Voted "Funniest Nation," Germany "Least Funny"

eTurbo News |  The Americans have been voted the world's "funniest nationality" - the one "best at making people laugh" - in a global poll, which also names the Germans the "least funny" nationality and the British "not as funny as they think."

30,000 people across 15 countries were asked to name both the "funniest" and "least funny" nationality in a poll conducted by Badoo.com, the world's largest social network for meeting new people, with 119m users worldwide.

The Americans were voted the funniest nationality, ahead of the Spanish - the funniest Europeans - in second, Italians in third and British in seventh.

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Two Road Shows: New Films Worth Watching

In between blockbusters at the drive-in this summer, catch up with
these two insightful journey documentaries.
Airing on mun2 and iTunes digital download, Harlistas: An American Journey profiles Latino Harley Davidson motorcyclists as they take their hogs to the highway.

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Buy Dad an Airline Beverage Cart on eBay

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Ever wonder what happens to the bits and bobs of airplanes after they’re decommissioned?  You can find them on eBay.

Universal Asset Management buys retired planes and strips them to recycle their components.  The company runs an eBay storefront where you can shop for all your engine aft thrust fitting needs—from an entire A320 lavatory (!) to cockpit seats, galley carts, overhead bins, first aid kits, a row of luridly colored 747 seats, to more technical items like circuit panels, wheels, assembly valves, tail cones, and oil gauges.  The products that make the eBay store are not longer flight-worthy, of course, except for flights of fancy.  Those overhead bins would look cool mounted over a airplane-crazy child's bed...

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Universal Asset Management.

Guess Where? Yellow Buddha

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This vibrant building, decorated in small sculptures of the Buddha, is part of an imperial garden complex that re-opened as a public park in 1924. Do you know where this is?

Log in and leave your guesses below and check back here on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 6/17/11: Sorry for the delay! Again, no guesses this time. Remember, leave your answers here if you're coming from Facebook. This ornate building is in the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

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