Cool off with your family at one of these top affordable water parks.
Texas Schlitterbahn, on Galveston Island, Texas, opened in 1966 and calls itself the world’s first “water resort”—but don’t write it off as old fashioned. The park opens new rides almost every year, and with more than 35 water attractions, family adventures, and thrill slides, there’s something for everyone. Teenagers will love the Cliffhanger, with drops of 81 feet and speeds approaching 40 mph, while younger visitors prefer the Treasure Island kids area, a shallow pool designed to entertain the smallest Schlitterbahn guests. Tickets for the park are $46 adults, $36 kids. Stay at the nearby historic property, The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, where rates start at $139 on weekdays and $199 on weekends.
Traveling abroad? Be sure to keep your gadgets fully charged. A new mandate by the Transportation Security Administration is asking airport security to pay special attention to travelers’ electronics, following reports of terrorist threats involving explosives concealed in phone look-alikes. While Apple and Samsung phones were specifically called out on the TSA’s memo, any electronics that can hold a charge—laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.—are being screened. Those that don’t turn on will be confiscated, and their owners will be subject to further investigation.
What are the best towns, cities, or regions in America for burgers or pizza? What about sports teams, beaches, or nightlife? We're devoting this week's Twitter chat to our popular America's Favorite #TLPlaces survey. We'll be sharing some current survey standings during the chat, so be sure to retweet if you agree or vote to change the results here.
Join our America's Favorite #TLPlaces Twitter chat on Tuesday, July 8th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT.
T+L's Deputy Digital Editor, Adrien Glover, @xoadrien
Last week, Delta introduced three Boeing 757-200 aircraft to its fleet, which come complete with fully reclining flat-bad seats in the BusinessElite cabin. For now, they’ll connect JFK and Los Angeles; as of summer 2015, the seats will be on all flights between JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Arranged in a 2-2 configuration, they have an average bed length of 76 inches and feature personal 16-inch video monitors.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
A recent study by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University ranked the 30 most-walkable U.S. cities—and our nation's capital, Washington D.C. is ranked no. 1.
This challenges the results of a Travel + Leisure survey: last year, travelers ranked Portland, Oregon the friendliest city for pedestrians and public transportation in our America's Favorite Cities survey.
People are feeling good. Job numbers are up today; consumer confidence is rebounding. That means more people spending on travel. AAA Travel projects that 41 million Americans travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend. That's a 1.9 percent increase from last year. The majority are hitting the road, with more 34.8 million driving. But if you’re flying, the goods news is that you probably paid five percent less for your ticket than last year, according to AAA.
Some advice for drivers: A lot of people start heading out right about now so expect heavier traffic from about 6pm tonight through tomorrow.
According to AAA, more than 34 million Americans will hit the road this holiday weekend. If you’re still planning your getaway, watch T+L’s Sarah Spagnolo share five iconic American drives, along with some affordable hotels, on the Today Show.
We enjoy discovering great new travel brands, companies, and products—especially ones that incorporate great design and do good.
There are so many reasons to like Kammok. Initially crowd-funded, the innovative outdoor brand launched in 2010 with the “Roo,” a smart closable bedding solution to help people in malaria-stricken countries. The lightweight flexible hammock easily attaches to two trees, works in tight spaces (like camp cabins and orphanages), and is even being used in yoga studios and on city terraces. Not surprisingly, word about the high-tech, comfortable hammock spread.
When is eight months an eternity? When you’re talking about the world of digital travel. New technologies are launched and companies are born—while others go bust. Since eight months have passed since last November’s PhoCusWright Conference, I wanted to check in with some of my favorite companies from the conference’s Innovation Summit, which showcases the next generation of cutting-edge travel companies. So I rang up the companies’ brass, and here’s what I learned.
In time for Independence Day, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has opened an exhibition with a rare copy of England's Magna Carta, one of the building blocks for America's Constitution and other bills of rights.
If you haven’t made plans for the July 4 weekend and are interested in music, want a getaway to someplace with a rich history and culinary scene, the value (and bargain of the summer) is to be had in Quebec City at the Festival d’Eté de Québec (Summer Festival of Quebec), July 3-13.
There’s been an overwhelming amount of news following the Google I/O conference last week, but one of the things we’re most excited about is the search giant’s big acquisition of music service Songza. Why? Unlike Pandora or Spotify, Songza ditches the algorithm-based method of suggesting tunes that riff on your existing preferences. Instead, it learns about your circumstantial preferences—where you are, what the weather is like, and so on—to offer up beats that fit for the time and place. And if that sounds interesting for travelers, you’d be right: Songza has a music conciergethat helps you explore the world through regional music. (Ireland? Italy? Brazil? They’re all there.)
Spanish-American superstar chef José Andrés is busier than ever: his America Eats Tavern opened in June at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, Va. (we’re dying to try his chicken and dumplings, she-crab soup, and foie gras s’mores), and a highly-anticipated Chinese-Peruvian concept, China Chilcano, is in the works for D.C. We were lucky enough to snag a few minutes of his time and ask for his top eats in and around Our Nation’s Capital.
Breakfast “I usually eat breakfast at home with my daughters, but when I do go out, the Willard Hotel has a great brunch. I remember going there during Christmas for the first time for high tea. The French toast is great there, and I love the eggs benedict.
Which city has the best artisan food markets in America? That’s up for debate in our America’s Favorite Places survey right now. But my vote—at least for this summer—is with New York City, thanks to a new pop-up store debuting today at Gotham West Market. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, the cultishly beloved small-batch producer from Columbus, Ohio, will be peddling their signature sweets from the Midtown West marketplace for the next two months. If you haven’t tried Jeni’s signature ice creams yet, run there tonight (when scoops will be free!) and order the Salty Caramel or Milk Chocolate Bombay (a NYC exclusive). Take it from this Jeni’s aficionada—you’ll never want any other ice cream again.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Amtrak's notoriously slow on-board internet connection will get an upgrade, the company announced last week. In a test sometime this winter, Amtrak is hoping to double the WiFi capacity for the busy Northeast Corridor Line, which runs from Baltimore through Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and into Maine.
This follows a recent pattern of faster service announcements for travelers: British Airways also made news this month for its consideration of 4G WiFi with Inmarsat (currently, the airline doesn't offer in-flight internet service).
Accommodations around the world for free? The idea is admittedly utopian, but it’s also a reality thanks to the fast-growing website Trustedhousesitters.com, which features housesitting opportunities in 60 countries and counting. That’s right, houses—many of them dreamy amenity-filled homes—where you can stay free of charge.
Gimmicky packages and marketing campaigns are far too common in the travel business, which is why we love it when we hear about a hotel tie-in that is fresh, edgy, and captures the artistic spirit of a destination—for real.
The Hotel Palomar, in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, is partnering with Inked Magazine Creative Director Todd Weinberger and Contributing Writer Jennifer Goldstein to create a tattoo getaway package. (This is not a misprint.)
Travel + Leisure’s own Nancy Novogrod joins Morning Joe to announce the 2014 World’s Best Awards. In the results of the annual survey, readers to rate everything from hotels to cruises. Check out the complete list of winners here.
Ask around at a cocktail party, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't hooked on Bravo’s reality programming. So when I found out that my long-time pal, Marissa Hermer, was set to join the cast of Ladies of London, I nearly flipped. A Newport Beach native—but recently-crowned British citizen— Marissa and her husband, Matt Hermer, own several successful restaurants and nightclubs around the world. Among their London projects: Bumpkin, which highlights seasonal English fare at three chic locations, and Boujis, a nightlife spot that’s big with the royals. Marissa was in town the other day, and she stopped by to open up her little black book.
Tasting the world’s top-rated beer, Westvleteren XII Ale, requires a commitment. First you call to receive instructions about which morning to arrive at the gates of the monastery in western Belgium where it’s brewed. A monk will check your license plate against the reservation, process your credit card, then load two cases of the brew into your car. (Don’t drink and drive.)
Photographer Ben Watts trains his lens on Australia’s hippest beach colony.
Two hours outside Brisbane, Byron Bay is a long way to travel—its remoteness edits who comes here. The hippie-chic spirit is similar to other bohemian outposts: Bali, Ibiza, Montauk. One of my favorite things is the diverse mix of people—everyone from artists to backpackers to celebrities.
Sand between your toes, a blissed-out day by the waves... Your next island getaway is closer than you think, thanks to new routes and more frequent flights from major U.S. cities. In this short video, T+L shares the details on Antigua; Turks and Caicos; Aruba; Sanibel Island, Florida; and Kauai—with hotel recommendations to match.
Hotel-branded bikes? Been there, done that. But on New York City’s Upper East Side, The Mark Hotel is putting a new twist on the now-classic amenity. Launching in July, the hotel’s black-and-white striped pedicabs will be whisking guests to nearby attractions—Central Park, Bergford Goodman, or the Guggenheim Museum—on a complimentary basis. To add to the sweet nostalgia factor, guests can also request a seasonal picnic basket to be brought on board, courtesy of Jean-Georges’ on-site restaurant—perfect for a throwback-style afternoon on the Great Lawn.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
From favorite rides to how to achieve Disney for adults, get tips on making the most out of those magical moments in our Disney Twitter chat on Tuesday, July 1st from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join along and ask the experts for their advice!
Travel + Leisure has long celebrated hotels as the go-to choice for travel accommodations, and in recent years we've covered the explosion of the vacation rental market, from villas to Airbandb.com. Time shares were not often part of the conversation. Their merits as a good investment were questionable—limitations on use and impossible to resell. Enter Vacatia.com. With a special focus on the family market, this online marketplace for timeshares is changing things for the better. We caught up with Keith Cox, Vacatia.com's CEO:
Q: How is Vacatia.com disrupting travel? A: Vacatia is creating a new online sales and marketing channel for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry, a $10B a year market segment of travel that is still selling almost exclusively offline using the same sales strategies that have been used for decades. In particular, with the recent launch of Vacatia.com, we are bringing transparency and liquidity to the secondary, resale market serving the 8.2MM American families who own timeshare.
One happy park ranger will commemorate today’s 150th anniversary of Yosemite by plunging a shovel into the road running through the park’s Mariposa Grove. The act signals the start of a $24 million project that will remove parking lots, roads, and a gift shop to restore the ancient grove of giant sequoias to its natural state.
If you can’t make it to Pamplona this year, consider a stateside alternative to the annual encierro.
Hampton, Virginia celebrates San Fermin with a Rolling of the Bulls. Participants race through the streets, chased by horn-wearing, baseball bat-wielding roller derby girls. Complete with Tomatina-inspired water balloon fight, the playful event takes place July 12 in downtown Hampton.
This year, Swiss Tourism is celebrating the Alpine nation's incredible views, and a new video does just that. "Switzerland From Above," filmed by renowned French journalist Yann Arthus, takes viewers on an aerial tour of some of the country's most scenic vistas.
The Rheinfalls, high mountain peaks, and bucolic farm scenes (Swiss cows!) all appear in the film, which is set to a transfixing score by Armand Amar.
So take a moment—well, 20 minutes actually—to experience Switzerland from above.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.