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Gift for Traveling Wine Lovers

inflatable wine carrier

Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine.  He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane.  Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.

I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world.   The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.

Vinnibag is available for $28 from local retailers, Vinnibag.com, or on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Ellessco.

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

New Taxi App Rolling Out in Major European Cities

20107-b-moscowjpgSeventy-nine billionaires now live in Moscow—more than in any other city—and it’s easy to see how they get around. Mercedes, Bentley, Maserati, and other luxury brands clog the roads. As for the millions of other Muscovites, they can flag down any enterprising driver for a ride. Locals make extra rubles by offering impromptu cab services at rates negotiated on the spot. And then there are the vans known as matrushkas that swerve through traffic, picking up passengers and dropping them at requested stops.

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Alaska Travel: There's an App for That

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Our friends at MSNBC Travel are reporting that Denali National Park is maxing out on visitors. We knew Alaska was a popular summertime destination, but it seems travelers are turning its most famous (and accessible) park into the next Yellowstone. So with all the people exploring the 49th state, we thought we’d give you the heads up on a great app we found to research your trip and use while you’re there.

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We Want Your Job, Diego Felix, Nomad Chef

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Is ordering delivery to the office your idea of going locavore? Do your culinary travels consist of drive-thru windows after a long day of work?  If yes, then we invite you to put down the plastic fork and check out this different kind of job: meet Diego Felix, nomad chef.

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Guess Where? Waterfront

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Can you guess where this beautiful waterfront is? Hint: The city it's in is known for its fabulous architecture both ancient and modern. Can you guess where?

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

UPDATE 8/15/11: T+L Community Member tzumpi was right, this is Alexandria, Egypt 100%! Check back on Friday for the next Guess Where photo.

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

Photo by Adrien Glover

Scavenger Hunt Launched at Florida’s South Seas Island Resort

family on the beachScavenger hunts built around a destination’s unique characteristics are quickly becoming my favorite trend in family travel.  Engaging a kid in something beyond the hotel swimming pool is a sneaky way to keep them learning while on vacation and to cultivate passionate travelers and fun travel companions.

Sarah Khan reported this month about Colonial Williamsburg’s current patriot/spy game that has young visitors in blue neckerchiefs burning up the cobblestones.  Now there’s a new way to play at a family destination.

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Statue of Liberty Closes This Fall for One-Year Revamp

201108-b-statueofliberty-andiediemer-2jpgUSA TodayNew York City's Lady Liberty is celebrating her 125th birthday on Oct. 28 with a day of music, special tours and programs—followed by a year-long makeover.

The National Park Service announced this week that the $27.25 million renovation project, limited to the monument itself, will make the interior safer and more accessible by adding stairways and upgrading existing facilities.

Liberty Island will remain open and the 22-story statue—built in the 1880s and a gift from France—will be mostly unobstructed from view. (Photo credit: Andie Diemer)

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English Country Hotels On Our Radar

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Longford Fivehead - 

Dewsall (above)
The always spot-on tasteful Lulu Townsend of Chic Retreats has just added a lovely—and rather unorthodox—new property to her portfolio. Dewsall is a gorgeous listed and restored Regency house in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border, which can be rented in its entirety—when, that is, it’s not in its other guise, that of a chic little pop-up hotel a few weeks a year. The house is perfectly, ravishingly restored, with huge ensuite bedrooms, entertainment rooms (with all the mod cons) and a kitchen to make regular World of Interiors readers sigh with longing. A bonus: their Great British Safari—whereby guests hike into the Black Mountains, take kayaks or canoes from Glasbury to Hay, or go pheasant shooting—complete with luxury tents and gourmet meals.

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Editor Find: North Fork Fish Market

201107-b-southhold-1jpgThe North Fork of Long Island has been my family’s beach spot for over 30 years. Still, the suddenly chic spit of land 100 miles east of New York City still has a few surprises. The Southold Fish Market is very much a family shop slinging fresh scallops, flounder, and clams. But if you want some really local shellfish, don’t even bother driving home to cook your catch. This seafood shop has a take-out menu (and dockside seating) to die for.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: America’s Great Outdoors

201108-b-rustyparrot-3jpgThe final weeks are summer are best spent outside—particularly in the backyards of some of T+L favorite hotels, from the Wyoming’s Rusty Parrot Lodge, in Jackson Hole, to Hotel Madeline Telluride, a resort we love for its high-altitude massages and it’s easy access to hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails—all more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Is preppy New England more your style? Consider a stay at Boston’s XV Beacon, ranked No. 3 Small City Hotel in this year’s World’s Best Awards, where you can unwind before exploring the rugged landscape of Boston’s North Shore. [Click here for a new late summer cyling tour!]

Head to Vacationist now, for these hotel deals, plus Belize, Madrid, London and more.

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Destination Radio: Emirates Airline Launches a (Cool) New App

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With the invention of the iPod and the digitalization of music, listening to the radio seems to be almost prehistoric. Whenever I start a sentence with the phrase, “I heard on the radio today…” my friends are at first confused, then immediately flabbergasted that I would partake in such a seemingly unhip activity (I guess it’s my nostalgic nature, or the fact that I’m too lazy to play DJ all the time).

But radio has been making a comeback, especially when Pandora Radio was launched in 2005, introducing the masses to the digital (i.e. cool) version of its dashboard predecessor. And now, with the iPhone spurring on the creation of a plethora of apps, radio is back.

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Radiation-Free Full-Body Scanners

BBC Travel's Passport Blog |  As controversy simmers surrounding the levels of radiation used in full body scanners, a small company based in the United Kingdom has developed a machine that emits no radiation at all.

Last year, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began installing two types of full body scanners at airport security checkpoints across the country. L3’s Provision millimetre wave scanners beam radio waves through clothing to detect potentially dangerous objects hidden by terrorists. Rapiscan backscatter scanners use low-dose x-rays to do the same.

While both companies and the TSA say the radiation emitted by these machines is at safe levels, the scientific community has not reached a strong consensus either way....

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Just Back: Summer Action in Minneapolis

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Am I really the last person to "discover" Minneapolis? Until recently, I probably knew more about the religious capital of Kandy, in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, than I knew about Minneapolis. Turns out that this bike-friendly metropolis has a lot to offer visitors beyond Grain Belt Beer, long winters, and Mary Tyler Moore reruns. Here are just a few of the activities I tried during my recent visit.

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Montreal Musician Shows and Tells

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Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to know a city’s best-kept secrets is to talk to its artists. I recently connected with one of Montreal’s rising stars—award-winning filmmaker and musician Daniel Isaiah, who's signed, appropriately, with music label Secret City Records.

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Off the Grid in Malibu

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A “no-options” regimen at The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, a boot camp for building physical strength, endurance and discipline—this was my summer vacation of choice.

Requirements:

- 8-10 hours of hiking, weights, yoga and other exercise daily in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountain range
- massage (of course!)
- a daily intake of 1200-1500 calories (no dairy, no sugar, no carbohydrates, no caffeine, no alcohol)
- living BlackBerry/smartphone-free

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Rogue 24: A New 24-Course Tasting Menu in D.C.

Last month saw the opening of Rogue 24, a new restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Cooper, in Washington D.C. Chef Cooper, previously the chef de cuisine at D.C.’s acclaimed Vidalia, was inspired to create his own restaurant concept after “going rogue” at his former post—creating a new, 24-course tasting menu for Vidalia diners.
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Airlines Roll Back Fare Hike as FAA Taxes are Reinstated

USA Today |  Airlines are rolling back the fare hikes they added following the partial shutdown of the Federal Administration on July 22. The move comes as previously suspended federal taxes are again being applied to airline tickets.

Since July 22, the FAA shutdown prompted some federal taxes to be removed from the cost of airline tickets. However, most major U.S. airlines opted to raise fares instead of passing that "tax holiday" on to consumers.

But, with the FAA impasses resolved—at least for now—the taxes are again being applied to tickets.

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Jules Reid’s Summer Shirt

Jules Reid shirt

Our freshest summer find: this hand-embroidered cotton-and-silk voile top by Virginia-based designer Jules Reid ($295). With its vibrant kiwi print, it works at the beach or out on the town.

Photo by Lars Klove

Last Minute Travel: Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival

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You probably mapped out your Labor Day weekend months ago. Wait. What? You're still looking for something to do? If you're down for a little last-minute travel, I highly recommend going to the second annual Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival in Piscadera Bay from September 2-3. With headliners like Sting, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Bradford Marsalis Quartet, it should be an amazing weekend on this beautiful island. (Located well outside of the hurricane belt, might I add?) Tickets are $185 and are still available at www.curacaonorthseajazz.com.

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TODAY Show: Best Travel Apps + Websites

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

Features Director Nilou Motamed dishes on the best travel apps and websites right now. Check out Travel + Leisure's top must-know resources for the connected traveler.

Contest Watch: Win a $6000 Trip to Tahiti!

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Quick! Make use of your lunch break today by answering four "Mutiny on the Bounty" trivia questions on the Air Tahiti Nui Facebook page. The first round of questions must be completed by Tuesday, August 9th. Then check back to finish the remaining questions by August 23rd to enter the drawing for a six-night escape for two to Tahiti.

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Shops from a Can: DeKalb Market Opens in Brooklyn

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What do you do with a stack of pre-Credit Crisis megaloplex plans and a 1.5 million square foot, post-Crisis cement hole?  Why, make lemonade, of course!

Since 2008, not-Ft. Greene-not-DUMBO (NoFUMBO?) has awaited 60 stories of neo-ultra-Wow where Brooklyn’s Albee Square Mall once stood.  We’ve scanned the Brownstoner and wondered, watching that blue plywood fence sway in the wind.  Till now.

Now, from Manhattan Bridge to DeKalb, Flatbush Ave. is transformed.  Kiosks direct tourists and Manhattanites. That blue fence?  Gone.

Instead, broad steps descend past produce beds to a canopied dining area.  Shipping containers become boutiques, concessions, a radio station...

Downtown Brooklyn, meet DeKalb Market.  DeKalb Market, DoBro (as promoters say).  Lemonade, anyone?

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Air Travel Tax Refund Procedure Still Fuzzy

CNN |  If you're traveling by air this month, there's a good chance the government owes you money.

Don't believe me? You can thank Congress and its inability to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. Here's how you can get your money back, though be prepared to wait a little while for things to settle.

Congress periodically has to renew the authorization of the FAA to do a variety of things, and one of those things is collecting taxes on air travel. As with everything in Washington, the left and the right all try to sneak in politically charged riders that prevent the FAA reauthorization from moving forward to fund important projects such as the NextGen air traffic control overhaul.

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Guess Where? Hotel Lobby

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This week, we sent one of our writers to explore NYC and we asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to tell her where to go. Can you guess where she is in this photo? She writes, "Daylight flickers in the lobby. . . filtered not just through a skylight but through the second floor swimming pool. Funny to look up and see the undersides of feet paddling around." What do you think?

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

UPDATE 8/08/11: Congrats to denise.lao and kittiekatkixazz! You both were right. This is the lobby of the Dream Downtown on the edge of New York's Meatpacking District.

To join the conversation follow us @TravlandLeisure and www.facebook.com/travelandleisure.

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

Yosemite to Cut Down Trees to Preserve Views

 

Yosemite falls

This fall, after many of the 3.7 million annual tourists have packed their cameras and left Yosemite National Park, the National Parks Service will begin culling young trees to open up views of the iconic granite faces and dramatic waterfalls that ring the valley.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: California, Belize, Zihuatanejo

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No matter what you love to do when you travel—golf, dive, or hike—Vacationist presents a hotel that suits your style. From a nine-hole par 3 course on the California coast; to access to the Blue Hole off the shores of Belize; even an earthy escape in Zihuatanejo, where a private eco-reserve is the spot for wildlife viewing, there are plenty of places where you can unwind the way you want to—all for up to 60 percent off standard rates.

Still not a member? Click here to book.

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TODAY Show: Cruise Deals (Mediterranean from $71 a night, more!)

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

Features Director Nilou Motamed reveals Travel + Leisure's top picks for the very best fall and shoulder season cruise bargains. Find out how to set sail and save!

6 Fab Fashion Items Designed for Select Hotels

caftan, bag, sandals
These six vibrant pieces were specially designed for select hotels around the world.

A limited-edition silk-georgette caftan ($1,650) from Samba Soleil by Tina Bossidy is perfect for a sunset stroll around the Cove Atlantis, in the Bahamas.

These braided leather sandals ($315) by Maloles for One&Only Resorts can go from day to night.

The screen-printed cotton-canvas Virginia Johnson tote ($98) from the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico, works for shopping or beach-going.

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Adventure Photo Contest Voting Open!

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The Adventure photo contest is now closed! With over 650 submissions, T+L Editors narrowed it down to Top 10 semi-finalists. Now it's your turn to you to vote for the winner! Click here to vote for the one you think deserves to win.

You have until August 31, 2011 to vote, so vote now and vote often! The winner will receive Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 7S Instant Film Camera and publication in Travel + Leisure.

If you missed the submission period for this contest, there's still time to enter your photos in other categories, including Road Trips, Animals, and Food.


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

Saudi Arabia Plans World’s Tallest Tower

Financial Times Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, has announced that an associate company will partner with the country’s Bin Laden Group to build a tower near Jeddah that would replace Dubai’s 828m Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building. …

The 1km-tall building will include a Four Seasons hotel and apartments, luxury condominiums and offices. The tower is the first phase of the 5.3m square metre Kingdom City development to be built north of the Red Sea city of Jeddah, according to a statement on the Saudi bourse, Tadawul.

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