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Malaysia Airlines Flight Shot Down in Ukraine

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Breaking, horrifying news coming out of Europe today: a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 came down earlier today en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur while flying through Ukrainian airspace. U.S. intelligence officials, according to the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets, are saying that the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members; three of the passengers were infants. There are no survivors.

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Social Media 101: How To Take Cooler Instagram Photos

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For the third year, Travel + Leisure's Social Media in Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) awards is recognizng the brands and companies transforming the industry with their online innovations (think digital concierges and exclusive social giveaways).

To help you leverage the digital boom on your next trip and cash in on the latest social currency, we tapped four platform experts for their outreach strategies and insider tips.  

This week, viral Instagrammer and photo app developer Cole Rise shares his tricks for creating epic travel photos with serious regram potential. 

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A New Take on the Travel Uniform from Kaufmann Mercantile

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Fashion equals function for Sebastian Kaufmann, purveyor of utilitarian chic.

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Six New Phone Accessories to Up Your Instagram Game

Upgrade Your Phone

With a couple of key accessories (shown here with the iPhone 5S), you can turn your camera into a bona fide powerhouse.

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Kimpton Introduces Progressive New Karma Rewards

Just as airline loyalty programs are making it harder to cash in on rewards, hotels are upping the ante, letting guests earn points for tweets and social media interactions—not just night stays. The latest to join the nascent trend is Kimpton, who today announces a new loyalty program to replace InTouch. The name, Karma, says it all—the more love you give Kimpton, the more love comes back to you. Here’s how it works:

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#TLSMITTY Video: T+L’s Social Media Awards Party

SMITTY video from Cubavera on Vimeo.

What’s better than a Twitter chat? Actually talking, face-to-face—with no concern over character limits. Which is why, every year, T+L celebrates our Social Media in Travel + Tourism (SMITTY) Awards—recognizing the travel industry’s best work on social platforms—by making them truly social, with a party celebrating the winners.

So, for the 3rd consecutive year, SMITTY winners tumbled into New York, and T+L went all out. Last week, we hosted a party on the roof of Manhattan's Refinery Hotel, in the shadow of the Empire State Building.

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Coming to America...By Rowboat?

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where the water can be 10,000 feet deep and the waves proportionally enormous, a 22-foot long rowboat equipped with a small cabin and fishing rods, is manned by Riaan Manser and girlfriend Vasti Geldenhuys. A waves comes, flipping the boat with Vasti strapped in, and throwing Riaan into the sea. The vessel somehow rights itself as the tide turns it over in a full 360.

Riaan and Vasti manage to complete over one million strokes, which took them from mainland Africa to New York City. This is real life; no script involved. Their journey lasted just over four months, with 133 days at sea. As Manser proclaims, no two humans have done it before.

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Sugar Mogul Dylan Lauren's Candy Collection

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Sugar mogul Dylan Lauren recalls her global sweets pursuit.

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The Best New Cameras for Travel

Travel Cameras

Whether you’re in the market for a user-friendly point-and-shoot or an expert-level DSLR, T+L tech correspondent Tom Samiljan has the model for you.

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The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam Captures the City's New Golden Age

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A hotel captures the city’s reclaimed luster.

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Shaun Kelly's Guide to Shopping a Market à la Francaise

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Harboring the fantasy that you can traipse through a Parisian marché like Amélie? Not so fast—there’s a decorum that isn’t obvious to newcomers. Here, tips from Australian-born Shaun Kelly, chef of seasonally driven bistro Yard (33-1/40-09-70-30; $$$), who had to learn on the fly when he arrived in Paris two years ago.

Go early. Chefs start picking through the stands by 7 a.m. What’s left over will still be good, but not the crème de la crème.

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Gin & Joysticks: A Night at the "Barcade"

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A round of Ms. Pac-Man with that negroni?

These new bars serve up a sidecar of arcade nostalgia. Bring quarters.

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Travel Diary: Just Back From Shanghai

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Just back from China, T+L hotels & food editor Jennifer Flowers shares her best discoveries in this frenetic, hypnotic megacity.

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Travel Trend: Luxury Adventure

What does luxury adventure mean now? At Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand, guests can enjoy a luxury stay with days on the beach as well as elephant rides. General Manager Carlos Tarrero describes the option for a raw cooking class, where guests  gather ingredients at the local market and try their hand at Thai cuisine. The reserve is on 50 acres of wild, beautiful land, so guests can expect a secluded but luxurious experience.

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Airbnb Redesign Brings Hosts Center Stage

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In a live broadcast this morning, Airbnb cofounders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk announced a major site redesign for the San Francisco-based company. Over 13,000 Airbnb users tuned in from 78 countries to the invitation-only event, and T+L spoke to company Product Lead Justin Santamaria for a sneak peek at the new look.

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Match.com Revelation: When It’s Sexy Time, You Probably Think of A Boat

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I got your number, you lusty traveler, you. The No. 1 place where you’d like to have sex on holiday is on a boat, according to match.com. And you know why? Because travel is the liquor of love, that’s why. At least, so says Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and consultant for match.com.

That’s just one of the prurient results from the dating site’s fourth annual “Singles in America” study. The bottom line seems to be this: Travel makes humans crave sex. I’m sorry, I can’t sugar-coat this. It is what it is. And yes, yes, we’ll provide you with details in a second, Mr. Casanova and Ms. Jezebel. But first, let’s set the mood, lower the lights, and hear a bit more from Doc Fisher.

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Stella McCartney's Argentina-Inspired Collection

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Stella McCartney may be quintessentially British, but her Pre-Fall 2014 collection is immutably connected to a different locale: Argentina. In partnership with the Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI, a South American network of sheep ranchers, the designer sourced sustainable Patagonian wool for her line of slouchy blazers, boxy fringed tops, and oversize clutches. McCartney’s goal, she says, was “to help conserve and restore the region’s endangered grasslands” by promoting healthy grazing practices. The inspiration for the line’s updated houndstooth pattern, meanwhile, is rooted in her own English upbringing. “I thought about my childhood, growing up in London, and then moving suddenly to the countryside,” McCartney explains. “What a contrast."

 

Photo courtesy of Stella McCartney

Print-At-Home Bag Tags Now Available From First Gulf Carrier

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Add Qatar Airwaysprint-at-home luggage tags to the growing list of ways you can shorten your travel to-do list before even arriving at the airport, (flight check-in and security clearance included) and getting out of Doha is now as easy as finding your gate and browsing the duty-free emporium.

The official carrier for Qatar is now offering its unique service, called My Q-Tags, to passengers departing the new Hamad International Airport to 103 destinations. Unfortunately, there are no domestic stops on that list at this time due to TSA regulations.

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Go! Julien Farel’s JF Men Spa at the Loews Regency New York

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To all American men, I have an announcement: it’s time to let go of your spa phobias. Set aside any machismo sentiments, because there’s never been a better time to be a man—and a well-groomed one, at that.

As an editor who covers beauty and wellness, I’m always on the lookout for the latest in skin-care, cosmetics, spa treatments—you name it. Few trends have been as hard to miss as the current emphasis on men’s grooming. And few have found a way to capitalize on the increasing spa-friendly audience as famed stylist Julien Farel with JF Men, his new men’s-only floor dedicated to full-service grooming, at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.

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Q+A: Heidi Brown Discusses Flexible Airfares and Up-and-Coming Website, OptionsAway.com

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At Travel + Leisure, we love hearing about services that bring a refreshing level of ease and flexibility to booking travel. Enter OptionsAway.com. Started by Rob and Heidi Brown, a team of financial experts-turned-travel addicts, the site was born from their frustration over missing great travel opportunities because of fluxuating airfares. They used their knowledge in options pricing and applied it to air travel—and it's working. We sat down with co-founder Brown to find out more. 

Q: How is Options Away disrupting travel?
A: Options Away is offering an opportunity that has never been available to consumers before—the ability to lock-in airfares while they finalize their travel plans, and do so across multiple airlines. It is disruptive in the sense that we have actually begun to transform the way people plan and book travel. Travelers can hold prospective flights by paying a small fee and eliminating the need for immediate booking. With such a low cost and no commitment to purchase plane tickets, Options Away travelers can hold several flights at once.

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World’s Tallest Water Slide Opens In Kansas

In a summer of new thrill rides and roller coasters, there's yet another to steal the show. Verruckt is now the world's tallest water slide—it opened last Thursday at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Before stepping into a three-person raft, all three riders must be measured and weighed (each rider must be at least 54 inches tall and together, they cannot surpass 550 lbs.). The two heart-pumping drops include one from 168 feet—or about 16 stories high—and speeds can reach as fast as 70mph. Arrive early to the base of the ride: that's where you reserve a scheduled ride time in advance, then return about 30 minutes before you're set to take the plunge. The standby line is another option, but rides aren't guaranteed.

What else will keep you busy at Schlitterbahn Waterpark? The Black Night Tube Slide, Storm Blaster water coaster, and for a relaxing break, the peaceful Boogie Bay beach lounge.

PLUS: Watch T+L's Top 6 New Roller Coaster Rides, a countdown video that spotlights the best openings of 2014.

Seabourn Announces Alliance With UNESCO

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Seabourn, the luxury, small-ship cruise line, recently announced an alliance with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to help protect as well as promote World Heritage.

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Fast & Furious Summer Road Trip Advice from a NASCAR Driver

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Ryan Blaney is one of the up-and-coming drivers on the NASCAR circuit, now in his third year with Team Penske. And if you were going to take driving advice from anyone, wouldn’t it be a 20-year-old kid who wears fireproof underwear and tends to drive aggressively at 200 mph? So would we!

Blaney is making the media rounds on behalf of Hertz and its new 35-point Certified Clean & Safe inspection program. Not that we wanted to talk about that. We wanted some driving tips!


Q: Is it difficult to make the mental shift from NASCAR to highway driving?
A:
It’s hard to switch off going from driving a racecar to driving your personal vehicle on the highway. It’s very difficult for me, like after a race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway.

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Chef’s Tour: Dallas with Matt McCallister

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The blue-eyed chef is making waves at his seasonal, Gulf-inspired restaurant, FT33—he even snagged a spot on Food & Wine magazine’s prestigious roster of Best New Chefs this year. We caught up with McCallister to find out his top local haunts in Dallas.

BreakfastSmoke’s Blueberry Pancakes and Smoked Brisket Cornbread Hash. ‘Nuff said.

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Summer Food Twitter Chat on Tuesday, July 15

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What food is worth traveling for this summer? From favorite summer desserts to the best new seasonal haunts, we're chatting about Summer Food this Tuesday, July 15th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join along to ask the experts for tips and advice!

The Host:

T+L's Hotels and Food Editor, Jennifer Flowers, @JennFlowers

The Panelists:

Andrew Zimmern, Chef, Writer, TV Host of Bizarre Foods, @andrewzimmern

Eric Ripert, Executive Chef, Le Bernardin, @ericripert

Chef Hugh Acheson, @HughAcheson

Food & Wine, @foodandwine

James Beard Foundation, @beardfoundation

Travel Channel, @travelchannel

Shake Shack, @shakeshack

Luke's Lobster, @LukesLobster

Chef Ludo Lefebvre, @chefludo

Pat LaFrieda, Butcher and Meat Purveyor, @patlafrieda

Adam Sachs, @sachsmo, Editorial Director, Tasting Table, @TastingTable

Steven Raichlen, Author of the new Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys@sraichlen

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.

2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.

3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.

4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own! 

All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Sample

This Summer's Best New Roller Coaster Rides

This summer’s roller coaster rides are sure to get your heart pumping. Coney Island recently introduced the Thunderbolt roller coaster—the boardwalk's first new, custom-built coaster since the opening of the wooden-track Cyclone in 1927. North of Cincinnati, you'll find Ohio’s Kings Island, and the new $24-million-dollar The Banshee ride, an inverted coaster that turns thrill seekers upside-down seven times!

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Q+A With David Hallberg: Bolshoi Ballet Premier

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When David Hallberg, principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, joined the ballet company of Bolshoi Theater in Moscow about three years ago, it was big news on both sides of the Atlantic. During the Soviet era, there were several high-profile defections of dancers to the United States (Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, among others), but Hallberg was the very first American to be invited by the celebrated Russian company, which has traditions going back to the 18th-century. Now, during the Bolshoi's appearances as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City, David Hallberg talks with T+L about the work with the company and living in Moscow.

Q.  What will you dance in New York?

A.  Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake.  One of the reasons I accepted the opportunity to join the company was to deepen my interpretation of the role and other classics.  Also, I wanted the challenge of a style, distinct from my background and training in Phoenix, where I received my formation, then Paris, and later New York.  I have a wonderful coach.

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New Hotels from Soho to South Bank

Soho and South Bank

In the London neighborhoods of Soho and the South Bank, two properties with serious design pedigrees bring new forms and new thinking to the hotel landscape.

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The Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip

British Columbia

The vast, epic landscape of British Columbia, from the Rockies to the Pacific coast, from backwoods encampments to wine country to the deluxe lodges of Vancouver Island--T+L embarks on a 750-mile Canadian road trip.

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Six Sydney Restaurants to Try Now

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Our abridged, meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.

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