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Meet Globetrotting Latte Artist Michael Breach

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In the age of #selfies, Tinder swipes, Instagram, and Facebook, it can be challenging for faces to stand out from the plethora of media muck hailing down on us 24/7. But, every once in a while, someone gets a lucky break. Such is the case with bored-night-shift-hotel-barista turned international-latte-portrait-artist, Michael Breach.

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4 Reasons to Love Google Now

Google Now

Google’s new take on Siri is more than a voice-activated search tool—it’s a full-fledged digital assistant. Here are four things we love about Google Now.

1. It’s easy to use on mobile with the surprisingly accurate voice search (prompted by “OK Google”).

2. It can scan your location, search history, or confirmation e-mails—all to offer personalized updates (when to leave for the airport, for example) on virtual cards.

3. It anticipates your needs, telling you the local weather or how to get to your Airbnb rental before you think to ask.

4. It’s opt-in, customizable, and not just for Android phones. (On iOS? The free Google app contains all Now features.)

Related Links:
Best Apps and Websites for Travelers
15 Tech Innovations That Will Change the Way You Travel
Google’s Self-Driving Car Makes The Road Trip of Tomorrow

Tom Samiljan is Travel + Leisure’s Tech Correspondent.

Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Cooking Where Cultures Meet in New York City

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It was that anxious feeling when you are outside of your comfort zone that I felt walking up to the apartment building in Queens, New York. However, as soon as my host Nawida opened her door with a warm smile and welcoming hug, I settled into a sense of excitement for a culinary adventure.

Four weeks prior to this moment, I came across the company League of Kitchens, which offers cooking classes demonstrating authentic cuisine from various regions around the world. The instructors are women, living in New York City, who have immigrated to this country with a mastery of cooking in the style of their homeland. Today's cooking class: Afghani.

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Daily Transporter: Wrestling Grizzlies

rough play

Before you visit British Columbia’s Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, be forewarned that no one can set foot on the 109,000-acre park: you hire an officially sanctioned sailboat and guide to take you. The pay-off? Unparalleled views of grizzly bears engaged in grizzly business like foraging and playing and fishing.

See Prince Rupert in World’s Most Beautiful Ferry Rides

Editor’s Picks: British Columbia
Best Adventure Travel Destinations
Best National Parks for Wildlife Spotting
On Thin Ice with Churchill’s Polar Bears

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Terminal Wellness

waiting is the hardest part

Don’t sweat a long layover: more airports are setting up walking paths through terminals—with pavement mile-markers, water bottle-refilling stations, and public art, reports USA Today. Some, like Fort Lauderdale, Anchorage, and Baltimore/Washington, even maintain walking paths outside airport.

See Best Airports for a Long Layover

Editor’s Picks: Air Travel Tips
World’s Most Beautiful Airports
Most Annoying Airport Security Checkpoints
Coolest New Airport Terminals

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

What Does the TSA Do With Confiscated Items?

confiscated items

Firearms and hazardous materials are turned over to local law enforcement officials. For safety reasons, liquids that can’t go through security—even in sealed containers—must be thrown out. For other items, the TSA either sends them to a contractor for disposal or donates them to a local nonprofit. Some of these charities will, in turn, resell items and use the proceeds to support their own programs. The TSA makes clear that none of this resale money goes into its own coffers.

Related Links:
Hotels’ Strangest Forgotten Items
Best Airport Security Checkpoints
Most Annoying Airport Security Checkpoints

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by iStockphoto

Why Are We Obsessed With Taking Travel Photos?

travel photos

Peter Jon Lindberg shot 10,438 photographs in the past 12 months alone. Now he wonders where our obsession with travel images is taking us.

The summer I turned 11, my parents and I spent three months traveling around Europe, driving a tiny Peugeot from Rome to Amsterdam. It was one of the seminal trips of my life, though I don’t really “remember” it in the visual sense.

We took not a single photograph.

My parents didn’t even pack a camera. They owned a camera; they just decided not to bring it. Recently I asked my mother why.

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The Moment: Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Glacier Skywalk, Jasper National Park

2:16 p.m.: Good thing you brought your windbreaker. Despite the afternoon sun beating down from a cloudless sky, it’s gusty up here, 6,400 feet above sea level. You’ve just stepped into the void, on the outermost tip of the new glass-and-steel Glacier Skywalk, cantilevered more than 100 feet off the side of Wilcox Mountain. Ahead loom the snowcapped peaks of the Canadian Rockies; below, you can spot bighorn sheep picking their way between verdant patches of alpine moss. Later, you’ll don a pair of crampons and hike the nearby Athabasca Glacier, which helped carve out the waterfall-studded canyons of Sunwapta Valley more than 3 million years ago. The forces of nature have never felt more present than they do here. Except gravity. Because right now, it feels like you’re walking on air.

Related Links:
T+L’s Guide to Beautiful Views
World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions
25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year

Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada

Daily Transporter: Who Drinks the Most Wine?

beautiful vineyard

For the first time, Americans bought more wine last year than the French, but that was mostly because there are more of us: the average French person still drinks 1.2 bottles of wine a week, six times more than the average American.

See World’s Best Wine Country Hotels

Editor’s Picks: Wine and Food Vacations
America’s Best Wine Bars
Europe's Best Wine Bars
World’s Top Wine Tours

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo of vineyards near Purcellville, Virginia, courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Inspired by Tulum: Coqui Coqui for Club Monaco Collection

Coqui Coqui for Club Monaco

The next-best thing to a trip to Tulum: Coqui Coqui for Club Monaco, a capsule collection overseen by Francesca Bonato, an Italian designer and co-owner of the eponymous hotel, a fashionista magnet on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Incorporating materials such as burlap and peso coins—even the scent of musky tobacco leaves—each piece is as stylishly low-key as Tulum itself and reflects Bonato’s carefree aesthetic, the result of years of living and working in the sun-soaked region.

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London with the Family

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Sometimes the best trips are the most laid back; the lesiurely afternoons where random wandering yields the stuff of scrapbooks (or, Pinterest boards). Having hustled my kids to every landmark last year, I decided to ditch the psychotic sightseeing and spend our week in London exploring the city with minimal structure.

Renting an apartment when travelling with a family makes sense on many levels. It provides increased space and the opportunity to dine in quietly after exhausting days. But, lack of amenities can be a challenge. When I heard about Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, a Park Lane property which offers apartments accompanied by  5 star services, I felt as if I had struck lodging gold.

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Daily Transporter: Remembering D-Day on France's Normandy Coast

english channel

Seventy years ago this morning, the U.S. Army Rangers landing at Pointe du Hoc thought of nothing but the German guns and concrete bunkers above them. Today’s visitors to the cliffs can thank them—and the 156,000 Allied troops who took part in D-Day—for the opportunity to think of nothing but the view.

See Normandy in Storm Photos Around the World

Editor’s Picks: Normandy
Places You’d Rather Be Right Now
World’s Coolest Tree-House Hotels
World’s Most Beautiful Buildings

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

The Final Say: How Clean Is Your Airplane Seat?

airplane seat

It’s up to domestic airlines to develop their own cleaning protocols. All the carriers we spoke with require either flight attendants or certified maintenance crews to do some form of cleaning between flights—even if it’s just a cursory removal of garbage and refreshing of the lavatories. The more thorough scrub, when crews wipe down seats and tray tables with disinfectants, happens when a plane overnights at an airport. Carriers schedule “deep cleans” every month or so to launder seat covers and shampoo the carpets. Still feel squeamish about your seat? That’s what disinfectant wipes are for.

Related Links:
Air Travel Tips
Why Airplanes Are Safe
Scenic Views from Airplane Windows

Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.


What to Bring to the Beach

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I spend summer weekends in East Hampton and I always bring more than I need. Any tips? —Geena Oritzia, New York, N.Y.

Nailing down a foolproof packing strategy is key. For quick trips, stick to a few pieces that are interchangeable. These staples prove less is more.

No sense in packing two bags; pick one that doubles as a beach tote. Chanel; price upon request.

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Château Vaux le Vicomte's New Look

Vaux le Vicomte

Less familiar and less crowded than Versailles—but designed by the same architects—Vaux le Vicomte can now be seen as never before.

Alexandre de Vogüé and his brothers didn’t think much about growing up at Vaux le Vicomte, the 17th-century estate about an hour southeast of Paris. “All our friends had small gardens, and we had a bigger garden,” he says of the magnificent grounds, designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre. At night, the siblings would play cat-and-mouse in the château and listen to ghost stories about its first owner, Nicolas Fouquet. That visionary patron united the talents of Le Nôtre, painter Charles Le Brun, and architect Louis Le Vau, to create one of the glories of the Grand Siècle.

Two years ago, Alexandre and his twin brother, Jean-Charles, took stewardship of the estate. This spring, visitors can enjoy their first major renovation: the installation of six giant, arched glass doors that restore the château’s transparency and vistas. Vogüé says, “Today, when you are in the grand salon, looking out, you almost dive into the garden.”

Related Links:
America’s Most Beautiful Gardens
Europe's Best Affordable Castle Hotels
Beautiful Castles Around the World

Photo © A. Chicurel – L. Lourdel

L.A.'s Arts District

Arts District Los Angeles

Edgy studios and industrial-chic restaurants outnumber palm trees in L.A.’s Arts District, on the southeastern corner of downtown. Here’s how to tap into the new energy.

Follow the Shepard Fairey and Kim West street murals to find the Box, mixed-media star Paul McCarthy’s contemporary exhibition space. Look for an international roster of experimental filmmakers and performance artists. 805 Traction Ave.

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New Travel Survey: Americans Divided on Beach, Plane Etiquette

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A new survey from the Travel Leaders Group reveals that courtesy in the air does not necessarily translate to courtesy once on the ground.

When confronted with limited overhead space for carry-on bags near their assigned seats, only 4.3 percent of survey-takers would stow luggage at the earliest open spot, while nearly 75 percent would wait until they approached their seat.

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IcelandAir Debuts Stunning Safety Video

Icelandair has joined the pack of airlines putting time and energy into their safety videos. (Click here for our slideshow of some of the best.) Unlike the humorous approach taken by the likes of Delta and Virgin America, this almost three-minute-long video is like a love letter to Iceland as a destination, following a traveler camping out to see the Northern lights, hiking across the country’s varied terrain, and kayaking the Fjadrargljufur gorge. Safety procedures are seamlessly drawn on top of the visually beautiful shots.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

New Rosetta Stone App Helps World Cup-Bound Travelers

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Rosetta Stone unveiled a special Portuguese Futebol Edition of its Travel series on Wednesday, targeting lucky Americans heading to Brazil for the Fifa World Cup this month.

The free app, which uses an immersion-based system like all Rosetta Stone products, teaches key soccer vocab (beyond "Gol!"), as well as useful phrases relating to public transportation, restaurants, and attractions in the Games' twelve host cities.

With the Cup just one week away, Brazil-bound travelers better learn quick, or should I say rápido?

The app is available for Android and iOS.

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.

 Photo courtesy of Rosetta Stone

 

How Airport Retailers Target Passengers

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Airport retailers know a lot more about their potential customers than you might expect, and they're using that information to target specific shopping demographics, as an article in the Economist details.

Aware when flights arrive and depart, shops behind security alter their selection based on who will be walking by during that "golden hour" before takeoff. At Heathrow, for example, cognac displayed in the morning is geared to passengers on that 9:45 am Barbados flight—who apparently prefer Hennesy and Courvoisier—while afternoon flights to Norway and the US call for cheaper brandies. Likewise, shopkeepers schedule their multilingual staffs based on flight timetables.

As the Economist writes, "Most [passengers] are relatively prosperous; all are briefly at loose ends," and retailers have found that these slightly-crazed, moderately wealthy individuals make great customers.

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.

Photo by Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy.

New Miami Hotels for Your Next Stay in South Beach

Miami Hotels: Metropolitan by Como

New hotels are revitalizing Collins Avenue. Here’s where you may be staying on your next trip to South Beach.

The Redbury Hotel South Beach ($$) has quickly become a hit thanks to Lorenzo, chef Tony Mantuano’s Italian spot. Drop in for the wood-fired pizzas and Salvia cocktails—a mix of grappa, pear purée, egg whites, and lemon. Close by is the first U.S. property from Singapore-based Como Hotels & Resorts: the Metropolitan by Como, Miami Beach (pictured; $$). Paola Navone designed the 74 rooms, which have a white-and-pale-mint color scheme; in keeping with the brand’s wellness ethos, there’s an intimate spa. The Setai, Miami Beach ($$$$) just debuted Ocean Suites ($$$$$), a hotel-within-a-hotel concept in the residential tower; airport transfers and breakfast are included. On the horizon: 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach ($$$$), with a farm-to-table restaurant from Tom Colicchio; Faena Hotel Miami Beach (rates not available at press time), aesthetically fine-tuned by Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin; and Miami Beach Edition (rates not available at press time), which will have sleek interiors by Yabu Pushelberg, two pools, and an ice-skating rink.

Video: Miami Travel

Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

Appeared as "The United States of Awesome: Miami Heat" in T+L Magazine

Related Links:
Best Places to Eat Like a Local
Best Tacos in America
Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S.

Photo by Claudia Uribe

New Murals Bring Color to Philadelphia Amtrak Route

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A new set of murals are making a colorfusl splash along a stretch of Amtrak lines in Philadelphia.

As part of the city's Mural Arts Program, German artist Katharina Grosse painted warehouses and abandoned lots visible from the tracks. Around 34,000 rail passengers will see the project every day from their seats on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route between Philadelphia and New York, as well as from several local commuter lines.

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Daily Transporter: Baltimore's Hon Fest

on the waterfront

Hon Fest, Baltimore’s self-mocking festival of beehive hairdos, leopard-skin prints, and attitude, runs June 14-15. A contestant once won the coveted Best Hon title by playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on a xylophone made from National Bohemian beer bottles.

See Baltimore in Chefs’ Favorite U.S. Restaurants

Editor’s Picks: Baltimore
America’s Best Baseball Stadiums
America’s Most and Least Attractive People
America’s Coolest Street Art

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: nestorneighbor

Google's New Tools Improve The Way We Travel

photopng

“Google, when does my flight leave?” I asked Google Now aloud.

Within seconds, the app accessed my flight reservation and created a travel card, announcing that Virgin Atlantic flight VS45 from London to New York had been delayed 45 minutes.

This is just one way Google is trying to make travel easier for users, along with a handful of other recently unveiled new and updated tools.

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Hilton Launches New Brand: Curio

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Hilton Worldwide this week has announced the launch of a new hotel collection called Curio, a group of four- and five-star boutique properties that will maintain their unique identities while having access to Hilton’s resources, including the company’s robust Hilton HHonors loyalty program. While there are plans for Curio to have a global presence, the first five participating hotels are all stateside, including the highly-anticipated, soon-to-open SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the Sam Houston Hotel in Houston, the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, S.D., and the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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The Coolest Bus Stops in the World

201406-hd-thrillist-coolest-bus-stopsjpgWaiting for the bus sucks. You're subject to inclement weather. The shelters are like magnets for garbage and bodily waste. And your payoff is... riding on a public bus.

But it's a whole other story in Krumbach, Austria, where passengers wait in some of the most stylish kiosks ever to pave the public transportation route.

Sure, London has impossibly perfect benches on its streets, but this humble Austrian town of just 1,000 residents has taken transport utility to a new height of aesthetics. The local cultural institution, kultur krumbach, commissioned seven internationally acclaimed architects -- Rintala Eggertsson Architects from Norway; Ensamble Studio from Spain; Sou Fujimoto from Japan; Wang Shu from China; Smiljan Radic from Chile; Alexander Brodsky from Russia; and Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu from Belgium -- to design a bus stop, in return for a free vacation in the quaint European region.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo by Yuri Palmin

Vacation Rentals Get a Boost with Launch of Villas.com and Funding for Tripping

201405-hd-villa-rentaljpgThe vacation rental industry has officially made it. Booking.com just launched Villas.com, a smart and streamlined site dedicated solely to vacation rentals, with more than 150,000 listings. Meanwhile, Tripping—the self proclaimed “world’s largest search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals” and the brainchild of Expedia, Travelzoo, and StubHub veterans—just got a new round of funding, rumored to be between $5 and $10 million.

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Social Media 101: How to Get the Most from Tweeting on the Road

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, Twitter’s Head of Travel Mike De Jesus explains how to leverage your social clout  - and reveals the one hashtag you shouldn’t be traveling without.  

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Camping...in New York City

201406-hd-camp-rockawayjpgFirst things first: I don’t do staycations. However, I’ve made exceptions for quirky experiences, like camping in Brooklyn’s Marine Park and checking in to Boatel, an abandoned-boats-turned-hotel/art project in Far Rockaway, Queens.

So I’m intrigued by a new potential project, also out by the beach in Queens: Camp Rockaway. The idea? A handful of safari-style tents with comfy beds, outdoor showers, private fire pits, and hot tubs overlooking Jamaica Bay. 

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How To Get a Free Camera (Or Running Shoes) Tomorrow

samsungjpg

If you own a DSLR and are in New York City, you may be eligible for a free camera upgrade. Tomorrow, Samsung is hosting #DITCHtheDSLR Day, a pop-up event dedicated to their lineup of mirrorless models--and why they're just as powerful as their bulkier counterparts. Head to Times Square between noon and 6pm to take their top-of-the-line NX30 SMART Camera for a spin (with the help of professional photographers, there to take you on photo walks and offer their best shooting tips). If you like what you see, you can trade in your old DSLR and get an NX30--for free. (That's a $999 camera, for those of you keeping track.) But get there early and bring any kit lenses or batteries that came with your dinosaur, as only a limited quantity will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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