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DogVacay Updates App, Pet Owners Rejoice

DogVacay, whose app helping travelers find vetted and insured pet sitters in their neighborhoods launched last year, has released an update with some new tricks even old dogs (and their owners) will appreciate.

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The Way I Travel: Lena Hall

Lena Hall

Lena Hall, Tony Award–winning performer in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and lead singer of the Deafening, reveals her travel essentials—and her favorite destinations.

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The Way I Travel: Carter Cleveland

Carter Cleveland

Carter Cleveland, founder and CEO of Artsy, a next-generation online resource for contemporary art, reveals his travel essentials—and his favorite destinations.

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Robotic Butler Now Serving Guests at Aloft Hotels

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Aloft Hotels announced its latest hire today: a robot butler named A.L.O. who is now serving guests at the brand’s Cupertino location.

The first major hotel company to introduce a robot for front-of-house service, Aloft plans on using A.L.O. to help (human) staff around the clock, fulfilling chores such as delivering guest amenities and transporting bedding, towels, and other linens between laundry- and guest-rooms. The robot uses internal navigational software to find its way around the hotel and communicates via on-screen prompts.

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Beautified App Releases Version 2.0—Plus an Exclusive Travel-Friendly Beauty Kit

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Call it the HotelTonight of the beauty world: Beautified gives users the power to book last-minute haircuts, manicures, facials, massages, and more at salons and spas around New York—and in the coming months, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Today marks the launch of a completely redesigned app, one with twice as many spas and salons (including Bliss), plus a new fitness category that offers highly coveted classes from Barry’s Bootcamp, Body by Simone, Flywheel, and Physique 57.

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Luggage of the Month: Turnbull & Asser x Globe-Trotter

Luggage of the Month

Though the days of traveling with heavy trunks are over, the glamour of a classic leather steamer remains—and on wheels, thank goodness!

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New Centurion Lounge Debuts at New York's LaGuardia Airport

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Less than a year after debuting a Centurion Lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport—which we profiled in detail here—American Express is at it again, this time in New York LaGuardia's Terminal B. Like its counterparts in Texas and Las Vegas's McCarron International Airport, the 5,000-square-foot space provides all you would expect from a world-class airport lounge, including high-speed Wi-Fi; numerous power outlets; private, noise-buffering work stations; and a food-and-beverage program that goes beyond stale bagels for breakfast and an uninspired wine list.

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Banff Joins The Mountain Collective for 2014/2015 Ski Season

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Skiing in Banff could be more affordable this year, thanks to a just-announced partnership between the famed winter mecca and the Mountain Collective, whose pass grants holders big savings in a traditionally expensive sport.

A longtime winter favorite, Banff’s mountains provide 8,000 acres of ski and snowboard terrain in a UNESCO-recognized wilderness deep in the Canadian Rockies. All three ski areas inside Banff National Park —Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Mount Norquay —are joining the Mountain Collective.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises to Offer Free Wi-Fi

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Free, reliable Wi-Fi is becoming standard practice at many hotels—but not so for cruise lines, where passengers are expected to pay for the service. In a sign of good things to come for the industry, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will now offer free Internet access in all public spaces and suites for voyages setting sail after January 1, 2015.

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Money-Saving Cruise Tips Video

When it comes to saving money on a cruise, timing is everything. Here are three tips from our Travel + Leisure Quick Tips video series.

Tip 1: Plan ahead.

You always want to plan in advance. Cruise lines release early booking discounts up to a year in advance, and they may be as deep as 20 percent off.

Watch more Travel + Leisure Quick Tips videos here.

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What the Ebola Outbreak Means for Travelers

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The news coming out of West Africa this week as been alarming—to say the least. The latest outbreak of Ebola, which started in Guinea earlier this year, has now spread to Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. (There’s even been a suspected Ebola death in Saudi Arabia.) To date, nearly 1,000 people have died of Ebola—a number that will surely increase in the coming weeks as public-health officials struggle to contain the virus. The crisis is such that the World Health Organization has now declared the outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern."

So…what does this mean for travelers?  

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Wellness and Spa Retreats Twitter Chat on Tuesday, August 12

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How do you stay healthy while traveling? From fitness tips to advice on scoring the best spa appointments, join our Wellness and Spa Retreats Twitter chat on Tuesday, August 12th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join along to ask the experts for tips and advice!

The Host:

T+L's Senior Editor, Travel and Beauty, Jacqueline Gifford, @jacquigiff

The Panelists:

Health Magazine, @goodhealth

Alison Sweeney, Author of Scared Scriptless@Ali_Sweeney

Hilaria Baldwin, @hilariabaldwin

Anastasia Ashley, @AnastasiaAshley

Huffington Post's Health Living, @HealthyLiving

SpaFinder, @Spafinder

Lodge at Woodloch, @lodgeatwoodloch

Lake Austin Spa Resort, @lakeaustinspa

Darlene Fiske, @dfiske

Rancho La Puerta, @RanchoLaPuerta

Dr. Nicola Finley, an Integrative Specialist at Canyon Ranch, @CanyonRanch

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.

New Catskills B&B: The Arnold House

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If the words "The Catskills" still conjure images of Milton Berle and Henny Youngman trading one-liners—or Jennifer Grey carrying a watermelon across a sweaty dance floor—you haven't been here in a while. While most of the Dirty Dancing–era bungalow colonies and Borscht Belt resorts are gone, a new generation of young innkeepers are opening up shop, luring New York City weekenders eager for a taste of country life.

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Utah Symphony Performs Under Backdrop of National Parks

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Time to book last-minute flights to Salt Lake City: The renowned Utah Symphony is running free open-air concerts against the backdrop of five of the state's—and country's—most treasured national parks.

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Pop-Up Beaches Bring Summer to Cities, Far and Near

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Summer in the city can be stifling, with its sticky-hot subway cars and the odor of leftovers slowly broiling behind every restaurant. For those of us who don’t have a Hamptons-home perched on a sandy stretch of beachfront, it can be hard to slip away from the city for the ultimate, sink-your-toes-in-the-sand summer escape. 

That is, until the pop-up beach became a thing.

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Vermin Disrupting Vacations Underground, in Gardens, and Up in the Air

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Hand sanitizers are no match for the creepy crawlies that have made headlines around the world this week: In New York, a bedbug infestation forced three subway cars out of service. In Paris, rats by the Louvre have tourists screaming. And in India, officials grounded a plane in New Delhi when scores of rats made an appearance.

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Richard Linklater's Boyhood: A Texas Valentine

big bend

In Richard Linklater’s new Boyhood—a masterful film documenting twelve years of a boy’s life—little happens but everything seems monumental and emotionally charged. The same could be said for the film’s cinematography by Lee Daniel and Shane F. Kelly. Texas has never looked so good, so colorful, so inviting.

From an Austin dawn seen through the bleary eyes of up-all-night high school kids, to a sparkling swimming hole at Pedernales Falls State Park; from a peyote-enhanced sunset in Big Bend National Park to a family visit to a working ranch, the Lone Star State is observed through a loving and nostalgic lens. There are myriad reasons to see the movie (really), but it almost works as an extended Texas travelogue. The porch of an old stone house, a broad alley running behind small-town shops, the lacquered pine panels of an historic ranch cabin, every frame takes on the kind of atmospheric magic that state tourism boards dream of creating. The kind of magic that makes a person start planning a trip.

Opening shot: a seemingly blissed-out New Yorker drives a lonesome West Texas highway in the cramped cab of a Toyota pickup, the Sir Doug Quintet on the radio…

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc

Big Bend National Park photo: Steven Stokan, via the T+L Photo Contest

Crystal Cruises Set to Journey Through the Arctic

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Crystal Cruises, a perennial World’s Best winner, is going where no luxury cruise has gone before: the Northwest Passage. Starting in 2016, the Crystal Serenity (voted best cruise for families) will journey the Arctic wilderness from Anchorage, Alaska to New York City.

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Summer Beach Essentials, Part 2

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Just back from the Hamptons, T+L editorial assistant Katie James reveals her packing musts.

Nearly every Friday in July and August, I find myself toting a weekend bag to work—and rushing like mad to catch the 6 o’clock train en route to the Hamptons. Growing up, I spent summers out East, where I play golf in the morning, hang at the beach club in the afternoon, and eat dinner with family before heading to John Scott’s Surf Shack for a Corona with friends. And while my beauty regimen tends to be low maintenance out at the beach, I never leave home without these essentials:

La Prairie Foam Cleanser: I love feeling squeaky-clean after a day on the beach, where I often leave covered in sand and surf. This La Prairie formula provides a deep cleanse, and natural plant extracts counter balance for a soothing, moisturizing effect that keeps skin hydrated, and never dry. Not to mention the packaging and rosy scent are super luxurious. $80

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Test-Driving the New Foursquare

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Today, Foursquare unveils its newly refreshed self to the masses—and we got an early look at the overhauled app. The verdict? Falling closer to Yelp than Facebook, the decidedly less-social app is better suited to travelers than ever before.

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Orbitz Rewards Adds Restaurants to Loyalty Program

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On the heels of Priceline’s OpenTable acquisition, Orbitz is getting into the restaurant space—the company yesterday launched Orbitz Rewards Dining, a new program that allows loyalty members to score extra perks for dining at specific restaurants. It’s the result of a partnership with Rewards Network, a Chicago-based company that maintains a database of 11,000 restaurants.

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“Dronies” Take Flight on New Zealand Slopes

Sick of the selfie? Tourism New Zealand’s new take on the trend may peak your interest. Enter the “dronie,” a video taken by a high-flying, remote control-operated drone. Through August, the company will hit the slopes with its own miniature aircraft to shoot 8-second HD clips of visitors to several South Island ski areas. The drone-toting representatives email the videos to participants, free of charge.

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Surf’s Up in Munich Airport

201408-hd-munich-airport-surfingjpgWe already know that Munich International Airport is one of the best for a long layover—and now it's even better, thanks to “Surf & Style,” an indoor wave-riding pool located between Terminals 1 and 2.

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The World's Most Epic Outdoor Cinemas

201408-hd-thrillist-outdoor-cinemajpgDinner and a movie is pretty much the lamest date idea ever. Dinner and a movie while soaking in a hot tub or sitting in a castle? Better!

Because nothing's better than watching The Goonies under the stars and drinking beer out of a Nalgene, we've tracked down some of the most stunning, scenic, or otherwise odd outdoor theaters around the globe.

SEE THE LIST AT THRILLIST

Summer Beach Essentials

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Just back from vacation to Rosewood Jumby Bay in Antigua, Jacqueline Gifford, T+L’s Senior Editor, Travel & Beauty, shares her makeup, skin, and hair musts. 

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Summer Culture Twitter Chat on Tuesday, August 5

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One of the best ways to explore a destination is through its local (or visiting) culture. From theater to the arts and performances, we're discussing Summer Culture in our Twitter chat on Tuesday, August 5th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Join along to ask the experts for tips and advice!

The Host:

T+L's Associate Research Editor, Maggie Suozzi, @maggiesuozzi

The Panelists:

Central Park, @CentralParkNYC

Met Museum, @metmuseum

Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., @ngadc

Eva Respini, @MuseumModernArt Curator, @CuratorOnTheRun

PBS, @PBS

Clark Art Institute, @the_clark

Julie R. Widholm of @mcachicago, @ChicagoCurator

Brooklyn Museum, @brooklynmuseum

Los Angeles Philharmonic, @LAPhil, and Hollywood Bowl, @HollywoodBowl

Amy Meyers, Director of Yale Center for British Art, @YaleBritishArt

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, @MFAH

Santa Fe Opera, @santafeopera

Michael Martin, Trumpet Player, Tanglewood/Boston Symphony Orchestra, @bostonsymphony

Jacob's Pillow Dance, @JacobsPillow

Francesca Zambello, Artisitc and General Director of Glimmerglass Festival, @FZambellow

Bryce Pinkham, Actor, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" on Broadway, @PinkhamBryce

Alessio Bax, Classical Pianist, @alessiobaxpiano

Lucille Chung, Classical Pianist, @lucillechung

James Whiteside, Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre, @JamesBruceWhite

Robbie Fairchild, Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet, @robbiefairchild

Miranda Carroll, LACMA, @LACMA

Stephen Costello, Opera Singer, @CostelloTenor

Ranaan Meyer, Double Bassist, Time for Three, @tf3

Mark Coetzee, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), @MarkCoetzee

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.

Pay-What-You-Want Hotel Program Launched in Paris

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Last winter, we loved Switzerland’s creative “pay what you want” hotel initiative—and for three weeks this summer, Paris is following in its neighbor’s footsteps. Now through August 10—peak high season—five Right Bank hotels in the City of Light are letting guests spend the night and then decide what they think their experience is worth.

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Star Trek’s George Takei on How He Travels and His New Documentary, ‘To Be Takei'

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Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Lt. Hikaru Sulu on the Star Trek TV series and films, is the focus of a new documentary, To Be Takei, which opens in selected theaters on August 22. The affable Takei, who, as Mr. Sulu, boldly navigated the Starship Enterprise where no one had gone before, is quite a terrestrial traveler, as well. In fact, he is currently on board the Cunard Queen Mary 2 as a guest lecturer. We caught up with him at a pre-sailing press conference on the ship followed by a one-on-one travelandleisure.com interview to ask him about traveling, Howard Stern, his long-running feud with Star Trek co-star William Shatner, and why he agreed to play a talking head, literally, on the animated series Futurama.

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TSA Offers $15,000 for Ideas to Improve Airport Security Checkpoints

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Think you know what it takes to make airport security checkpoints less hellish? The Transportation Security Administration has put a call out for ideas on Innocentive, asking for ways to create a more efficient screening process that accommodates all levels of travelers—standard, premier, and TSA Pre✓™—employees, flight crews, and passengers in wheelchairs.

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Which Credit Card Points Program is Right for You?

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It’s pretty much indisputable that airlines are making frequent flyer miles harder to use. Across the board, we’ve seen programs increase the amount of miles needed for awards—all while restricting the amount of seats available at the lowest level and adding new fees. However, it isn’t all doomsday. Luckily, credit card bonuses are extremely lucrative and there are now more ways to earn miles than ever before. Whether from online shopping or dining out, you should be getting miles for almost every purchase.

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