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Hotel Tonight Introduces Look Ahead for "Planned Spontaneity"

HotelTonight

Weary of the unpredictability that comes with a last-minute vacation booking? You’re not alone. But HotelTonight, the always pioneering app for travel procrastinators, is coming to the rescue with a new feature called Look Ahead, intended to facilitate so-called “planned spontaneity.”

Debuting in a handful of the app’s major cities—New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and half a dozen others, with many more rolling out soon—the feature will offer a seven-day estimate of inventory and prices in a particular market, using a proprietary algorithm that factors in local events, weather, and historical data from HotelTonight and other booking engines.

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Save or Splurge on Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, April 15

April is here, which can mean only a couple of things—spring showers and Tax Day. You're either getting a refund or writing a big check. So what better time to find out how to save or splurge on travel? We're discussing tips with the experts during our Twitter Chat this Tuesday, April 15th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Whether you want to know about destinations that are worth the splurge or strategies for squeezing value out of a trip, join along to ask for insider advice!

The Host:

News Editor and Trip Doctor, Amy Farley, @TLTripDoctor

The Panelists:

Robin Leach, @Robin_Leach

Fortune Magazine, @FortuneMagazine

All You, @allyou

Airfarewatchdog, @airfarewatchdog

Expedia, @Expedia

Hotel Tonight, @hoteltonight

Luxe Tiffany, @LuxeTiffany

Jean Chatzky, NBC Today Financial Editor, @JeanChatzky

Fathom, @FathomWaytoGo

Mint.com, @mint

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.

Delayed or Cancelled Flight? AirHelp Fights For Your Money.

Thanks to the recent U.S. launch of AirHelp, Americans have an easy way of filing claims if a flight from or within the European Union is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked. (Flights from the U.S. to the EU are covered only if operated by an EU-based carrier.) Under EU regulations, compensation can be as high as $800, but according to AirHelp founders Henrik Zillmer and Nicolas Michaelsen, only 2% of eligible flyers make claims—and only .06% actually receives what’s due.

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London's Donut du Jour

1235 Donuts

With spring's warm winds coaxing the buds on the trees to blossom, a Sunday morning visit to Columbia Road Flower Market in East London couldn't be more apropos. While many go to soak up the atmosphere and buy a cheap armful of flowers, this Sunday morning riot for the senses has just added a foodie destination that's not to be missed. Among the cries of the cockney flower hawkers, a narrow yellow door offers a little piece of France by way of Mississipi. Chef Brad McDonald and his charming wife Molly, currently at the helm of the Southern American restaurant, The Lockhart in Marleybone, are selling Beignet-style donuts brimming with a variety of creamy flavors. Best to follow them on Twitter @1235donutsto find out what flavors will delight your tastebuds that week and what time that yellow door opens. The line forms quickly and only a limited number of perfect sugary treats are on offer each Sunday!

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16 Things You Didn't Know About the Autobahn

Autobahn

Germany is known for three things: good beer, fast cars, and a mythical place that's dark as night, straight as an arrow, where speed records and personal bests are meant to be broken – or zee Autobahn, the country's system of seemingly speed-limit-free federal highways. Here are 16 things you should know about it.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo by Christian Allinger

10 Amazing Aerial Photos That Blow Away Your Out-the-Plane-Window Instagrams

aerial photo

Most of us struggle to take a decent photo from the right angle (and have to cloak our misgivings in Instagram filters), but that's not a problem for award-winning, Boston-based photographer Alex S. MacLean – who flies a Cessna 182, and has been taking photos from the sky for years.

MacLean, who's a licensed pilot and fine art aerial photographer, recently had a show at London's Beetles + Huxley gallery, exhibiting his sky-high shots from over the US and Europe; here are some of our favorites.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo by Alex MacLean

Five Secrets About "Queen of the Night" Revealed

 

 

Queen of the Night

If you're planning a trip to NYC, you may have already heard about the city's hot ticket of the moment: Queen of the Night. A follow up to Sleep No More by the same immersive theater experts—along with progressive food artist Jennifer Rubell and acclaimed Canadian aerialist troupe 7 Doigts de la Main—the production takes a completely unconventional approach to dinner theater. Set in the old Diamond Horseshoe space at the Paramount Hotel, and loosely based on Mozart's Magic Flute, the sexy, avant-garde show blends interactive elements, contemporary circus acts, and a soundtrack that’s equal parts classical and indie rock tunes (not to mention a communal feast that may require some bartering). Already intrigued? It's only the tip of the iceberg. Here, five secret details that could take your experience to a whole other level: 

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4 New Films to Inspire Your Next Journey + Exclusive Clips

Opening this weekend, Hank and Asha is a tale of two cities. During intimate video chats, a pair of long-distance lovers share their adopted homes, Prague and New York, as they plan a rendezvous in Paris.

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Chef's Tour: Boston Eats from Alden & Harlow's Michael Scelfo

Michael Scelfo

Where to find the best food in Boston? The smaller, less-explored neighborhoods, where delicious local haunts are waiting to be uncovered, according to chef Michael Scelfo, whose buzzy new Cambridge restaurant, Alden & Harlow, opened in February. Read on for his perfect day of eating in and around Beantown.

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One-of-a-Kind Bikes Inspire American Travel

Will Leather Goods Bike

Throughout the coming months, Will Leather Goods, an Oregan-based lifestyle brand, will release seven on-of-a-kind bikes at random times and locations. Each leather-wrapped bike will be reflective of a specific period in American culture. The attached bike is inspired by a pre-revolutionary time when the main form of transportation was horseback. The brand's founder, Will, hopes to inspire American travel and exploration with these pieces.

Related Links:
America’s Best Cities for Hipsters
World's Top Biking Cities
15 Tech Innovations That Will Change the Way You Travel

Photo by Will Leather Goods

Rebirth: NYC's Le Colonial Restaurant Turns 20—and Gets a New Chef

Ron Wing Wee Hsu

When it comes to eating adventures, Vietnam’s flavor-rich, history-filled cuisine is at the top of my list. And while I’m currently buried under too much work in New York City to fly to Southeast Asia for my fix, there’s a spot in town that I’m hoping will help tide me over for now. You may or may not know Le Colonial, a long-established French-Vietnamese restaurant in Midtown East that had its heyday in the '90s as a hot power hangout. Just in time for its 20th anniversary, the restaurant has brought in a young new chef who is jazzing up the menu.

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Video: Man Freed 24 Years After In Prison Had Legit Disney World Alibi

Daily Transporter: Spain

parade drummers

Spaniards celebrate the week preceding Easter with regionally distinctive processions and fiestas. These solemn drummers in Madrid can’t shake a stick at the Tamborada in Albacete province where up to 20,000 drummers play constantly for several days leading up to Easter Sunday.

See Spain in Europe’s Most Beautiful Villages

Editor’s Picks: Spain
See Spain in Best Hotels in Spain
and World’s Coolest Surf Towns
and Most Beautiful Travel Photos of 2013

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Lonely Islands

faroe islands

Were Vikings the first humans to settle the Faroe Islands on their voyage across the Atlantic to North America? Archaeologists recently found evidence that unidentified settlers were cutting peat and cooking with non-indigenous grains on here 400 to 500 years before the Vikings arrived.

See World's Eeriest Abandoned Places

Editor’s Picks: Adventure Travel Trip Ideas
Europe's Secret Beaches
25 Secret European Villages
World's Most Mysterious Buildings

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Blood Moon

lunar eclipse

A total eclipse of the moon—the fourth lunar eclipse in a row with no intervening partial eclipses—begins at 1:20 a.m. EDT tonight. The event is being referred to as a blood moon, which sounds dramatic but is a phrase used to describe any total eclipse. (EarthSky.org explains why the moon turns coppery red during these celestial events.)

World’s Top 10 Stargazing Spots

Editor’s Picks: Eco-Travel
World’s Most Romantic Sunsets
Best Life-Changing Trips
50 Best Romantic Getaways

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Hack My Trip's Hotel Loyalty Comparison Charts

Hack My Trip

You could spend an entire month doing nothing but comparing hotel loyalty programs and still not be sure you know which is best—but that’s why it never hurts to turn to the pros. And while we make the topic a professional obsession around here, there are a few specialists out there that even we revere. Among them: Scott Mackenzie of Hack My Trip, who just recently released these incredible tables that break down all that hotel loyalty programs have to offer. It’s one of the most comprehensive, thoughtfully analyzed resources we’ve seen to date, so take it from us: this one is worth bookmarking.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.


Image courtesy of Scott Mackenzie

New Las Vegas Ad Targets Gay Couples...Almost



A new ad for Las Vegas targets gay couples...almost.

The clip, released this week and scheduled to air nationally, portrays a straight couple checking in to their Sin City hotel. The woman leaves to freshen up just as another man shows up to the front desk, at which point a receptionist asks whether the two gentlemen are ready to check in. A quick, knowing glance at each other and both men nod yes, queueing the iconic slogan, "What happens here, stays here."

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Google Brings Room 77 Into Its Fold

Yesterday we found out that Google has brought Room 77 into its portfolio of travel tools—and we think it’s big news. While the deal may not be the largest of the company’s partnerships or acquisitions to date, it’s a sign of what’s to come: As far as we can see it, Google is positioning itself to disrupt the travel sphere. Simply consider the acquisitions already in its portfolio, including travel search tool ITA—a $676 million buyout four years ago—Zagat, and Frommers (though the latter no longer belongs to Google, its content was integrated back in 2012). What it all adds up to is a growing arsenal of travel tools ready to be unleashed—the only question is when.

ne_headshotjpg

Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

World's Best Airlines for Food

airline food chefs

The winners, according to our annual reader poll.

Domestic

Virgin America 82.08
JetBlue Airways 74.18
Hawaiian Airlines 71.59

The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.

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Best Airport Lounges for Food

Airport Lounges: Turkish Airlines

Where food takes center stage.

Turkish Airlines

Airport/Terminal: Istanbul Atatürk, Departures (pictured)
How to Get In:
Star Alliance first or business international ticket, or Gold status.
The Space:
Ottoman chic, with dramatic arched entryways.
The Food:
35 stations with meze (tabbouleh; zucchini salad), flatbreads, house-made pastries, and wine.
Great Dish:
Spicy menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs).

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Celebrities' Favorite Airport Snacks

Airport Snack: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Soledad O’Brien, Journalist: “I grab a bag of Swedish Fish when I’m running to a flight—pure sugar, delicious, and chewy.”

Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador, Barneys NY: “I am a health nut, so I am all about Starbucks oatmeal and a bag of almonds. If push comes to shove I will go for a California Pizza Kitchen blowout.”

Sam Shank, CEO, Hotel Tonight: “A double americano and a chocolate-chip cookie.”

Dylan Lauren, Founder, Dylan’s Candy Bar: “A box of Jujubes. If I can, McDonald’s for a diet Coke. Fountain sodas taste better.”

Mario Batali, Chef/Restaurateur: “I do not eat at airports ever, except for Rick Bayless’s place in Chicago’s O’Hare.”

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Our New Favorite Airport Bars

Airport Bars: Bees Knees, with Aviation American Gin

Airport bars are also upping the ante, with local brews and wines. Order these drinks at our new favorites.

The Drink: Stone Ruination IPA
The Bar: Stone Brewing Co., at San Diego’s T2

The Drink: A tasting flight of California Cabernets
The Bar: Crú, at Denver’s B Gates

The Drink: The Bees Knees, with Aviation American Gin (pictured)
The Bar: House Spirits Distillery, at Portland, Oregon’s Concourse D

The Drink: Paumanok Chenin Blanc from Long Island’s North Fork
The Bar: Wibar, at LaGuardia’s Terminal C

Related Links:
17 Airline Snacks We Want to Eat Right Now
America’s Best Cocktail Bars
Best Airports for a Long Layover

Photo courtesy of House Spirits Distillery

Delta Unveils Its Redesigned Inflight Magazine

Delta Sky magazine

These days, in-flight magazines have to work harder and harder to get a traveler’s attention—and Delta’s redesigned Sky is doing just that, with a cleaner layout that emphasizes white space, refined typefaces, and eye-catching photography.

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Airport Food Gets an Upgrade

Airport Food

Gone are the days of rushing through security and jumping straight onto your flight—you can thank the TSA for that. “Travelers are spending more time in airports than ever,” says Frank Sickelsmith, vice president of restaurant development for HMS Host, one of two major firms that turn airports into epicurean hangouts. The upside? “Now they can have a full sit-down meal instead of grabbing and going.” And that’s where innovators like Sickelsmith come in.

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Best New Food Apps and Websites

Food Apps: Viator

Looking to book a Shanghai street-food tour or a Provençal cooking class? Let these new food apps and sites take care of the legwork.

Best For Tailored Recommendations: Peek

Like an OpenTable for guided activities and food crawls, Peek (free; iOS) provides direct booking service straight from the app or website. Its real strength lies in its carefully curated content—all outings are vetted by Peek staff or trusted tastemakers. Take a quick personality quiz for customized suggestions.

Why Foodies Love It: Unique offerings—a dinner cruise on the Thames in London; a coffee plantation visit in Maui—are the rule, not the exception.

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Napa Valley Celebrates the Arts All Month Long

Napa Valley Arts Festival

This month the country’s famed wine region hosts Napa Valley Arts in April, complete with pop-up exhibits, special tastings, and exclusive events at area wineries—many of which have permanent world-class art collections.  A few highlights: A free tour of Silverado Vineyards’ collection of Belle Epoche posters and plein air paintings (April 10, 17); the Yountville Art, Sip, & Stroll, with works from 50 regional artists (April 12); and “Celebrating Woodstock,” a special exhibit of photos celebrating the 45th anniversary of the iconic music event, on view at Markham Vineyards (opens April 19). Click here for a complete line-up.

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

Photo courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

Packing Tips: Maximize Your Wardrobe With Convertible Clothing

Convertible Clothing: Dresses

Q: I’m headed to Napa for a food festival and need to keep my luggage light (so I have plenty of room for edible souvenirs!). How can I maximize my travel wardrobe? —Rebecca Wasserman, via e-mail

A: Two words: convertible clothing. These pieces work double- or even triple-duty, wherever you roam.

This two-sided silk dress (pictured) can go glam for cocktail hour (just add heels and sparkling accessories). $349, Durga-Kali.

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Can I Pack Duty-Free Alcohol in my Carry-On?

duty-free alcohol

As a general rule, yes, as long as you keep your items in the sealed plastic bag from Duty Free. Some countries (South Africa and Argentina included) will confiscate liquids over 3.4 ounces in secondary, at-gate security checks; duty-free items, however, should be exempt. Until recently, if you had a connecting flight in the European Union or the U.S., you would have to either stow your purchases in your checked bag as you switched planes or toss them. But the introduction of new liquid scanners in the EU and the relaxing of such rules in the States (thank you, TSA) mean that you can now carry these items on board.

Related Links:
Travel Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
Trip Doctor: How to Bring Back Food Souvenirs
Craziest Travel Confessions

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

How Long is Too Long to Linger at a Table?

lingering in a restaurant

Most good restaurants in the United States expect to turn over a table two to three times each night—that means they anticipate a party of two will stay for about an hour and 45 minutes (four-tops are usually allotted two hours). So once you’ve paid your bill, try not to spend the next hour nursing your final sip of wine. Internationally, diners enjoy a more leisurely pace. In Italy, for instance, experts say it’s virtually impossible to overstay your welcome. In countries from Australia and China to Argentina, meals typically run a full two to three hours. If you don’t know the protocol, look to the waitstaff for cues. They’ll let you know when your time’s up.

Related Links:
Travel Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
Worldwide Guide to Restaurant Tipping
Craziest Travel Confessions

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

Food as a Jet Lag Cure

food as a jet lag cure

Q: Are there any foods that will help me fight jet lag? —George Frank, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A: Even more than foreign-transaction fees and data-roaming charges, jet lag is the bane of international travelers. Resetting your internal clock to a new time zone can be a days-long process. Fortunately, there are ways to ease yourself onto a new schedule—and what you eat and drink can play a key role.

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