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Delta Gives Away First-Class Flight Tickets for Staying Powered ON #below10kfeet

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It was just last week that the days of hearing “Please turn off all your electronic devices” on the loudspeaker before flight takeoffs and landings came to an end.

Of course, as with any big change, there has to be a trending hashtag and contest, right?

Delta has rolled out its first contest to award photos taken below 10,000 feet, appropriately using the hashtag: #below10kfeet. They’re encouraging flyers to “take that picture you’ve always wanted during takeoff and submit using Wi-Fi once enabled.” They’ll be putting two First-Class tickets to anywhere in the U.S. up as a prize for the best low-altitude photo taken on a domestic Delta flight.

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New Album Released by Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble

Fifteen years ago, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was already busy with a full and demanding career as a recitalist, a soloist with orchestras, and chamber music, launched the Silk Road Project, a music collective inspired by the cross-cultural exchange along the ancient Silk Road route. As befits an ensemble that performs music diverse in style and from varied musical traditions, the group includes Western classical instruments—violin, cello, double bass—but also features instruments from throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South Asia, and China: Galician bagpipe; a kamancheh, a Persian fiddle; tabla or Indian drums; and the pipa, an ancient Chinese plucked string instrument, among others. The aim was to foster contemporary music, incorporating varied and established traditions, and that they have.

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New Published Travel Journals by William P. Rayner Chronicle Tales from India to Egypt

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William P. Rayner is not a fan of Facebook. His ideal outlet for chronicling his life and travels? Good old-fashioned black sketchbooks. For the last 40-plus years, the trained painter and former writer for Vogue, House & Garden, and Vanity Fair has kept diaries while on the road, filling them with personal reflections and watercolors, plus wine labels, stamps, and other memorabilia. Now, he’s opening them up to the world in the two-volume Notes and Sketches (Glitterati Inc.), one covering North Africa and the Middle East, the other India and Southeast Asia.

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JetBlue Celebrates First Flight to Allow Gate-to-Gate Use of Portable Electronic Devices

A few weeks ago, I was scolded by a flight attendant for switching my iPhone into airplane mode instead of powering off. This week, however, we are living in a world where portable electronic devices can be kept on from take off to touch down. JetBlue celebrated its first PED-approved flight on Friday, allowing gate-to-gate usage from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Buffalo Niagara Airport. The video above captures this moment of joy in air travel history. With both JetBlue and Delta's approval of the policy, we can only imagine that more airlines will follow suit and adopt this tech-friendly stance.

Maria Pedone
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

New Centurion Lounge Opens at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport

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Flight delays and layovers in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just got a lot more bearable—you may even look forward to them—thanks to the new Centurion Lounge, which is setting the standard in the growing independent lounge sector. Entry to the 9,000-square-foot space from American Express (Travel + Leisure's former parent company) is free for Platinum and Centurion members, and $50 for all other American Express cardholders. (This also goes for the original location in Las Vegas, which opened last February.) Here’s what you’ll find inside those signature blue doors:

1. Massages. Facials. Manicures. At the on-site Exhale Spa, 15-minute treatments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Have a long layover? Sign up for one of each.

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Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Getaways

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Among the many words used to describe the holidays, for me, "exhausting" somehow supercedes all that giving and thanks business. As much as I enjoy the tradition of it all, there’s part of me that wants to run far, far away. This is because a) The hours and hours of shopping and re-shopping and clean up and re-clean up and b) Thanksgiving means I have exactly 28 days left to get my act together for Christmas. This year, I'm going to my husband's parents house...again. But there's no harm in daydreaming, right? Here's where I'd take my kids if I ever get the courage to say no to the family mafia.

Avalon, Catalina Island
Biking. Kayaking. Lying on the sand doing absolutely nothing. Catalina Island, off the coast of California, is a postcard-perfect beach escape for families. Make Avalon your base and rent a cottage or waterfront villa for the long weekend. In town, Seaport Bistro and Villa Portofino restaurants are both serving traditional Thanksgiving meals, but you could always hole up in your house and skip it altogether.

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Boston Restaurants Celebrate the Red Sox World Series Win

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All eyes are on Boston this weekend as the city celebrates its World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Red Sox parade on Saturday, the city can expect over a million revelers downtown. That means a million hungry people. Luckily, Boston does not disappoint in the culinary department, and scores of restaurants are stepping up to the plate with Red Sox-themed specials.

Diners at classy-yet-casual Boston Chops can try the new MVP cocktail honoring Big Papi. Made with tequila, jalapeño, cilantro, lime and cucumber, its spicy Latin American flavors pay tribute to Dominican-born David Ortiz. Serving the usual cuts as well as “rarely celebrated” delicacies—oxtail, bone marrow, and heart are all on the menu—Boston Chops has been getting rave reviews both for the food and the friendly service. Don't miss the chimichurri butter sauce.

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Guess Where? Bridge at Night

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Can you guess where this bridge is? Leave your guesses on our Facebook page. Check back on Monday for the answer.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @matthewslyndsey

Photo Courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Mandarin Oriental Jumps on the Free Wi-Fi Bandwagon

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If free Wi-Fi has typically been the exception at luxury hotels, there’s more hope than ever that it will soon be the rule. Case in point: this week, Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi to any guest who books on the mandarinoriental.com website and fills out a guest questionnaire. Why the caveats? The brand is better able to learn about their guests, anticipate their needs, and market to their audience with the help of online profiles, and direct bookings reduce the fees and commissions associated with outside booking vendors. Plus, Mandarin promises to offer the lowest rate on their site—or beat any better deals by a full ten percent. Want the Wi-Fi without the runaround? Try Peninsula, Shangri-La, or Hilton, which recently partnered with AT&T to provide free Internet for many of its guests.

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

Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

HomeAway Launches Luxury Rentals

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Culling the inventory for a high-end getaway on HomeAway—a vacation rental company that lists more than 775,000 properties in 171 countries—just got a little less overwhelming. The Austin-based company has launched Luxury Rentals from HomeAway, a curated collection of villas, estates, and the like geared to customers looking for a more deluxe experience.

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FAA Drops Personal Electronics Restrictions

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it would drop existing restrictions on the use of personal electronics during takeoff and landing, urging airlines to implement the changes on their own timelines.

This means that flyers will soon be able to use their phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets at all stages of the flight, as long as they are set to Airplane Mode.

Last month, as T+L reported, a committee set up by the FAA urged the administration to reconsider the current restrictions, finding them unnecessary from a safety perspective. Originally set in place to prevent electronic devices from interfering with a plane's equipment, the restrictions have come under scrutiny after experts concluded such fears of interference are groundless.

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How to Get a Visa Quickly

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Ever wonder how to get a visa in a hurry? When it comes to visa wrangling, I’m the kind of gal who likes to do hers nice and early. Obviously, that’s not always an option: earlier this month, I had to organize a last-minute work trip to Shanghai in three days.

It had been a while since we’ve covered passport and visa expediting agency Travisa, so I decided to give them a try (the $99 fee seemed a little steep, but I figured it was worth it—one false move on my Chinese visa application and I’d be out of luck). And thank goodness I did: when I arrived at Travisa’s New York office on a recent Wednesday, documents in hand, my case manager identified several crucial mistakes and omissions in my paperwork that would have sent me back to square one. By Friday—the day before my scheduled departure to Asia—I had my passport in my hot little hands.

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"Generous Chocolate Upgrader" Rewards Fliers in Worst Seats with Candy

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Unhappy with your 43B seat assignment? Consider a stopover in Copenhagen or Stockholm, where Anthon Berg Generous Chocolate Upgrader kiosks dole out treats for passengers flying with the worst seats, as rated by website SeatGuru.com.

Travelers simply scan their boarding passes—with the help of an Anthon Berg “stewardesses”—and, voila, the stewardess will give them a "chocolate upgrade." Someone in a middle seat near the bathrooms at the rear of the plane, for example, will walk away with an eye mask, a neck pillow, and a large bar of chocolate. Anyone with an aisle seat towards the front, on the other hand, will receive only a small chocolate sample.

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Howling Good Travel-Inspired Dog Costumes for Halloween

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Halloween (or should we say, howl-o-ween) is tomorrow and we’re taking notice of the best travel costumes this side of the kennel. Jackson, above, will be donning his aviator gear in Healdsburg, CA, according to T+L Twitter follower @Green4Lori. This little guy proves that even if you can’t be a jet setter, you can most certainly dress like one.

Is your pet dressing up this weekend? Show us using the hashtag #TLDogs on Twitter and Instagram—we’ll repost the best! Click here for how we may feature your photos.

Photo courtesy of @Green4Lori

Turkey’s Marmaray Tunnel Links Europe and Asia

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Turkey opened its new tunnel connecting Europe and Asia yesterday. For the first time, travelers can cross the Bosporus Strait (and continents) in roughly four minutes, via the world’s deepest sub-sea tunnel.

This underwater tunnel between the European and Asian shores of Istanbul is the realization of a Sultan’s dream 150 years ago. Now, on the 90th anniversary of Turkey’s independence, it is truly united.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated The Marmaray Rail yesterday, after nearly 10 years and $2.8 billion dollars. The project is far from over, however. The tunnel is only a quarter of what Erdogan calls “a project for whole humanity.”

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Virgin America's New Video Puts a Spin on In-Flight Safety

Virgin America's added a little twist to their in-flight safety video. Grooving nuns, rapping kids, and auto-tuning robots guide you through the airline's safety regulations. This won't be the last dance, either. Virgin America has already posted a casting call on Instagram for future video stars. And if you can't get down with the funk, Virgin America's offer—20% off flights for today only—is sure to make you jump. Simply use the promo code "GETDOWN" upon checkout.

Maria Pedone
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Last Chance: Maine Leaf-Peeping At Its Best

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Fiery red, amber orange, golden yellow—these autumn colors are trademarks of the season, and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway along New England's coast.

Maine’s striking foliage is still in its prime, and just an easy drive from Boston. Pack up the car and course along one of America’s best fall color drives to get there, or opt for a train ride to take in the hues. (Amtrak's Downeaster service departs five times daily from Boston to Portland.) Once you arrive, the fall viewing opportunities take to the sky, literally. Step onto a private plane with The Inn at Brunswick Station, whose “Fall Foliage Flyover” package offers for an hour-long aerial tour of Maine’s coastline. Or, take the Maine Eastern Railroad further north. Passengers will get an eyeful of colorful views on the 57-mile trip along state's scenic Mid-Coast, from Brunswick to Rockland.

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Asbury Park Rebounding One Year After Hurricane Sandy

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This past summer, Asbury Park, New Jersey, was bustling. One never would have guessed that Hurricane Sandy—which hit one year ago this week—had wiped out the entire boardwalk and closed waterfront businesses for the better part of the year.

Downtown Asbury Park has organically sprouted into an urbanized pocket of culture buzzing with locals, foodies, and rockers. Its main thoroughfare, Cookman Avenue, is studded with gastropubs, mom and pop coffee shops, antique furniture stores, art galleries, quirky boutiques, and a newly minted independent movie theatre. A few blocks north lies the legendary rock 'n' roll music venue, The Stone Pony, and Asbury Lanes, a vintage bowling alley from the 1960s that was recently refurbished. Much of the current development momentum owes its success to the initial visionaries who began investing in the commercial district when it was still considered risky territory.

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Cruise Travel Twitter Chat on Wednesday, October 30th

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Love cruising? Are you a ship aficionado or novice? We’re discussing the best new destinations, themes, amenities, and insider travel tips for cruise travel this Wednesday, October 30th from 2-3pm EDT.

Our panel of experts will share the best cabins that they’ve ever stayed in, the new lines and voyages that they’re most excited for, and cruise planning tips. Ask them for their insider advice!

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Harlem's Newest Old Jazz Joint

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Harlem has a new (old) jazz joint. Ever want to get up and groove at a swanky jazz club, but the crowd is too stuffy to dance?

Just head to Minton’s in Harlem, a restoration of the historic Minton’s Playhouse that opened on October 21st.

With three seatings a night, guests can don their best attire (that means jackets only, men), graze on prix-fixe Low Country grub, and share a spontaneous dance in the aisle between the supper club’s two rows of seating.

The new joint lets you enjoy music as you please—just like the renowned jam sessions held at the Minton’s of the 1940's. A mural from the original Minton’s still hangs behind the stage, featuring Hot Lips Page, Charlie Christian, and a sleeping woman that’s supposedly Billie Holiday.

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If a Museum's Admission is "Recommended," Must I Pay it?

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A: According to Harold Holzer, senior vice president for public affairs at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (where the suggested admission is $25), the institution’s pay-as-you-wish policy is in line with its mission to remain fully accessible to the public. So if your income is limited, or you’re just planning to run in quickly to see a single painting, you should not feel obligated to pay the full amount. Holzer does point out, however, that it costs roughly $50 per visitor to run the enormous museum. It’s worth keeping in mind how much you value an institution—and how much it relies on you to continue operating—as you consider what amount you’d like to pay.

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


Photo © Sylvain Sonnet/Corbis

Are Dress Shoes With Jeans Acceptable at Most Restaurants?

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A: Though casualization has largely taken hold worldwide, there are still some restaurants where jackets (if not ties) are required. Avoid jeans at places with two or more Michelin stars, even if no dress code is listed. And don’t forget about the emphasis on smart in “smart casual,” particularly in fashion-forward cities such as Paris and Milan.

4 of 6: The number of New York Times four-star restaurants in New York City that require jackets.

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


Photo by iStockphoto

Guess Where? Bell Tower

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Can you guess where this beautiful sunset was captured? Leave your guesses on our Facebook page. Check back on Monday for the answer.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @matthewslyndsey

Photo Courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

ZÜCA's New Kid-Friendly Carry-On Lets Tykes Take a Seat

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I've always struggled to find a great carry-on—sturdy but not too heavy, functional but not ugly. But finding one to fit my kids' ever-expanding pile of provisions has proven even harder. It's got to be light enough to catch up with a 4-year-old, somewhat attractive, and seriously stain-water-slobber resistant. The new Mini-Carry All by California-based ZÜCA might be just right. Besides the adorable designs, a washable interior, and snack pouch, it has a cozy, built-in seat. This last tricked-out feature is what sold me. How many times have you begged your kid to get up off the airport floor and ended up with a loudly protesting forty-pound carry-on? I'm hoping this won't be the case on our next trip.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of ZÜCA

Ferragamo Opens Fashion Pop-Up Shop in Los Angeles

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In 1923, the driven but humble Salvatore Ferragamo came to Hollywood and became the shoemaker to the stars, cutting his teeth by fitting the weary feet of beautiful film actresses of the day. The love affair with the shoe whisperer and Hollywood continued throughout his career and so it is fitting that the brand has come full circle with a pop-up shop with exclusive goodies for all extremities of fashionable women. The empire has expanded to jewelry, handbags and clothing along with shoes.

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Fly to Australia's Top Spots with a Discount

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Next trip to add to your bucket list for 2014? An adventure to one of Australia’s top destinations.

Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand are offering vistors special fares for an Australian voyage when they visit Go Mighty’s #GoAustralia site.

Register for a “seat” on an Air New Zealand plane and once 332 people register (the number it takes to fill a Boeing 777-300 aircraft), a special discount will be triggered so that each participant will receive a unique coupon code.

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KAYAK Expands Abroad & Releases Holiday Travel Guide

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KAYAK recently announced that it will be expanding its travel search site to eight new markets in the coming weeks. Having already launched in Australia and the Netherlands, the Priceline-owned company also plans to set up in Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Back in the US, KAYAK continues to help us find great deals on airfare and hotels—especially useful as the holiday season sneaks up. The site released their Holiday When to Book & Travel Guide, which breaks down travel tips by each holiday—and warns against waiting to book. According to KAYAK's guide, which is based on millions of queries conducted on the site last year, the cheapest flights can be found between September and mid-October. After mid-October, airfare prices skyrocket 17% for Thanksgiving, 51% for Christmas, and 25% for New Year’s Eve. These numbers hold true for domestic flights—unfortunately, international fares saw no low period during the season.

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Adventure Travel as Only Our Twitter Experts Know It

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Our most recent T+L Twitter Chat covered the best new destinations, gadgets, tour guides, and more for adventure travel. 

We started out by asking our expert panelists where the up-and-coming adventure travel destinations were. Answers ranged from andBeyond visiting “Uganda for gorilla trekking or Sri Lanka for snorkeling with blue whales,” to Absolute Travel sharing how their “travelers want new takes on tried-and-true destinations, like a vintage sidecar ride through Shanghai.”

Dunton Hot Springs keeps it local by having unique adventures in the deserts or mountains, while Butterfield & Robinson is excited about new overseas trips ranging from Chile to Newfoundland. ROW Adventures suggested Manila or Bangkok “for urban adventures. [There’s] nothing like risking your life on a moto-taxi weaving through 10 million people.” 

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New Visitor Center Debuts at Macy's Herald Square

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New York City and Macy’s Herald Square recently unveiled a new Visitor Center, housed inside the world's largest store.

Over the past two years, NYC visitor numbers have broken records, with 52 million in 2012. To help accomodate tourists, one of the city's most-visited (and shopped at) sights, Macy’s Herald Square, has stepped up with partner NYC & Company to unveil a revamped, user-friendly visitor center.

Flanked by curved staircases on either side, the white-tiled mezzanine sits above cosmetic brands like Chanel and Dior. Four touch-screen kiosks resembling giant iPhones allow visitors to plan their next move, with extensive attraction, dining, and nightlife listings. Nine languages are available—including Mandarin and Portuguese—while Google Maps provides step-by-step directions that can be printed on the spot. By Nov. 1st, you'll even be able to purchase attraction tickets (Empire State Building Observatory; Circle Line cruises) directly through the kiosks.

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New Emirates-Virgin America Partnership Allows Frequent Fliers to Earn Miles

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In a boon for frequent fliers on two of this year's World's Best Award-winning airlines, Emirates and Virgin America announced yesterday that members of their loyalty programs can now earn and redeem points and miles on either airline.

Virgin America connects many U.S. destinations to its L.A. and San Francisco hubs, while Emirates serves 135 destinations across the globe, mostly with stopovers in its hub, Dubai. It's expanding fast, too, with new flights between Dubai and Boston, and Brisbane and Manila, as well as between New York's JFK to Milan—the first transatlantic Emirates flight —and the first not to stop in Dubai.

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