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National Park Week Launches Tomorrow With Free Entrance All Weekend

201404-hd-national-park-week-bryce-canyon.jpg

Tomorrow marks the start of National Park Week (April 19-27), and to celebrate, the country’s 400-plus parks are waiving entrance fees all weekend long. It’s a big year for the National Park Service, with milestone anniversaries (Yosemite turns 150 this year; Rocky Mountain National Park is 100) and important developments (including major renovations to Yellowstone’s oldest hotel).

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Best New Cars for Road Trips from the 2014 NYC Auto Show

The 2014 New York International Auto Show opens today, and it’s stocked with new cars and models that are sure to push your next road trip into high gear. Standouts include the 2015 Jeep Renegade, inspired by the original Jeep Wrangler; the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, another small SUV, complete with a built-in WiFi hotspot; the redesigned Camry with improved handling for quick turns; Chevrolet’s new 625-horsepower ZO6 Convertible; and the 50th anniversary Ford Mustang, which was reconstructed piece by piece on 86th floor of the Empire State Building. See these cars and more in person—the auto show at the Javits Center is open through Sunday, April 27th.

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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Daily Transporter: Tobago

tobago beach

The 5th annual Tobago Jazz Festival runs April 19-27 with a wide range of jazz and non-jazz attractions that includes Earth, Wind & Fire, Keyshia Cole, and John Legend. Don't miss next Tuesday’s Buccoo Goat and Crab Races, an 89-year-old tradition.

See Tobago in Best Affordable Caribbean Resorts

Editor’s Picks: Trinidad and Tobago

Best Caribbean Islands for Foodies
Beautiful Beach Photos
World’s Top Revolving Restaurants

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

Airlines Grapple with Social Media This Week

It's been a rough week for airlines on social media.

After a Dutch teenager jokingly tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines—she has since been arrested—the air carrier is now fielding dozens of other fake bomb threats over Twitter.

Meanwhile, U.S. Airways, is in crisis mode after it accidentally included a pornographic picture in one of its tweets. Even though the airline deleted the Tweet soon after, the image had already gone viral, with thousands of responders mocking U.S. Airways.

One bright spot: Southwest Airlines had a hit with its stand-up comic flight attendant delivering one of the coolest safety briefings we've ever heard. (Watch video above.) If you're going to go viral, that's the way to do it. 

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.

 

 

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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CheapAir Becomes First OTA To Introduce Railway Reservations

Cheap Air

I’ve long loved Rome 2 Rio as a transportation guide: it tells you every possible way to get from Point A to Point B, and offers in-line prices and itineraries. Since I started using it, I’ve realized just how efficient train travel can be—factor in security lines and early airport arrivals, and the train can take less time than flying, depending on where you’re going. For the first time, an OTA is in agreement, as CheapAir has announced today that it will be integrating Amtrakrailway reservations into its flight search system. Now, when you search for routes connecting, say, New York and Boston, you’ll see airfares interspersed with train routes, so you can compare prices and schedules. Better yet, you can mix and match airfares and train reservations, so that you can capitalize on a discounted international flight that leaves from a city a few hours away. 

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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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Souvenir-Worthy Kitchen Tools From Around the World

Kitchen Tool: Tagine

Why does a cooking tool make a great souvenir? Because every time you use it, you relive your trip. Try to guess each item’s place of origin.

1. If you’re a nonna making potato dumplings in this boot-shaped nation, you might employ a macchinetta per gnocchi to create the signature indentations.

2. In the Land of Smiles, sticky rice steamers are used to achieve that tender-yet-chewy goodness; serve the rice with khao soi curry.

3. A must-have tool in an island nation obsessed with green tea? The chasen, or bamboo whisk, for blending the powdered matcha into hot water.

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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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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

Hotel Brand Trends

Hotel Brands: Hyatt Ziva

Booking a hotel these days can be overwhelming: new names are appearing alongside established ones, and they’re competing for your attention, your dollars, and, above all, your loyalty. T+L has the scoop on the latest trends to help you find the one that’s right for you.

Hotel Brand Trends

A closer look at the innovations that will shape your next hotel stay.

Tech-Friendly Retreats: Starwood’s Aloft is piloting Apple TV’s at its Cupertino, California, property and will soon offer remote mobile check-in at dozens of its hotels. Not to be outdone, Conrad is raising the bar with its Conrad Concierge app, which lets guests book hotel services remotely, be it airport pickup or the timing of their dinner. Mandarin Oriental will soon be rolling out DVR’s and HD Internet TV’s in its guest rooms. Peninsula, meanwhile, remains unmatched for its customized in-room tablets, introduced at the Hong Kong flagship, with everything from temperature controls to flight schedules.

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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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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

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

Video: Chile Wildfire Causes Evacuations in Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Local reports say there are 12 dead, 2,000 houses destroyed, and more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from Valparaiso, a UNESCO world heritage site. Watch the video for details.

Related Links:
Fastest Disappearing Natural Wonders
The World's Most Pristine Forests
World's Most Colorful Cities

Gastrologik's New Nordic Cuisine

Gastrologik's New Nordic Cuisine

In the heart of Stockholm’s chic Östermalm district, Gastrologik dishes out refined new nordic cuisine.

“The potato is worth exactly as much as the truffle. It is not nature that decides what’s good or bad, it’s you and me.” When I read this quirky statement on the Gastrologik website, I knew I was in for a memorable dinner.

Run by chef-owners Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr, Gastrologik focuses on the restrained elegance of Scandinavian design (blond Danish wood; clean lines; handmade cutlery) and the freshest local ingredients. The six-course tasting menu is one of the most harmonious—extravagantly inventive, yet respectful of traditions—I’ve ever tasted. Crab might be served with sunchoke and horseradish cream, whipped, frozen, and grated on top; oysters, with birch-sap vinegar and ground-elder jelly. “A carrot in June does not taste the same as a carrot in September, and it would be a shame to cook it the same way,” Holmström explains. “You have to be able to change your menu every day. Our guests get a piece of paper reading, ‘Let today’s produce decide.’ Every dish is a surprise.”

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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

Daily Transporter: Underwater Easter

mosque

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace has come up with a new twist on the traditional Easter egg hunt. Guests at the over-the-top hotel will snorkel through the recently opened underwater sculpture garden to find hidden treasures.

More Spring Travel Ideas

Editor’s Picks: Abu Dhabi
See Abu Dhabi in World's Coolest Futuristic Buildings
and Buildings Shaped Like Animals
and World's Scariest Roller Coasters

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

Photo of the Grand Mosque courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Coachella

glowing hula hoops

Coachella, the 15-year-old music festival that runs this weekend and next, has inspired a 30-day diet and workout regimen to help you endure the rigors of the desert as well as the revealing clothing necessary for concert-going. Can't find the perfect skimpy/glam/gypsy get-up for this year's event? Catch the live stream of the proceedings from your non-judgmental sofa instead.

See Coachella in 25 Selfies You Have to Take this Year

Editor’s Picks: Palm Springs
See Palm Springs in America's Coolest Desert Towns
And Best Places to Travel in 2014
And Best Spring Break 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

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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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

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.

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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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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How to Fold a Towel Origami Swan

towel origami

We admit it: we’ve always had a fondness for so-corny-they’re-cute towel animals. Samson Macwan, a butler at Sandals Emerald Bay, in the Bahamas, shows how to create a conversation piece.

1. Hold bath towel lengthwise, tucking center under chin. Roll sides tightly at an angle toward center to form a scroll with a pointed tip.

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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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Daily Transporter: Sayulita

beautiful beach kids

Mexcaltitán, a man-made island in a lagoon on the Nayarit coast, is thought to be the ancestral home of the Aztecs. Mexico gave it a Pueblo Mágico designation which can occasionally lure tourists away from the area’s enchanting beaches (like Sayulita, pictured here) for a visit.

See Sayulita in World’s Coolest Rental Homes

Editor’s Picks: Riviera Nayarit
Best Mexico Beach Resorts
World’s Sexiest Affordable Destinations
World’s Most Romantic All-Inclusive Resorts

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

Photo: Anne Menke

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

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

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