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FAA Investigates Near Collision Between Jetliners Over Hawaii

The Federal Aviation Authority is investigating claims of a near collision between two passenger planes over Hawaii last month.

Apparently, on April 25th, a United Airlines flight dropped 600 feet in order to avoid an oncoming U.S. Airways flight. At just two miles apart, the planes could have collided within twelve seconds due to their speeds.

The incident went under the radar until this week, when passenger Kevin Townsend published an essay on the subject. Now, the FAA and both airlines are cooperating to investigate the close call.

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.

Ecuador Declares Environmental Emergency in Galapagos

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A cargo ship that ran aground last week prompted Ecuador's government to declare an environmental emergency yesterday.

Nineteen-thousand gallons of fuel have already been removed from the Galapaface I, stranded off of San Cristobal island, but the environmental ministry's statement highlights the continued threat from the remaining cargo, including chemical products and bilge water.

In effect for 180 days, the declaration opens up federal resources to remove both the dangerous products and the ship itself.

Thankfully, the government's fast response has minimized any potentially disastrous effects, leaving the island's unique ecosystem relatively unscathed. Here's hoping the cleanup process remains so successful.

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 Ralph Lee Hopkins

Daily Transporter: Frank Lloyd Wright Walking Tour

flw architect

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, a National Historic Landmark. To celebrate, the FLW Trust’s annual walking tour of Chicago’s Oak Park suburb—usually a multi-architect survey—has become ALL WRIGHT. The sold-out weekend event features interior tours of private and public works of the influential architect and designer.

See Oak Park in America’s Most Beautiful Neighborhoods

Editor’s Picks: Arts + Culture
America’s Coolest Houses
World’s Most Beautiful Museums
World’s Most Beautiful Universities

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.

Google's Self-Driving Car Makes The Road Trip of Tomorrow

201405-hd-google-self-driving-carjpgSomewhere in Google’s hometown in Mountain View, California, there is a car navigating the suburban streets without a driver. 

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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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Foursquare Launches New App Swarm For Global Networking

foursquare_appjpgYesterday Foursquare pushed its new app, Swarm, to the iTunes and Google Play stores, revealing to the world what it had been teasing for weeks: a tool to help you connect with friends globally, in a way that’s more socially-driven than the Foursquare we’ve long known and loved. Swarm differs from Foursquare by focusing on interactions, and not solitary check-ins or points, which were hardly being used in the competitive, socially-charged way that had once been intended.

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Travel For Teachers Program Offers Discounted Stays for Summer Break

201405-hd-travel-for-teachersjpgWith the school year winding down, kids of all ages are counting the days until summer vacation. But when the last bell rings, no one’s more deserving of a little rest and relaxation than the teachers.

For the second year in a row, Austin-based website bedandbreakfast.com is honoring these educators’ hard work by offering them a host of discounted summer getaways.

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Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Opens

Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

There’s a noteworthy new spot worth considering for your next weekend getaway. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, set on a bluff above Palm Springs and California’s Coachella Valley, has thrown open its doors again today after a seven-year closure (you can thank the financial crisis for the delayed debut).

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Marriott's New PlusPoints Will Turn Your Tweets into Loyalty Points

201405-hd-marriott-pluspoints-socialjpgSocial media engagement has become increasingly valuable to hotel brands and travel companies—look no further than our own SMITTY Award winners—but today, Marriott is becoming the first company to place a real dollar value on customers’ tweets, check-ins, and likes. With PlusPoints, a new feature of the brand’s much loved rewards program, visitors who download the Marriott Rewards app and synch their social media accounts will now see their points balances increase with every digital interaction—up to 2,000 points each month. Says Rich Toohey, VP of Marriott Rewards, “It’s a way to provide immediate gratification for our members, who happy to be very active on social media channels.” Immediate is right: most interactions (geo-tagged Instagram pics; Facebook comments; check-ins and tweets) will yield an automatic deposited of 25 points to your Marriott Rewards account, while one-time activities, such as liking a property page on Facebook, will boost your balance by 250 points.

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World Premiere Caps 50th Anniversary Season of New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center

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Throughout 2013-14, New York City Ballet has celebrated its 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in grand style, with 50 ballets, some classic repertory, some new works.  To cap off the season, the company brings gives the world premiere of Everywhere We Go, a ballet commissioned from two impressive talents: choreographer and NYCB dancer Justin Peck and the American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, who has supplied the score.  The work runs in repertoire through May.

Mario Mercado is Travel + Leisure's Arts Editor.

Photo by Paul Kolnik

Four New Apps Make Google Glass a Traveler's Best Friend

201405-hd-google-glass-for-traveljpgPop up notifications about your flight status. Instant visual translations. Directions to your hotel within seconds of your asking. Google Glass has been targeting travelers for months, with an arsenal of tools that intend to get you looking away from your smart phone and around at world. Today, the company is making a bigger push than ever into the travel space, with the release of three new apps that any jetsetter will no doubt recognize—TripIt, Foursquare, and OpenTable—plus a smart re-release of the exploration tool, Field Trip, which now lets you ask for sightseeing suggestions based on its eclectic catalogue of local sites and venues.

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Jet-Set Like Brangelina Without Breaking the Bank

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Lyft Introduces New Premium Cab-on-Call Service

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There’s a new ride in town, though you may recognize it by its signature facial hair. Lyft Plus, a new premium offering by Uber’s quirky, mustachioed competitor, is now piloting service in San Francisco before rolling out to all of its 60 cities coast to coast. As the name would suggest, the new model offers a more souped-up cab-on-call experience--while there’s nary a Mercedes-Benz in sight, the premium experience features custom-outfitted Ford Explorers, each decked out with custom under-car LED lights, 20-inch sport wheels, quilted leather seats for six, and (our favorite) Spotify Premium access. It’s less expensive that Uber Black by about a 20% margin, and roughly twice the cost of a regular Lyft ride, running $3.00 a mile or fifty cents a minute. As for the token mustache found on all of Lyft’s regular cars? You’ll find it affixed onto the grille in brushed steel—trés classy.
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.

Photo courtesy of Lyft

Stephen Colbert's Favorite Things to Do in Charleston

Stephen Colbert

Long before he agreed to take over as host of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert was just another Charleston boy—swimming, fishing, and skateboarding down the quiet streets of what he recalls as a “sleepy Southern town.” Today, the South Carolina city is still one of his favorite vacation spots. Read on for Colbert’s down-home haunts.

Stay: Growing up, Colbert helped his mother run a now-defunct B&B in their house in the South of Broad neighborhood. “Back then, if I booked a guest, I got ten percent. A kid could have a whole weekend of fun on fifteen bucks.” Hotels he remembers from boyhood: the Francis Marion Hotel ($)—with views of the harbor—and 1853’s Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel ($).

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Daily Transporter: Istria's Truffle Season

adriatic

After Italian soldiers discovered truffles growing on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula during WWII, the prized fungus found its way into the regional cuisine. When white truffles are in season (mid-September to mid-December), the Istrian beaches empty out and the focus of 800 licensed truffle hunters, and thousands of amateurs, shifts to the forest.

See Istria in Europe’s Secret Hot Spots

Editor’s Picks: Istria
Best Life-Changing Trips
Best Places to Rebound
Wackiest Cruise Shore Excursions

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: David Alexander Arnold

A Sweet Stop for Art in Brooklyn

201405-hd-kara-walker-sculpture-pulled-backjpgSince 1974, Creative Time has been bringing innovative art to the public from New York to Hanoi. This spring, chief curator Nato Thompson commissioned artist Kara E. Walker to create a monumental work appropriately titled A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.

Tucked away, just off the beaten path in New York’s favorite hipster haven: Williamsburg Brooklyn, you’ll find a procession of fifteen 5-foot-tall molasses and resin boys carrying baskets and bananas towards Walker’s piéce de resistance—a 35.5 foot tall and 75.5 foot long sphinx made with 80 tons of sugar. A pungently sweet smell hangs throughout the space, and contributes to the arrestingly evocative work.

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New Ferry Service Reconnects Maine to Nova Scotia

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On May 15th, a new ferry service will begin making daily trips between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

With a capacity of 1,215 passengers, the MV Nova Star isn't exactly your average ferry though. Shipboard amenities include multiple restaurants—seafood will feature prominently—an art gallery, casino, and full-service spa.

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Spring For Music Plays Final Notes

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This year marked the end of Spring for Music, the annual, week-long series of performances by visiting North American orchestras at Carnegie Hall—New York cultural life will be a poorer without it. 

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AirBnB Introduces Last-Minute Booking

Airbnb

AirBnB is taking a page out of the HotelTonight handbook today, opening their network of apartment rentals to the last-minute market. But unlike every other booking tool for spontaneous travelers, this one’s not focused on markdowns. Says an AirBnB spokesperson, the new feature responds to a “lifestyle shift” among travelers, who are more willing than ever to plan getaways on the fly. But it’s also thanks to an increasing number of AirBnB listings featuring “instant booking,” a one-click checkout system that requires no back-and-forth messaging between the traveler and host (the company says they’re up to 90,000 such listings, from just 30,000 last year).

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China Considers High-Speed Railway to U.S.

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If a fear of international flights has long kept you from exploring China's Great Wall or visiting Xi’an’s famed terracotta soldiers, it's time to reconsider your boycott on traveling abroad—a high-speed railroad may soon connect Beijing to the United States.

The Bejing Times reports Chinese officials are currently in talks to construct an 8,000-mile railway connecting north-east China to the United States. The proposed route would cross Siberia, and then cut through Alaska and Canada before entering into the continental US. With trains traveling 220 miles per hour, it would take passengers approximately two days to complete the full trip.

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Daily Transporter: Re-seeding the Great Barrier Reef

coral like jewels

When the Great Barrier Reef's coral spawned last year, scientists harvested enough sperm samples to start a cryogenically frozen coral sperm bank. They hope to use it to replenish failing reefs in the future. (Since 1985, 50% of the GBR's coral has been lost to disease, cyclones, and pollution, among other causes.)

See the Great Barrier Reef in Fastest Disappearing Natural Wonders

Editor’s Picks: Great Barrier Reef
World’s Best Islands
World’s Coolest Helicopter Rides
Great Adventure Cruises

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

Swimming with Australia's Whale Sharks

201404-hd-western-australia-shark-bellyjpgGentle giants aren't only bound to fairytales and bedtime stories. Western Australia’s Whale Shark season has officially commenced in the Ningaloo Marine Park, giving travelers the opportunity to swim with the graceful creatures until late July.

World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef as one of the most accessible and reliable places in the world to swim with whale sharks. There’s no doubt that many travelers will be crossing this experience off their bucket lists this summer.

It’s the goal of Western Australia's tourism organizations to keep the species happy and continuing to grow up to 60 feet in length. With these conservation efforts in mind, part of the fee visitor’s pay for tours, goes towards protection and research. 

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Bespoke Tour Company Audley Travel Launches in the U.S.

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The U.K.-based Audley Travel, known for creating bespoke vacations in more than 80 countries, recently launched in the U.S., with a new website and an office in Boston. Every trip is completely tailor-made with the help of what the company calls Country Specialists, who act as concierges and hand pick experiences, hotels, restaurants, guides, and more.

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the NYC World's Fair

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More than two thousand visitors, near and far made the trek to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York last month for a special, limited public viewing of the New York State Pavilion’s interior. 

The rusting monument, designed by acclaimed architect Philip Johnson for the World’s Fair, was recently recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Daily Transporter: Washington Monument Reopens

washington monument

Washington goes Wonka—twelve lucky followers of the Department of the Interior's Instagram feed have been chosen as winners. The prize? To be among the first to the top of the Washington Monument on May 12, its reopening day, so they can document the festivities on their own feeds.

See the Washington Monument in America’s Most Beautiful Landmarks

Editor’s Picks: Washington, D.C.
Best Indian Restaurants in the U.S.
America’s Best Spring Drives
America’s Best Margaritas

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: Yosemite

glorious national park view

Cameras mounted on unmanned drones have found a place in nature photographer’s arsenal (case in point: this breathtaking GoPro video taken at Arches NP in Moab) but as of last week, the National Park Service has banned the use of drones inside vast Yosemite, saying that they disrupt both peace and emergency services.

See Yosemite in World’s Scariest Hikes

Editor’s Picks: Yosemite
Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List
Super-Short Travel Disaster Stories
Great National Park Lodges

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: Little Big Cat

dreamy puss

Last week, guests at Kenya’s Olare Mara Kempinski safari camp didn’t need to join game drives to see lions up close—a lioness gave birth to two cubs under the platform of one of the luxury camp’s twelve tents.

See Masai Mara in Best Life-Changing Trips

Editor’s Picks: Kenya Game Parks
World’s Greatest Animal Migrations
World’s Most Romantic Sunsets
World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions

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

Prabal Gurung Designs Uniforms for All Nippon Airways

201404-hd-prabal-gurung-designed-all-nippon-airlines-uniformjpg

Prabal Gurung’s latest designs are hitting the runway — the airport runway, that is. The designer and FLOTUS favorite recently designed uniforms for Japanese airline All Nippon Airways. Now, cabin attendants and ground staff will be decked in en vogue attire.

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A Kid's Guide to New Orleans

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New Orleans is famous for bar-lined Bourbon Street and the Mardi Gras celebrations along it. But is it a family getaway? Liz Vilardi and Nick Zappia, owners of Cambridge, Massachuetts restaurants Belly wine bar and The Blue Room, decided to find out with their five year old son, Lucian.

Here, Liz shares Lucian's Guide to New Orleans:

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Discovery Channel Founder John Hendricks on His New Colorado Resort

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After Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks landed on an unspoiled corner of Colorado’s red-rock country to call his own, he just couldn’t keep the secret. His sprawling family retreat became Gateway Canyons Resort, made up of two lodges and 14 luxurious casitas. It’s also where Hendricks hosts TED Talk–like, five-​night Curiosity Retreats, where activities are led by special guests such as violinist Charles Yang and Master Sommelier Larry Stone. We spoke to Hendricks about his love for the land, his new role as innkeeper, and more.

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