Q: We are hotel-hopping through europe and we want to be prepared for mixed weather. any suggestions for lightweight outerwear? —Julia Stuopelis, via e-mail
A: Your best option for a fickle forecast: gear that packs into a pocket or pouch (see video below). Here, easy-to-stash coats and boots that offer protection from the elements or can be tossed into a tote or backpack during bouts of sunshine. Clockwise from left:
When it comes to hotel gratuities, even the most seasoned travelers admit to being stumped. That’s why we’ve put together this handy cheat sheet below, which you can take with you the next time you’re on the road.
Bellman: $1 to $2 per bag.
Concierge: $10 to $20 for performing a special service, such as scoring tickets to a sold-out event or wrangling lost luggage from your airline.
Doorman: $2 for hailing a cab in rush hour or in the rain; $1 for each bag.
Housekeeping: $5 to $10 per day. Leave it at the front desk if you want it divided equally among all your housekeepers.
Room Service: A service charge is almost always included in the bill. To personally thank your server, 5 percent will suffice.
Valet: $5 when your car is delivered.
Free Town-Car Service: Because they’re providing a complimentary amenity, drivers are instructed not to expect tips. However, it’s not uncommon for travelers to offer a gratuity. The minimum starts around $5 and goes up as the distance increases. While chauffeurs are generally making above-market wages, they still appreciate being recognized for going the extra mile—literally.
Note: Gratuities are often lower or not expected outside North America. Follow local tipping customs when traveling overseas.
Jennifer Flowers is the Travel News Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar with thousands of Buddhist temples and stupas dotting the landscape—and a place that I was lucky enough to visit last December—has put a halt on new hotels while the government applies for UNESCO World Heritage status.
If you’re looking for some travel inspiration this spring, get thee to New York’s Boulud Sud, where Executive Chef Travis Swikard just launched a series of special dinners highlighting the global cuisines he’s obsessed with now—Israel, Greece, Sicily, the Cote d’ Azur, and more (get tickets here). In the meantime, I asked him to share the highlights of his recent culinary adventures in Catalonia and Basque Country.
We love this new book from celebrated Japanese food artist Tama-chan. A photo-anthology of her works, Smiling Sushi Roll showcases sushi at its most whimsical. While not all of the rolls themselves are smiling—a shockingly accurate copy of Edvard Munch's The Scream, for example, is not—readers certainly will be when they flip through the pages. The text is in Japanese, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Especially when it's a picture of a sushi tyrannosaurus.
Just back from the African country’s dramatic sand dunes and wildlife-filled reserves, T+L deputy editor Laura Begley Bloom shares a few of her favorite finds.
Most Memorable Sundowner: Here I am, having an end-of-day drink while at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge($$$$), in the Kaokoveld—known for its rare desert elephants and black rhinos.
The Sands of Sossusvlei: Full disclosure: I didn’t quite make it to the top of Dune 45. We stayed nearby at Little Kulala($$$$$), where I coveted the ostrich eggshell chandeliers, below, and bought this recycled glass necklace.
Local Souvenir: Wood-and-seed earrings from Okahirongo, where I also got the best wakeup call on the trip: an elephant purring just outside my window.
Top View: Watching animals gather around the watering hole at Onguma The Fort($$$), a hotel near Etosha National Park.
In this week's travel news round-up, Disney launches its smart travel app, Airbnb is on the rise for business travelers, and we recap the controversy over the Picasso curtain at the Four Seasons Restaurant, New York.
Waiting in queue at New York City's Empire State Building just got a whole lot more enjoyable, thanks to a new interactive multimedia tour. User-friendly, social-media-connected, and highly informative, the experience teaches visitors the ins and outs of the historic high-rise.
Bringing a decidedly luxurious edge to an educational travel package, Belmond Charleston Place is offering a midweek stay that includes a lesson in plastering, an art revered in a town that values historic preservation.
Mount Everest gets all the credit, but Hawaii's Mauna Kea (an idle volcano that's been around for, you know, a million years) is technically the world's tallest mountain. Technically. While it stands 13,800 ft above sea level, more than two thirds of the hill is actually submerged underwater, which brings the total height to 33,136 ft.
Best part of that mathematical sleight of hand is that you can get to the top of Mauna Kea without training, oxygen masks, or even having to ask a dude to carry your fanny pack. All you have to do is sign up for this tour and hop on a mini-coach.
Q: I take a lot of business trips. what pieces travel best? —Janet Dewitt, Highland Park, Tex.
A: For a classic shape, we love the wrinkle-free shirtdress (pictured; $330) from Elizabeth Roberts—the fabric is nylon, so it’s lightweight, dries fast, and is virtually indestructible. Knits tend to stay wrinkle-free— this knee-length skirt ($445) and top ($195) by Wolford will take you through all manner of meetings. A sheath is fitting for day-to-night negotiations; roll up the cherry-red stretch version ($415) from David Meister for extra packability.
Plus: Our Secret Weapons
Roll-on fragrances are ideal for your carry-on. Try Elizabeth and James’s Nirvana Black ($22), with sandalwood and vanilla; Kate Spade’s citrusy Live Colorfully Eau de Parfum ($24); fresh and woody Marchesa Parfum D’Extase ($25); or Tory Burch’s namesake scent ($25).
The Esteam by Jiffy Steamer ($75)is the T+L style department’s de-wrinkler of choice. The best part? It heats up in less than two minutes.
New York City's Guggenheim Museum has raised the curtain on the future—and it's very big and very particular. Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe, organized by curator Vivien Greene, brings together more than 360 works of art, including documents and a wide range of objects, from around the world to reveal a largely unknown but dynamic and ambitious aesthetic movement of the first half of the 20th century.
There’s only one rule to keep in mind when traveling: If you don't take photos, it didn’t happen. (That, and don’t drink the tap water.) An un-Instagrammed Eiffel Tower may as well not even exist—or, at least, you didn't see it. Yes, travel pics are important.
But what are the most popular shots travelers snap while traipsing the globe? Sightsmap recently used data from a Google-powered photo-sharing app to calculate the most captured spots, right down to the specific landmark. Here are the top 10.
The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi—six-time World's Best Award-winner and perennial Santa Fe favorite—is debuting a new look this week after a total renovation of the guestrooms.
Designed by the same firm that built the Inn's interiors 22 years ago, the rooms now boast brighter, earth-toned walls and local terracota ceramics. Bathrooms, previously done up in green, have quartz counters and white porcelain tiles. Not everything is new, however. the kiva-style gas fireplaces located in each of the property's 58 rooms? Thankfully, they are staying.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is calling on fliers to donate extra airline loyalty miles in a month-long, national campaign. Communications Manager Josh DeBerge calls airline miles one of the organization's "most critical resources," and for good reason. Each year, it grants wishes to 14,000 children with life-threatening diseases. Ranging from "being a cowboy," to "seeing pineapples grow," nearly 75 percent of wishes require air travel, and the foundation needs 2.5 billion frequent flier miles annually.
The miles campaign leads up to World Wish Day on April 29th, and since most wishes occur during the summer, every mile donated in the spring makes a difference. Supporters can visit wish.org/miles for more information.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Gary Shteyngart takes on Los Angeles’ restaurants and eats his way through the best food in the city right now.
I’m East Coast through and through, but I’m not ashamed to say it: I love L.A. My first encounter with the mega-megalopolis took place at the advanced age of 30. A college friend of mine had a cousin who rented a place by the beach. Which particular beach, I do not recall, but the path to the sands was lined with giant swaths of bougainvillea, which made me think for just a brief moment that I was in southern France. That notion was dispelled when we reached the beach, which abutted a body of water that was no mere Mediterranean. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, had understood its vastness only on childhood maps. Made placid by the better portion of a bottle of California Chardonnay, I walked into the moonlit water, bent down, and slapped the onrushing waves. Somewhere up (or down) the coast, an enormous industrial building, a waste-processing plant, perhaps, smoked its way deep into the night. But I refused to let go of the moment’s magic, because that lump of ugliness amid the grandeur of the Pacific was Southern California too. I continued to walk into the ocean, the water dark blue around my legs, the temperature, as always, perfectly set to sixty-eight degrees, my gaze resolutely drawn toward Asia in the infinite distance. And I thought: Oh, this isn’t so bad.
Napa Valley Wine tastings. A Provençal cooking class. Dinner from a celebrity chef in Mexico. This month’s exclusive deals are guaranteed to make you hungry.
Hamptons: 35% off Greek Revival manor house
Customized Culinary Experience tour includes:
• 2 nights' accommodations in a king room at Topping Rose House(pictured) in the Hamptons, a Greek Revival manor house with 4 ultramodern cottages and a Tom Colicchio restaurant • Scour the property’s farm to create a dinner menu suited to your tastes
Antico Caffe della Pace, an Art Deco landmark off the Piazza Navona, has been the place to spot celebrities since the 19th century. (Woody Allen and Coppola, among others, have used the café as a film location.) A recent plan to close the café was quashed by a number of petitions supporting the “historic and cultural monument.”
There have been a boatload of travel innovations revealed today, and the Trip Doctor news team is pretty excited about them all. Here are a few of our favorites:
Microclimates on a Plane: Soon, passengers flying Virgin America will be able to set the temperature for their immediate surroundings thanks to a new partnership with thermostat company Nest (see video above). Expect the "Nest-controlled microclimates," with temperature settings ranging from "Cancun Afternoon" to "Chicago Polar Vortex," on Boston- and Newark-bound flights from both Los Angeles and San Francisco first, with implementation on all routes completed by the end of 2014.
There are many reasons to visit Savannah, Georgia: its historic architecture, delicious food, and hospitality. If you are a golfer, Hilton Head Island and its courses are only an hour away. But now, while an endless winter keeps its grip on the Northeast, there may be no better reason to visit the gracious city where spring is in full bloom, than the Savannah Music Festival.
Few could argue the fact that New York is one of the most fashionable cities in the world—and thanks to the book New York Bike Style (April 1; $29.95; Prestel), it’s clear that its residents don’t sacrifice their sartorial flair when on two wheels. Brooklyn-based photographer Sam Polcer took to his own teal Lotus 10-speed from the late '80s, seeking out stylish riders across the five boroughs.
One of London’s famous landmarks got a modern spin last week, as Café Royal Hotel—which opened just over a year ago on Regent Street—debuted a front- and back-of-house integration with Apple technology that's intended to streamline its entire operations process. Now, guests staying at the property can check in remotely using an iOS device, be it en route from the airport or over a cup of coffee in the restaurant, rather than having to queue up at the desk.
UNESCO and local masons have begun restoring sacred tombs in Timbuktu that were destroyed by occupying militants in 2012. (The traditional pinasse boats moored here still ferry travelers and goods to and from Timbuktu on the Niger.)
The latest player in the peer-to-peer vacation rental game? The France-based Cosmopolit Home, which is trying to revolutionize a concept they call “nightswapping.” The idea is the brainchild of Serge Duriavig, who, after experiencing some downfalls of home swapping—agreeing on dates, finding accommodations up to his standards—created a new avenue to book free overnight stays.