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Five Ways to Make Flying Easier

Make Flying Easier

Traveling by air can leave even the most seasoned traveler feeling helpless and trapped by the system. Between security lines and flight delays, there are many things out of our control when flying. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Smart travelers can take several steps before they fly to help solve any problems that creep up.

These five tips will make flying easier, even on the worst days:

Getting the Best Seat

A friend of mine who frequently flies between New York and Johannesburg on a South African Airways Airbus A340-600 always tries to get seat 73D. Why? It doesn't cost any more than other coach seats, but because of an emergency crew hatch on the floor there is no seat 72D. That means extra feet—not inches—of legroom.

How can you find out about such quirks?

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Win a Beach Vacation in Cabo

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After this brutal winter weather, we all deserve a much-needed escape from the cold. Solmar Hotels & Resorts is giving fans the chance to swap out the snow for the beautiful, white-sand beaches of Cabo instead.

Facebook users are encouraged to share the featured photo on the Solmar Hotels & Resorts Facebook page, using the hashtag #SnowDayAtSolmar for a chance to kick back in Playa Solmar.

Now through Wednesday, February 19th, you can participate in the “Snow Day at Solmar” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Mexico getaway. Sounds like the perfect Valentine's Day gift (hint, hint).

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

Photo credit: Grand Solmar Land's End Resort & Spa

 

Villa and Vacation Rental Twitter Chat on Tuesday, February 11

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Vacation rentals can let you live like a local (if only temporarily). From agencies doubling as on-the-ground concierages to tips for first time swappers, we'll be discussing the dos and don'ts of vacation rentals with experts this Tuesday, February 11th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Ask them for their insider advice!

The Host:

Brooke Porter Katz, T+L Associate Editor, @TLTripDoctor

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How High-Design Makes Travel Better

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Innovative and clever design can make a travel experience more experiential, memorable, and easier overall. Whether it's a high-design destination or a new airport terminal, we discussed the latest in design and travel with the experts in a recent Twitter chat.

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Take the Kids to Cape Cod for Winter Break

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Winter break has a way of sneaking up on parents anyway, but a couple of snow days spent shooing kids away from computer screens makes the spectre of another long stretch of empty days at home unthinkable.

Arriving on the scene like a spandex-clad superhero is Cape Cod’s Sea Crest Beach Hotel. The recently renovated low-rise beachfront property ticks all the boxes for a winter family stay:

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Flying With Skis

Flying with Skis

Q: Any advice on flying with skis? —Hitomi Ueda, via e-mail

A: Most airlines treat a collection of sporting equipment as a single piece of checked luggage—so your skis, poles, and boots count as only one item, not three. We recommend Park Accessories, a new line of bags made with Italian coated canvas. Shown: the Northern Lights, which holds two pairs of skis ($1,150).

Related Articles:
Lake Tahoe Ski Vacation 2.0
Video: Behind the Scenes at Vail Mountain
How to Get Through Airport Security Faster

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 Park Accessories

Is London the Next Foodie Mecca? Chef Jason Atherton of Berners Tavern Tells All

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Berners Tavern, under the direction of much-celebrated chef Jason Atherton, is the most glamorous (and hard-to-get) reservation in London these days. Atherton is known for his fresh approach to traditional British cuisine, while steadfastly using only the very best ingredients. Now he’s showing the world just how fantastic British food can be, opening nothing less than a mini-restaurant empire that extends from London to Dubai to Shanghai to Singapore to Hong Kong. 

Celebrity sightings abound at this, Atherton’s latest London opening. Housed in the Edition Hoteljust North of Oxford Street, it is jaw-droppingly beautiful, the walls crammed with artwork, framed by ornate plasterwork that seems to ooze off the walls. It’s a bit like sitting inside a Faberge egg.

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February Vacation Deals

Lexington Hotel

Art & Culture

Chicago: 30% off historical blues package

Windy City Blues package includes:

• 2 nights' accommodations in a standard room at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro, with mod-retro rooms in the theater district
• 2 tickets to Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, owned by the iconic artist himself
• Admission to Chicago’s History Museum to see the “Crossroads of America” exhibit on the history behind America’s Blues Capital

Cost: $270 ($135 per night)

Book via telephone only for travel between February 1 and March 31.

For more information, please visit Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro; to book, please call (800) 643-1500 and use booking code BLUE14.

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EU Relaxes Liquid Ban While Russia Clamps Down

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On the heels of a long-awaited decision to loosen liquid restrictions, which went into effect only one week ago, new constrictions are already in place.

Today, the Department of Homeland Security directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols, or powders of any kind be permitted on nonstop flights between the United States and the Russian Federation. Delta is the only domestic carrier to which this applies, although international lines such as Russia’s Aeroflot and TransAero are also affected.

Early last month, Russia banned all liquids from carry-on luggage on all flights entering its two international Moscow airports. The stringent restriction is just a small part of the security operation surrounding the 2014 Winter Games, and was announced just weeks before the EU and the US loosened their liquid policies.

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Celebrate The Beatles' 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago today one of the biggest pop acts in history touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport for the first time. They were whisked into a press conference at the Pan American Airlines International Arrivals building, as dubious journalists tried to figure out if these guys were for real, and 4,000 adoring fans waited outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of the new British band, The Beatles.

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T+L's Most Popular Photos on Social Media this Week

We know you're busy, so in case you missed any of T+L's Twitter and Instagram this week, here's a roundup of the top content. It seems that Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil's news of a prolonged winter had fans either planning their next beach getaway or excited for more time to hit the slopes.

 

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

Guess Where? Cafe

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Can you guess where this grand dining room 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

London's Street Food Heads Indoors at Hawker House Market

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Street food culture continues to reign supreme in London, but what's a girl to do to get her foodie fix during the long, wet winter months that plague The Big Smoke? Why, move the street festival indoors, of course! And that's exactly what the guys behind Street Feast have done by setting up camp in an old factory in East London. Modelled on the traditional hawker markets of Singapore, Hawker House (38-50 Pritchard’s Road, London) will provide music, booze and fantastic food every Friday and Saturday night through March 22nd. Traders hail from the who’s who roster of the city’s street food legends and will be feeding the crowds dishes like crispy wood oven pizza, pork belly steamed buns, fish tacos, octopus curry, and authentic BBQ. And it gets better! While nibbling on your taco you can boogie across the space to pick your poison at one of four bars. So why not get out of the rain and join in one of the great foodie parties London offers?

Entry to Hawker House is free before 7pm, and £3 at the door after 7pm. Find out more here.

Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane

Photo courtesy of The Gaztronome

Families Fly Comfortably on Air New Zealand's SkyCouch

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Amidst a heated conflict between travelers who want family-friendly zones on airplanes, and those willing to pay more for childfree cabins, Air New Zealand’s Economy SkyCouch seat is becoming a fast favorite for both sides of the debate.

The flexible seating option, which allows passengers to purchase three adjacent seats and transform them into a wide, flat sofa, has been particularly successful with families.

With a footrest that pulls out from beneath the three seats and armrests that virtually disappear, Air New Zealand has sold the Skycouch as an “ideal solution” for “a parent with two restless kids,” or the perfect play space for young children.

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Orbitz Steps Up Their Game with Orbitz Labs

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The OTA wars are heating up: just weeks after Expedia released three smart new features, Orbitz has one upped with their cutting-edge Orbitz Labs, meant to give travelers a whole new level of transparency when booking their flights and hotels. Think of Orbitz Labs not as one tool, but as a whole new toolbox: inside, you’ll find personalized hotel picks based on properties you’ve said you love (like Pandora for hotels), a hot rates heat map that lets you compare hotels’ average daily rates to historical trends, and “best bets,” a feature that lets you see which days or weeks offer the best hotel prices in any city. Also available: charts that show you when it’s most affordable to head to specific destinations, and trend maps that offer insight on where other Orbitz customers are traveling.

The takeaway? From loyalty programs to user-friendly functions like these, OTA’s are racing to meet their users ever-growing needs—and consumers have everything to gain.

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 Orbitz

 

New Website Trip Rebel Offers Hotel Savings

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A new website called Trip Rebel—currently in beta—is aiming to be the next Tingo. The concept is simple: You book your hotel stay through the Germany- and Austria-based site, which currently lists more than 200,000 properties around the world. It then tracks your reservation for price reductions every day until you check in. If the price drops, you’ll be automatically re-booked at the new rate, and the difference is refunded to your credit card.

There’s no limit to how much you can receive, and you can adjust your “money back level”—or the amount at which you would want to get a refund (it defaults at 1 euro). When booking, you can filter by type, room features, TripAdvisor rating, and amenities (including the puzzling “accessible path of travel” and “accessible bathroom”).

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Four Affordable Winter Getaways for February

Snowfall shouldn't stop you from getting away for the weekend. Whether you'd rather be lounging along Florida's coastline or skiing the slopes of the Berkshires in Massachusetts, T+L's Mark Orwoll has a set of affordable getaways perfect for February. Read on for where to go and stay during your visit.

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Midweek Daydream: Beautiful Blue Beaches

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Distract yourself from this dreary winter's day with a gaze at these beautiful blue waters, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to stunning Halong Bay in Vietnam, courtesy of our good friends at Beach Tomato.

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World’s Best Frozen Yogurt in New York City?

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As freezing rain pelts New York City streets, it feels strange to acknowledge, let alone celebrate, yet another made-up holiday: National Frozen Yogurt Day. But I can’t help myself, namely because I just tasted the BEST frozen yogurt of my life at Blue Olive Market, in Midtown Manhattan.

The welcoming, newly opened Greek marketplace is a mini Eataly-style space, with everything from build-your-own Greek salads to authentic prepared foods—toothy moussakas, savory bean dips drizzled with house-infused olive oils, and more. There’s also a wine bar with Mediterranean pours, a soup station featuring lemony avgolemono, and a pastry counter. But it was the siren call of the Greek Yogurt Bar that lured me within seconds, and that will keep me coming back.

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Advice From Our Twitter Chat with Travel Writer Gary Shteyngart

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How do you become a travel writer? We asked two authors to sit down and have a conversation over Twitter to find out. Here are highlights from a recent chat between T+L's News Director, Luke Barr, and author and T+L contributing editor, Gary Shteyngart.

Be sure to pickup (or download) Shteyngart’s latest novel, Little Failure: A Memoir and Barr’s first book: Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste.

Photo credit: Jeff Morgan

Luxury Rental Clubs Inspirato and Portico Combine

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Big news in the world of destination clubs: former competitors Inspirato and Portico have recently become one, operating under the name Inspirato with American Express. The combined club—perhaps best described as Inspirato’s absorption of Portico—will give all members access to 500-plus luxury properties in more than 100 destinations, 34 of which will be new to Inspirato’s portfolio (including Bora Bora, London, Jackson Hole, and Kauai).

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Walk Across 11 Countries In This Classic Travel Video

Travel videos add an element beyond still photography to truly transport you to a destination. Here, an oldie but goodie video from STA Travel Australia depicts three guys lightheartedly walking across 11 countries over the course of 44 days—a definite inspiration to never stop exploring.

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

Renzo Piano’s New Pavilion for the Kimbell Art Museum

Renzo Piano Pavilion

A masterpiece of 20th-century architecture just got a new neighbor. The stark concrete-and-travertine forms of Fort Worth’s 1972 Kimbell Art Museum—designed by Louis Kahn and famous for skylit vaults that diffuse the silvery Texas light—has been joined by a Renzo Piano annex. The addition, constructed of silky, pale concrete and whitewashed wood—and respectfully distanced from the original building by a grove of elms and red oaks—also uses sunlight to great effect, filtering it through a diaphanous glass roof shaded by computer-controlled louvers. “The light seems ethereal. You can almost feel it,” says Eric M. Lee, the museum’s director. The building will house temporary exhibitions as well as the Kimbell’s pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art, freeing up space in the main building for European painting and sculpture. And how does the Piano pavilion compare with its iconic predecessor? “It’s like looking at a Titian and a Rubens,” Lee says. “They come from the same tradition, though they each have their own definite style. You’d never mistake one for the other.”

Photo by Robert Polidori, courtesy of Kimbell Art Museum

Underwater Hotel Offers a Fresh View of Zanzibar

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We've told you about the Maldives and its underwater restaurant and underwater nightclub. Now, Zanzibar has gotten into the underwater game, with a hotel room that's partly submerged in the Indian Ocean. Set about 820 feet off the coast of Pemba Island, the three-level room is part of the Manta Resort and created by the Sweden-based Genberg Underwater Hotels company. (Their first project is the Utter Inn, in a lake near Stockholm.) Guests have access to a sea-level deck and a roof lounge, but the real draw of course is the glass-paneled (and somewhat bare bones) double bedroom below the water. According to Matthew Saus, co-founder of Genberg, guests have reported seeing squid, garfish, pipefish, an octopus, even a Spanish dancer. As Saus puts it, “I guess the word for it is ‘privilege’—you certainly do feel privileged to be part of this special world.”

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

Photo credit: Jesper Anhede

Major Hotels Fall Victim to Credit Card Hack

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Hotels across the country have been hacked, reports CNN. Fourteen locations owned by Marriott, InterContinental Hotel Group, Sheraton, and Westin franchises, are confirmed victims of a nationwide data breach.

Guests who used their credit and debit cards on site between March 20 and December 16, 2013, may have had their personal financial details compromised.

Banking sources were initially perplexed by the report, as the hotels range from a Radisson in Florida to a Sheraton in Pennsylvania. Later in the day, the common denominator revealed itself as White Lodging Property Management.

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A Business Traveler's Favorite Hotel Amenities

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This past summer, my fiancée and I stayed at a bed and breakfast. It was charming and had a great ocean view. But when she hopped out of the shower the first time, she discovered our room lacked a hair dryer.

As a frequent traveler, I was shocked. I’ve come to expect basic things from hotels: soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a hair dryer. Maybe I shouldn’t. Either way, this week I’m taking a look at some of my favorite hotel perks and some amenities that I think all lodgings should have.

Let’s start with the good ones.

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Beauty Travel Tips from Hyatt Place

How can you look your best while on the road? From the initial packing and planning stages to the moment you arrive at your hotel room, here are beauty travel tips from lifestyle vlogger, Jessica Harlow, of the Hyatt Place's new Seamless Travel Series.

  1. Be realistic. Only bring what you're actually planning on using.

  2. Separate your products into makeup categories, with individual plastic bags.

  3. Stay powder shatter-proof. If you're planning on checking your makeup inside your luggage, use cotton balls for a little added cushioning.

  4. Invest in a travel bag to store toiletries.

  5. Look your best, feel your best. Make sure to visit your hotel gym and boost your endorphins.

  6. Make this list and check it twice!

 

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

Haitian Singer Leyla McCalla Sings of Love and Heartbreak On Debut Album

Born in New York to Haitian parents, and now living in New Orleans, Leyla McCalla delivers an uncontrived blend of rhythm and folk on her debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, out this week. Behind each pluck of her cello and every soulfully sung lyric, there is cultural influence and unfiltered emotion. Whether singing in English or Creole, Leyla's intent is clear; she wants you to feel.

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Chat with Travel Writer Gary Shteyngart this Tuesday, February 4th

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How do you become a travel writer? Taking it even further, how do you get started as a novelist? We asked two authors to sit down and have a coffee shop conversation over Twitter to find out. Join us tomorrow as T+L Features Director, Luke Barr (@lukebarr), and T+L contributing editor, Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart), discuss how to become a travel writer, memorable tales of dinners and travels past, and ultimately how Shteyngart the novelist also became Shteyngart, a T+L contributing editor.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year With These 5 Hotel Deals Around the World

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Today, millions of people around the world are celebrating the Year of the Wooden Horse with elaborate ceremonies, ancient rituals, and extensive traditional feasts (think tea eggs, sticky rice cakes, and whole Peking ducks).

Roosevelt Park kicked off the festivities in New York this morning with a riotous firecracker demonstration to close out the Year of the Snake, and the Annual Lunar New Year Parade and Festival will swell the streets of Chinatown on February 2.

Nothing compares to the fanfare in China, where the next two weeks are guaranteed to be bursting with dances, demonstrations, and the color red.

But no matter where you are in your travels, you can welcome this year of adventure and energy in a festive fashion. Book a room at one of these luxury hotels for an over-the-top Chinese New Year.

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