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Westin Hotels Caters to Marathoners with New Running Concierge

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Westin Hotels is catering to marathoners with its new Running Concierges.

Whether it's a 5K, half-marathon, or the full 26.2 miles, finishing a distance race is no easy feat. Make it a destination race and you'll have even more to think about: what to pack and how to adjust to different time zones and temperatures, to name a few. But the T+L editors love a challange—and any excuse to travel.

Hotels are even picking up on the trend. Westin brand hotels recently teamed up with the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon series (which hosts races year-round across North America and Europe) to offer RunWESTIN participants access to its dedicated running conceirge, Chris Heuisler. Perks include a race course tour (Chris meets with local running associations in each city for insider tips), fitness and recovery advice, and a pasta dinner and breakfast to fuel up for the big day. 

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3 Healthy Travel Tips from Canyon Ranch Resort

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Being health-focused isn’t always easy—especially when you’re on the road. I asked Dr. Nicola Finley, of Canyon Ranch Tuscon Resort, for her top tips for wellness while traveling (unfortunately, supersizing a fried food order isn’t one of them). Three of Dr. Finley’s tips that are sticking with me:
 
You don’t have to go to the gym. “There are a multitude of workout videos on YouTube you can access in your room from a computer, iPad, or phone. This is a chance to try a new kind of workout—in privacy! Also keep in mind that little bursts of exercise—running for a flight, or walking to the hotel from a few blocks away—counts.”

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Cruise Lines Ban Smoking on Balconies

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Disney became the third cruise line this week to announce new smoking bans on private balconies, following similar moves from Cunard and P&O.

As Travel Weekly's Hollie-Rae Merrick reports, the policy changes are responding to guest feedback and safety concerns. Smokers will still be able to light up in designated areas on open decks according to the cruise lines.

This is the latest in a string of recent smoking bans, such as beach bans in Jamaica and Oahu. All are attempting to make commonly-trafficked tourist areas more appealing to—and healthier for—all visitors.

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.

Photo by iStockphoto

Beauty Road Test: Lavanila Fresh Lemon Deodorant

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Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.

The product: Lavanila Fresh Lemon Deodorant

Pros: Lavanila’s latest is 100% natural (no phthalates, no aluminum). It’s so natural, in fact, that the first three ingredients are aloe, corn, and coconut derived. Added bonus: it smells like fresh-baked lemon cookies.

Cons: I literally have nothing bad to say about this deodorant—except that it was so wonderful it forced me to write a blog post about deodorant (not the sexiest topic). But hey, everybody uses it, right? Right?
 
Verdict: Packable.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Lavanila

No Joke: Tiny Samoan Airline Will Charge Passengers By Weight

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We wouldn't blame your assuming that Samoa Air's recent announcement that it will be weighing customers and charging them based on their weight is a belated April Fools' Day stunt, but apparently, it's real.

Reports have been popping up everywhere since the announcement, and the tiny airline's official website confirms the new policy with a statement that reads: "We at Samoa Air are keeping airfares fair, by charging our passengers only for what they weigh. You are the master of your Air'fair', you decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost. No more exorbitant excess baggage fees, or being charged for baggage you may not carry. Your weight plus your baggage items, is what you pay for. Simple."

Is it so simple? Not everyone is pleased with this idea. The Guardian's Ally Fogg wrote that the new policy "panders to a particularly unpleasant trend in modern culture that legitimises and even celebrates fat-shaming and body fascism. At its most crude this is manifest in straightforward cruelty and discrimination."

Chris Langton, head of Samoa Air, defended the idea—and suggested it may be the start of an industry-wide trend—in an Australian radio interview quoted by the BBC: "People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago… The industry will start looking at this."

Photo by iStockphoto

Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Flying

how to avoid getting sick while flying

It’s not the air quality you have to worry about (cabin air is well circulated and filtered) but rather germs transmitted through shared surfaces. So wash your hands frequently, use a sanitizer, and clean surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. And always keep yourself hydrated and well-rested.

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

Photo by istockphoto

For Butter or Worse: Trans Fats Totally Banned in MA Town

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So—you've resolved to eat healthier in 2013? We salute you. But if you're worried that the only way to stick to your new strict diet is stop traveling—too many temptations out there!— here's some good news: Your diet is safe in Chelsea, Mass.

That's because, as of New Year's Day, the Boston suburb instituted a tough ban on trans fats in restaurants. That means a serious dearth of French fries, gravy, pies, cookies or anything really good to spread on your morning toast. It's reportedly a tougher ban than either Boston or NYC's similar laws, which allow trace amounts of trans fats—and it makes the Big Apple's impending ban on jumbo sodas seem downright restrained.

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Four Outdoor Activities in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

With seemingly endless outdoor activities and sunny days, Boulder, Colorado, is a mecca for healthy living (just ask the Olympians who live there). Four ways to get a Rocky Mountain high.

The Hike

Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks maintains more than 146 miles of trails, many in view of the city’s beloved Flatiron rock formations. On a naturalist-led night hike, you might encounter mule deer and even wide-eyed great horned owls in the glow of the moon.

The Spa

Book a holistic treatment at downtown’s Sensorielle Day Spa (1801 13th St.). The product ingredients—from lavender to Saint-John’s-wort—are sourced locally by Austrian expat Helena Meyer, whose naturopathic ancestors treated the Hapsburg court.

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Wanna Lose Weight on Vacation? Try ... Germany?

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Memo to our friends in the UK: Maybe lay off the jokes about how we Yanks SuperSize all our meals, or walk around cradling two-liter bottles of soda.

In a recent Thomas Cook survey of British travelers, the good ol' U.S.A.—land of the deep-fried Twinkie—ranked only No. 4 as the most likely destination to make you gain weight. (Sure, we're still in the Top 5, but we'll take what we can get.)

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Hong Kong Trend Report: Down on the Urban Farm

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Out of all the places to have a farming renaissance, who would guess uber-urban Hong Kong? But it’s true: concerns about food safety in China coupled with a rising interest in the provenance and quality of ingredients has sparked action. HK Farm is a 4,000-square-foot rooftop farm in industrial Ngau Tau Kok started by a group of artists and designers, with plans to expand. Zen Organic is a former pig farm that a pair of siblings inherited and turned into one of the city’s most sought-after sources of produce. Down with pollution and in with the greens! 

Photo by Glenn Eugen Ellingsen / HK Farm

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