Eli Newell’s new crowd-sourced travel show Don’t Kill Eli can best be described as a real-life “choose your own adventure.” The 36-year-old comedian and world traveler will ask viewers (via videos on the YouTube channel) to vote on where he should go and what he should do when he gets there. As he puts it in his Kickstarter video, “No matter how gross or stupid or dangerous it is, if you want me to do, I’ll do it."
This YouTube clip from VisitBritain.com is too good to skip through.
If you're like me, you watch the timer count down until you can skip the disruptive advertisement and get to the video you actually want to watch. Not so with this new ad.
From the tea pouring and the crispy papadum to the taxicabs tooting their horns in an oh-so polite way, the video smartly showcases the diverse sounds of Great Britain—hitting all the right notes along the way.
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.
This week, Apple introduced their new CarPlay system, and it’s something of a revolution for road trippers. A follow up to iOS in the Car, which launched quietly last year as a way to have your iPhone screen show up on your in-car dash, CarPlay is set to ship in Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo cars any day, with nearly every auto maker following suit by the year’s end (notable exceptions include Fiat, VW, and Chrysler). Included in the release? Full integration via your phone’s lightning port, offering access to Siri, Apple maps, hands-free calling, and text messages through voice commands and in-car controls. One feature we can’t stop thinking about: controlling Spotify (or any other music app) without having to take your eyes off the road.
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 Apple
This week, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas became the first major property in the U.S. to offer what may be the most genius perk ever, especially in a place like Sin City: 24-hour checkout.
For no additional cost, guests can select the 24-hour checkout option when booking a Superior, Premier, or Ivory Suite exclusively through the hotel’s website. They’ll be asked for their anticipated arrival time, and checkout is the same time on the following day (though it can’t be later than 11 p.m.). For added convenience, you can even checkout via text message. Now if only winning at blackjack was that easy.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo credit: Palms Casino Resort
Prominent LGBT rights group GetEQUAL issued its own Travel Alert to Mississippi today, as the state's legislature considers a bill that would allow business owners to discriminate for religious reasons.
Sound familiar? Just last week Arizona's governor vetoed a similar bill after massive public outcry, including several high-profile travel companies.
Until a few weeks ago, travel restrictions to Cuba were looser than they’ve ever been, thanks to President Obama’s 2011 policy allowing tour companies to apply for travel licenses for “people-to-people” educational and cultural trips. But that’s all come to a halt now that the one bank responsible for processing these visas—M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York—has decided to stop offering its services to diplomatic missions. As of yet, no replacement bank has been found, despite efforts from both sides.
After making waves with their incredible new business class cabins last year (lie-flat seats; multiple outlets; leg room galore), Lufthansa is upgrading its fleet once again. And this time, the news is in the back of the plane. Starting in November, you’ll find Premium Economy Class seats on the German carrier’s planes—not only with 50% more leg room than Economy, but a slew of luxe amenities as well. Passengers in Premium Economy will be greeted with a welcome cocktail, receive complimentary amenity kits (we’ve yet to learn what brands might be found inside), and will be served meals on porcelain tableware. Sound a little like business class? Good news: the prices will skew closer to Economy, with a return flight across the Atlantic carrying an average premium of $800 (that’s almost $2,000 less than the cost of your typical Lufthansa business seat).
To me, the phrase “Orient-Express” is synonymous with luxury travel: train rides through the Veneto, 16th-century retreats in Cusco, exotic cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. That's why I was so surprised to see that the company of the same name, which counts 45 alluring hotels, rail lines, and river cruises in its collection, is changing its moniker to Belmond starting March 10. According to the group, the decision was made in order to “strengthen our brand architecture” and “increase consumer recognition in the marketplace.” The ultimate reason? They never actually owned the name. The trademark had been licensed through SNCF, France’s national railway company, and the group felt that having a name they could call their own might lure more property owners to invest in the brand. Following the change, only the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train will keep its title.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson—the knight best known for his planes, trains, and spaceships—is turning his sights to the cruise industry.
Branson recently told The National he has been interested in launching his own cruise company since he was in his twenties. Now 63, he’s seeking $1.7 billion to finally develop a premier fleet of Virgin liners.
If you don’t mind putting your hotel plans on the auction block, check out the innovative new booking platform, Bidroom.
Less than two months ago, London-based startup Bidroom created a service that could both save customers money on a hotel room, as well as spare hoteliers the enormous commissions they’ve been coughing up to OTAs.
Instead of traditional booking websites, which ask customers to input their dates and destinations in order to generate a database of fixed-rate rooms, Bidroom asks hotels to bid on guests.