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.
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.
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.)
Travelling is one of the best ways to clear your mind—or at least that’s what Westin is hoping to prove. Starting next month, the Starwood brand will be offering seven meditation-themed video modules curated by London-based company Headspace, who has also created in-flight mediation sessions for Virgin Atlantic. They’ll help travelers zen out at the most stressful moments of their trips (say, at the airport or before a business meeting) or offer calming exercises to practice before bed. Sound a little new age? I tried a session with Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe—a once-Buddhist monk and former circus artist (yes, you read that right)—and was pleasantly surprised. Rather than feeling like a scene from hippie-ville, the 10-minute experience was as relaxing as a full yoga class. And with an emphasis on mindfulness rather than total mental silence, it seemed like a great way to reawaken your senses to the different stimuli of a new place. Find the videos on Westin’s website starting next month.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Heading to Bangkok now that the Thai government has given the all-clear? Find a cool way to escape the city heat: -5 Ice Bar, tucked inside the Jameson’s Pub, is so bracingly cold you may just need to wear one of the bar’s loaner parkas.