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Joint Venture: Jamaican Farms Entice Visitors with Special “Ganja Tours"

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Wine lovers have Napa Valley. Beer snobs have Oregon. And now, potheads may have their own vacation paradise: wandering the lush grounds that perhaps inspired Bob Marley to sing, “let’s get together and feel alright.”

According to a new AP report, tour operators in Jamaica are increasingly taking visitors to see the marijuana farms that produce the local “ganja”—such as spots near Nine Mile, Marley’s hometown, and outside Negril.

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Family Friday: Etihad Airlines Offers In-Flight Nanny

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Can you imagine having a real live Mary Poppins on your next flight? Someone to entertain your kids (origami anyone?), serve them meals, and help you fill milk bottles—and all this done with a smile? Well Etihad Airlines has made this dream a reality. Known for over-the-top amenities and service, the Persian Gulf carrier just announced a Flying Nanny program for all its long-haul flights. More than 300 "nannies" trained in child psychology and sociology will be available to help frazzled parents survive their trip whether they're sitting in economy, business, or first. Yes, it sounds a tad extreme, but think of all the magazines you could read, movies you could watch, and naps you could take.

Clara O. Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Etihad Airways

Cruise News: Emerald Waterways Launch

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Another reason to get excited for 2014: Emerald Waterways, the first new river cruise company to enter European rivers in six years, is launching. Details are en route, but cabins are modernist and chic (in calming earth tones); the pool, under a retractable roof, has an adjacent gelato bar; and everything—from locally-sourced wines to four-course dinners to shore excursions to tips—is included in your rate. In other words, if you need me, I’ll be on the Danube…..

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

Photo Courtesy of Scenic Cruises

The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending September 6, 2013

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Thanks to the growing air travel demand in China, Boeing expects to see 5,580 new commercial aircrafts during the next 20 years, via Circa. (Adrien Glover)

While Jamaica, Oahu, and many cruise lines are banning smoking of all kinds, Mexico City is considering legalizing marijuana to create cannabis clubs, according to the Huffington Post. (A.G.)

A new twist in Edward Snowden's NSA leaks? Evidence that the organization tapped into at least three foreign airlines' reservations systems—leading Skift's Rafat Ali to speculate that their data dive may have touched everything from OTA records to domestic booking data and beyond. (Nikki Ekstein)

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Bollywood Backlash: Air India’s TV Screen Calls Passenger an Idiot

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You might not be fazed anymore by grouchy airline workers, or a surly passenger in the seat next to you. But when your in-flight system starts giving you attitude, that’s a whole new level of insult.

According to an article in the Times of India, Air India is investigating an incident on a flight from London to Mumbai in which a passenger was having some difficulties getting a movie started at her seat. According to her side of the story, she finally received a rather brazen error message: "This selection is not currently available. Please try again later," and, below that, "Lie low...Sit down you idiot!"

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Japan Airlines' New Sky Suite

Japan Airlines

Somewhere above the Bering Sea on the long haul flight between Tokyo and New York, a Japan Airlines flight attendant kindly brought me a steaming bowl of rich broth and chewy udon noodles. Mine was the only seat lit at this late hour in the darkened cabin while glued to a subtitled crime drama marathon. (I'm a sucker for film noir in any language.) Recently, JAL launched its new business-class "Sky Suite" service on international routes to New York, London and Paris; service to Chicago and Los Angeles follows shortly. It's almost like having your own capsule hotel room, complete with a fully reclining seat, 23-inch LCD screen, and bed slippers. Definitely request a window seat for utmost privacy.

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Tech Thursday: Facebook's New Shared Albums

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This week, Facebook unveiled shared photo albums—a small change perhaps, but with big benefits for travelers. As many as 50 contributors will be able to add up to 200 photos each (that's a lot of photos—much more than the old limit of 1,000 pics—if anyone is counting). The albums can still be kept private, or limited just to invited friends; aside from the album's owner, pics can be edited only by the person who uploads them. All that to say: there will no longer be a need to pore through your friends' profiles just to find the one great shot from your last group vacation. Thank goodness.

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

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Last-Minute Labor Day Travel Advice

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Getting excited for one last hurrah this Labor Day? You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.

According to travel club AAA, 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. That’s up 4.2 percent from last year, and is the highest number since 2008, when a staggering 45.1 million took a vacation.

An “increasingly positive economic output and optimism in the housing market” are the main factors of this year’s higher numbers, says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet. With home prices improving across much of the country, “more families are feeling comfortable about traveling.”

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Cruise News: Hypoallergenic Rooms on Crystal Cruises

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This week Crystal Cruises announced that it’s installing the cruise industry’s first hypoallergenic staterooms. Made in conjunction with PURE Global—the brand behind PURE rooms at SLS Beverly Hills and Fairmont Chicago, among many others—each of the 70 new rooms on Crystal Serenity will have filters that remove 99.9% of impurities and dust. Other perks: “bacteriostatic barriers” applied everywhere for germaphobes, tea tree oil disinfectants, and allergy-friendly bedding. My favorite part? There’s no additional charge to stay in them. Aren’t you feeling better already?

Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

 

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

 

Image Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending August 23, 2013

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Scoot Airlines, a low-cost spinoff of Singapore Air, has joined Malaysia's Air Asia X in offering child-free zones on its flights. The new ScootinSilence seats, which cost as little as $15 more, offer travelers a few more inches of legroom and the promise of no seatmates under the the age of 12. The jury's still out on whether U.S. domestic carriers would find a market for such seats. Marketwatch has the story. (Amy Farley)

The ever-helpful George Hobica of Airfare Watchdog has assembled a list of the airports providing Wi-Fi service, outlining both the network names and costs. We'll be sure to consult it before heading on our next flight. (Nikki Ekstein)

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