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Trip Doctor: Packing Tips—Paris and Barcelona

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Q: I will be traveling to Paris and Barcelona for 12 days. How many pairs of jeans do I need? Jacket or sweater? —Marianne Van Auken, Chandler, Ariz.

A: Pack two pairs of denim in different washes and one pair of black leggings (or slim black pants). Since it’s a warm-weather season, opt for a knit blazer over a coat. We love the candy red version from Strenesse Blue (pictured; $625)—the fabric is comfortable, and the shape will keep you looking sharp. Shabby-chic outfits just don’t work in Europe, so try to be as dressy as you can (adding ballet flats and some well-placed statement jewelry goes a long way).

Mimi Lombardo Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by John Lawton

Best New River Cruise Itineraries

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As river cruising continues to gain steam, Jane Wooldridge shares the best new itineraries for every sort of traveler.

For the History Buff: Tauck has introduced a 10-night Mississippi voyage designed by filmmaker Ken Burns aboard the American Queen paddle wheeler. Don’t miss the tour of Louisiana’s 1837 Oak Alley, or Oakley Plantation, where John James Audubon worked on his Birds of America. In Europe, AmaWaterwaysJewels of France sets out from Arles and cruises along the Rhône and Seine, with stops in the medieval town of Perpignan and at Avignon’s massive Gothic papal palace.

For the Epicure: Visit Porto, Portugal, the birthplace of port wine, on a 10-day Douro River journey aboard a Viking River Cruises longship. The Po River trip from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sails from Venice to the foodie haven of Bologna (think mortadella, tortellini, and Parmesan cheese).

For the Explorer: In Egypt, Sanctuary Retreats’ 32-passenger Sanctuary Nile Adventurer ferries guests along a stretch of the Nile that has just reopened after 15 years. (The rock tombs at Beni Hasan are a notable stop.) Even farther afield: Burma, where Orient Express Trains & Cruises is adding a second, smaller boat for sailings on the Irrawaddy to the temples of Bagan and into the remote, rugged region along the Chindwin River.

Jane WoolridgeJane Wooldridge is the cruise editor at Travel + Leisure.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises; Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Trip Doctor: Biking in the Big Apple With NYC's New Bike Share Program

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New York City is launching its bike share program sometime this month (no details on a date yet), bringing 6,000 two-wheelers to the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Citi Bike, so-named due to a hefty sponsorship from CitiBank, is the country’s largest bicycle-sharing program. While there is a great FAQ on the project’s website, T+L had a few follow-up questions that we’ve answered here:

Where can you pick Citi Bikes up?

The website’s station map is impressive to say the least. There seem to be Citi Bike stations at almost every block! Until you zoom out, that is. The 330 stations stretch from the Battery up to Central Park South in Manhattan, and from the Brooklyn Bridge down to Atlantic Ave and east to Norstrand Ave in Brooklyn. Riders will never be more than a few blocks from a bikeshare station thanks to the highly concentrated layout, but residents of Uptown Manhattan, the vast majority of Brooklyn, and all of Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx are left bikeless.

What are the helmet laws?

Citi Bike “strongly encourages” all users to don helmets, and it offers annual members a $10 coupon to buy them in any New York City bike store. But there is no legal obligation to wear helmets. New York State laws require cyclists under the age of 14 to wear helmets, but Citi Bike members must be at least 16. Last year, NYC rejected a proposed mandatory helmet law last year. Still, helmets may decrease the risk of head injury to cyclists by as much as 85%, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

How safe is it to bike in New York City?

2011 saw 22 biking fatalities and 369 severe injuries. While up slightly from 2009, those numbers still reflect a downward trend in bike risk, according to city data. The NYC Cycling Risk Indicator, which reflects biking safety while taking into account increased cyclists, has fallen by 73% since 2000. Research from UC Berkeley cited in the Wall Street Journal shows that with ever-more bike lanes, and now thousands of more bikers, New York City’s bike accidents will decrease as drivers adjust their behavior and become more aware of bike riders on the roads.

Users have 45 minutes to ride Citi Bike before needing to check back in to a station. How far does that take you?

Theoretically, a rider can travel from Columbus Circle to the Whitehall South Ferry Terminal building in under 35 minutes, meaning that all of Citi Bike’s Manhattan stations are accessible within the 45-minute limit. From Columbus Circle to the stations in Brooklyn Heights takes just under 40 minutes, while the longest possible ride, from West 59th Street at 11th Avenue to Norstrand Avenue in Brooklyn Columbus Circle could run as little as 55 minutes.

Will it work?

Only time will tell, but all signs point to Yes. Similar programs in Boston, Washington DC, Paris, and Hangzhou, China, have all proven very successful and popular. Here's hoping Citi Bike follows in their footsteps—er—bike paths!

Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: Lars Klove /New York City Bike Share

Trip Doctor Series: Trekking, Walking and Hiking

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I don’t know about you, but this fantastic spring weather makes me want to dust off my hiking boots and go explore one of the world’s most beautiful rural landscapes on foot. Thankfully, all I need to do for inspiration is to flip through the May issue’s Trekking, Walking and Hiking package. Every week this month, I’ll highlight a trip from our story that I hope might inspire you to take an adventure of your own.
 
Hike: Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks
Where: idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

Off the Beaten Path creates bespoke trips that combine the ragged peaks and pristine lakes of Glacier National Park with the abundant wildlife of Yellowstone. This spring the outfitter is partnering with Airstream 2 Go to provide top-of-the-line trailers as part of custom itineraries in the Rocky Mountains. Nine days from $2,900. 

Jennifer FlowersJennifer Flowers is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.

Photo courtesy of NPS / Jim Peaco

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending May 3, 2013

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The Skies Belong to Us author Brendan I. Koerner points to this lovely Flickr photo album of Czech matchbox labels. Check out this great one from Czechoslovak Airlines. (Matt Haber)

The New York Times sent humorist Henry Alford to exotic Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see if he could blend in and go native. The result? How I Became a Hipster. (M.H.)

Meanwhile, across the pond, Christian Lorentzen, an American writer in London is having some trouble adjusting, as he relates in this wonderfully cranky London Review of Books essay Buck up, old boy, at least there aren't hipster there! (M.H.)

Airbnb fans take note: a new verification program requires your official photo ID, according to All Things D's Liz Gannes. (Jennifer Flowers)

Walk/Score blog's new tool allows you to find hotels within walking distance your ultimate destination and has published their Top 10 U.S. Cities to Travel Car-Free. (Ann Shields)

TimeOut London employs some cool graphics to overlay historic photos with new ones by Rob Greig to create Soho: Then and Now (A.S) 

Gizmodo's Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan shares German photographer Michael Wolf's images of aging high rises in Hong Kong. Very surreal. (Peter Schlesinger)

Swissinfo's Susan Vogel-Misicka has a fascinating update on the $2 billion Andermatt Swiss Alps construction project, including the Chedi Andermatt hotel at the (formerly?) quiet Swiss village. (P.S.)

Alaska's cruise season has started, and this year there are stricter fuel standards. The Anchorage Daily News's Becky Bohrer takes an in depth look at the new law and what it means for the environment and for the cruise industry. (P.S.)

Google Now is finally available for iPhone users, and The Associated Press' Anick Jesdanun does a remarkably thorough job of putting it to the traveler's ultimate road test. (Nikki Ekstein)

CNN rounds up a list of the 10 ways our travel experience can be improved, and we agree with all 10 of them. (N.E.)

In-flight yoga? New York Times travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom shows you how to strike a pose with just 17 inches of airplane space. (Maria Pedone)

Photo credit: iStock photo

 

Trip Doctor: Packing Light for Buenos Aires

Packing for Buenos Aires: dress

Q: We’re off to Buenos Aires, and I want to pack light. Can you recommend some dual-purpose clothing? —Patricia Broder, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: If you’re headed to the tango-shoe capital of the world, you’d better pack light—you’ll need lots of room in your bag for new acquisitions, especially footwear. We’re excited about Derek Lam’s affordable DesigNation line for Kohl’s—it looks good but isn’t too precious to throw in a suitcase. Our pick for your trip? The wood-grain-print cotton shirtdress ($70), to be worn alone or over leggings. We also adore this space-saving Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent dress ($298)—it can be worn with the V-neck in front, in the back for a boatneck look, as pictured, or over your swimsuit as a cover-up.

Mimi Lombardo Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @TLTripDoctor on Twitter.

Photo by John Lawton

Tech Thursday: Dell’s New, Travel-Friendly Convertible Ultrabook

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Love the portability of a MacBook Air and the versatility of the Surface? Somewhere right in between is Dell’s XPS 12 (from $1199), which hit shelves last October with a slick, rotating touchscreen that flips around from laptop to tablet. You won’t get bogged down with this one in your carry on—it weighs in at under 3.5 lbs (less than a pound heavier than its Apple competitor) and its 12-inch monitor feels substantial enough for productivity, with the advantages of a full chicklet keyboard and Windows 8 Pro (which we prefer by leaps and bounds to the less-intuitive, tablet-specific Windows 8 RT). Unlike other ultrabooks, the XPS12 comes with 256 GB of storage in a Solid State hard drive—doubling most of its close competitors—but all this means you’ll want to use it as a laptop first, and tablet second.

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 courtesy of Dell

Delta Pop-Up in SoHo Provides Preview of JFK's New Terminal 4

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A few years after JetBlue’s new-and-improved Terminal 5 opened at JFK, the airport has pumped $1.4 billion into Terminal 4, set to reopen this month. In anticipation of the expanded space, Delta Air Lines has launched an experiential pop-up in SoHo, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through May 22. Called "T4X," it comes complete with an upstairs Delta Sky Club (where you can charge your phone and relax with a copy of The New York Times), and an interactive digital 3-D model of the new terminal.

The pop-up is a preview of what’s to come in Terminal 4, where travelers will find Shake Shack and Blue Smoke from famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer; a street food-inspired concept and a New York-style brasserie from Marcus Samuelsson; and an outpost of Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery. To which we say: arrive early, arrive hungry.  

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo by Anna Webber

E-Hail Apps Back in New York City

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While car-sharing services are getting shot down on the West Coast, things are finally looking up for “e-hailing” taxis in New York City. Last week, a State Supreme Court case prohibiting their use was dismissed, and as of today, two e-hail apps are back in action in the Big Apple.

Uber made its debut in the New York marketplace last September, but was quickly snuffed out of business over legality concerns; now, it’s back in action as of Tuesday night. Users can book black cars from their mobile phones, but mobile payments are currently not available as they were previously.

Hailo, the only other app approved thus far, launches today with less name recognition but extra perks, from mobile payment to $10 credits for early adopters. Rather than livery-style cars, Hailo works exclusively with yellow taxis in New York.

Expect a glut of new NYC-based e-hail apps to hit the market in the next months, as developers wrap their heads around the new legislation. Part of the deal: participants must be able to integrate with the existing meter system for NYC cabs, and go through an approval process by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Still, the value of these apps is greatest in cities like San Francisco, where hailing a cab isn’t as easy as stepping onto any street corner and sticking out your arm. The laws keeping e-hail apps out of business in California—and other parts of the country—are antiquated at best; we can only hope New York’s example sets a precedent for the cities that need these services most.

See: How to Hail a Cab in NYC.

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 Maria Pedone


 

Hotel Survey: Americans Don't Go Away Enough

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Feel like you need a vacation? You’re not alone. According to the SpringHill Suites Annual Travel Survey, close to one in four (23%) employed Americans don’t get any paid vacation days, and 90% who do say they want more.

And who can blame them? Springtime sun is far more appealing than a fluorescent cubicle light. So, say you are one of the lucky 49% who receive paid vacation—your travel time is most likely 15 days or less. Are two weeks really enough to satisfy your wanderlust?

Making matters more complicated, 57% of Americans believe feel that staying home or local for vacation is a thing of the past. Popular far-off destinations—think Australia or Thailand—can take two days just to get to. That’s four precious days out of 15 spent commuting. The last I checked, teleportation is still in its infancy, so that trims time in your bucket-list locale to eleven days.

Lastly, men seem to hold out longer between vacations, waiting about one year or 52 weeks to take off, while women head out about every 10 months or 43 weeks. What to do if you’re glued to the work desk? Relax in your rolly chair with T+L's midweek daydreams.

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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