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Trip Doctor: Foldable Carry-On Bag

carry-on bag

Q: I refuse to check bags. Can you recommend a favorite carry-on? —Kaito Tsunashima, via e-mail

A: If you can take only one suitcase, consider the new four-wheeled Biaggi Contempo roll-aboard ($219). It weighs just seven pounds and folds for easy storage (perfect for under your hotel bed). It’s not as roomy as checkable versions, but you can always have your clothes laundered by the hotel. A fresh feel is often well worth the nominal fee.

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 Sam Kaplan

FAA Approves Boeing 787 Dreamliner Battery Modifications

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On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration officially announced its approval of Boeing’s re-design for the 787 Dreamliner. Nearly four months after a series of alarming battery fires caused the FAA to the ground the aircraft, Boeing is eager to put its fuel-efficient fleet back in the air.

Modifications to the lithium-ion battery system include extra insulation around each of the battery’s eight cells to prevent short circuit fires from spreading, enhanced venting to move smoke from inside the battery to outside of the plane, and a strengthened box to further contain fires.

These changes, according to transportation secretary Ray LaHood, "will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers."

While many airlines—including All Nippon Airways and Japan Airways—are also awaiting the 787’s release, any return to service will have to wait until the FAA accepts Boeing’s completed work.

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

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Trip Doctor: Just How Clean is Your Hotel Bedspread?

hotel bedspreads

In the past few years, nearly all major hotel brands have phased out their polyester bedspreads in favor of duvets with easy-to-clean covers. Westin, Marriott, and Hilton, along with Four Seasons, Le Méridien, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis, all wash duvet covers between each stay. Some hotels simply use sheets to shield you from duvets. Make sure to sleep under the third sheet in these instances.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

 

Photo © Louis Laurent Grandadam/Corbis

TripAdvisor Launches GreenLeaders, Just in Time for Earth Day

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How green is your getaway? To determine exactly how evironmentally responsible your destination is, TripAdvisor has lauched its GreenLeaders program. In the works for over a year, GreenLeaders rates green hotels and B&B’s on a scale of five levels, and broadcasts the exact details of what each of those properties is doing to operate on an energy budget.

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Trip Doctor Series: Cooking Schools (New Orleans)

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You could spend months exploring the rich culinary traditions of the Big Easy. Below, a program to whet your appetite. For more ideas, check out T+L’s April food issue’s Global Guide to Cooking Schools.

The School: Louisiana cookbook author Amy Cyrex-Sins runs the Langlois Culinary Crossroads program in New Orleans, offering half-day courses in a converted grocery store in the Faubourg-Marigny neighborhood.

The Class: If cornmeal waffles, pecan scones, and butter bean ragout are your thing, sign up for the Cajun and Creole Brunch, a three-hour morning class that focuses classic New Orleans breakfast dishes.

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 by Anna Davis

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending April 19, 2013

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ABC News's Genevieve Shaw Brown gets the scoop on a new program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP, for short), that brings therapy dogs to LAX to help ease the nerves of wary travelers. (Nikki Ekstein)

Want a discount at your favorite restaurant? Put away your phone! CNN Money's Erin Kim reports on phone-free dining. (N.E.)

Here's a fascinating interactive graphic from The New Yorker that breaks down the average income for residents surrounding each of the five boroughs' subway stops. (N.E.)

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Ritz-Carlton Expands Award-Winning Environmental Program

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This summer, Ritz-Carlton guests will have more to look forward to than just sunbathing. The luxury hotel company will expand its ecological program, Ambassadors of the Environment, to three of its properties. The program, created by award-winning environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, emphasizes education and sustainability through various Caribbean eco-adventures.

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Trip Doctor: How to Get a Good Airplane Seat

airline seats

Q: How can I get a good seat on my flight if I don’t have elite status? —Anne R., Bozeman, Mont.

A: As airlines reduce their schedules and pack more people onto planes, economy passengers are increasingly feeling the pinch. Adding insult to (squashed-knee) injury, carriers also reserve covetable window and aisle seats for high-ranking loyalty-program members. But you needn’t get stuck in the middle. Here, some ways to find a better seat.

Choose your flights by cabin layout.

Seatguru, our favorite online airline-seat-map compendium, has recently added a new flight-search function that lets you filter results by comfort as well as the usual factors (price, duration, etc.). Mining the site’s trove of cabin data to assess both seats and in-flight amenities, Seatguru offers you an overall “G-Factor” rating of “Love it,” “Like it,” or “Live with it” for each flight—and tells you how much it will cost to trade up for a plane with more legroom or a seat-back entertainment system.

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Carnival to Spend $700 Million in Ship Improvements

Carnival Corporation, parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines, will spend up to $300 million dollars making important changes to Carnival ships, plus another $400 million on vessels from its other lines, which include Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, and Cunard. The entire Carnival Cruise Lines fleet will undergo an overhaul, enhancing the 24 ships’ emergency power capabilities and fire safety technologies.

In an interview with USA Today’s Gene Sloan, Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill pointed out that the company's ships are already safe. "It’s not a safety issue. Carnival always will operate ships that are entirely safe," said Cahill, noting that nobody was injured in February's Carnival Triumph debacle and the subsequent Carnival misadventures in March.

The expansive (and expensive) overhaul will ensure that passenger comfort is not compromised in the unlikely event of future mishaps. Skift's Samantha Shankman,has a different take: She calls the overhaul, while needed, a PR stunt, “first and foremost."

Carnival also posted a video on YouTube which can be seen above.

 

Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

L.A. by the Book: Los Angeles Times Literary Map

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If, like me, you’re as likely to read a novel about a city as a guide book when preparing for a visit, the Los Angeles Times book staff has pieced together an excellent resource for you.Their Literary L.A. map pinpoints bookstores and lit landmarks around town (the library at UCLA where Ray Bradbury tapped out Fahrenheit 451 on a coin-operated typewriter!), and also includes passages from great fiction inspired by the the city and includes hardboiled L.A. classics like Double Indemnity and The Black Dahlia to more modern works like Steve Erickson’s Zeroville. The map has been released in time to accompany this weekend’s Festival of Books at USC.

LA Times Festival of Books, April 20-21, 2013, at USC, free. (events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/)

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of L.A. Times

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