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AirBnB Introduces Last-Minute Booking

Airbnb

AirBnB is taking a page out of the HotelTonight handbook today, opening their network of apartment rentals to the last-minute market. But unlike every other booking tool for spontaneous travelers, this one’s not focused on markdowns. Says an AirBnB spokesperson, the new feature responds to a “lifestyle shift” among travelers, who are more willing than ever to plan getaways on the fly. But it’s also thanks to an increasing number of AirBnB listings featuring “instant booking,” a one-click checkout system that requires no back-and-forth messaging between the traveler and host (the company says they’re up to 90,000 such listings, from just 30,000 last year).

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China Considers High-Speed Railway to U.S.

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If a fear of international flights has long kept you from exploring China's Great Wall or visiting Xi’an’s famed terracotta soldiers, it's time to reconsider your boycott on traveling abroad—a high-speed railroad may soon connect Beijing to the United States.

The Bejing Times reports Chinese officials are currently in talks to construct an 8,000-mile railway connecting north-east China to the United States. The proposed route would cross Siberia, and then cut through Alaska and Canada before entering into the continental US. With trains traveling 220 miles per hour, it would take passengers approximately two days to complete the full trip.

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Daily Transporter: Re-seeding the Great Barrier Reef

coral like jewels

When the Great Barrier Reef's coral spawned last year, scientists harvested enough sperm samples to start a cryogenically frozen coral sperm bank. They hope to use it to replenish failing reefs in the future. (Since 1985, 50% of the GBR's coral has been lost to disease, cyclones, and pollution, among other causes.)

See the Great Barrier Reef in Fastest Disappearing Natural Wonders

Editor’s Picks: Great Barrier Reef
World’s Best Islands
World’s Coolest Helicopter Rides
Great Adventure Cruises

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Bespoke Tour Company Audley Travel Launches in the U.S.

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The U.K.-based Audley Travel, known for creating bespoke vacations in more than 80 countries, recently launched in the U.S., with a new website and an office in Boston. Every trip is completely tailor-made with the help of what the company calls Country Specialists, who act as concierges and hand pick experiences, hotels, restaurants, guides, and more.

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Daily Transporter: Washington Monument Reopens

washington monument

Washington goes Wonka—twelve lucky followers of the Department of the Interior's Instagram feed have been chosen as winners. The prize? To be among the first to the top of the Washington Monument on May 12, its reopening day, so they can document the festivities on their own feeds.

See the Washington Monument in America’s Most Beautiful Landmarks

Editor’s Picks: Washington, D.C.
Best Indian Restaurants in the U.S.
America’s Best Spring Drives
America’s Best Margaritas

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Yosemite

glorious national park view

Cameras mounted on unmanned drones have found a place in nature photographer’s arsenal (case in point: this breathtaking GoPro video taken at Arches NP in Moab) but as of last week, the National Park Service has banned the use of drones inside vast Yosemite, saying that they disrupt both peace and emergency services.

See Yosemite in World’s Scariest Hikes

Editor’s Picks: Yosemite
Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List
Super-Short Travel Disaster Stories
Great National Park Lodges

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Little Big Cat

dreamy puss

Last week, guests at Kenya’s Olare Mara Kempinski safari camp didn’t need to join game drives to see lions up close—a lioness gave birth to two cubs under the platform of one of the luxury camp’s twelve tents.

See Masai Mara in Best Life-Changing Trips

Editor’s Picks: Kenya Game Parks
World’s Greatest Animal Migrations
World’s Most Romantic Sunsets
World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Elephants in China

yunnan's mountain lakes

The wild elephant population of China’s lushly forested Yunnan Province has grown to nearly 300, thanks to strict laws—poachers are subject to the death penalty—and feeding programs funded by the government. (China also compensates local farmers for sugar cane, rice, and banana crops lost to snacking pachyderms.)

See Yunnan Province in Best Life-Changing Trips

Editor’s Picks: Western China
New Wonders of the World
Newest Wonders of the World
It List: Best New Hotels

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Book The First Ever Private, Three-Room Cabin Aboard Etihad Airways

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Forget about seat pitch and roomy armrests: on Etihad Airways, you can book The Residence. This private, three-room cabin is a spacious 125-square-feet, and more akin to a boutique hotel room than an airplane seat.

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New Survey Reveals State of U.S. Pet Travel

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American travelers sacrifice significant vacation time for their pets—a whopping 69 percent have missed out on spur-of-the-moment getaways. So says a new survey from DogVacay, which polled 2,025 adults last month.

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