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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

Introducing: T+L Trips with Sponsor Cox & Kings

Zambia elephant

Ever wanted to book a trip to a destination featured in T+L? Starting in June, we've made it easier than ever. We're announcing a new promotional partnership with luxury adventure operator Cox & Kings. Here's how it works:

• Every month, T+L editors work with Cox & Kings to develop two trips inspired by destinations we love. 
• Each itinerary is designed to offer insider access and unique experiences—whether it's a stay at an exclusive hotel, a behind-the-scenes tour, or dinner in a private residence.
• Limited-time savings for T+L readers.

June Specials

Zambia
The Highlights: A walking safari in South Luangwa's National Park; night game drives in the remote Chamilandu Camp; and spotting crocodiles in the Zambezi River.
The Details: 10 days and 9 nights, from $10,565 per person—includes intra-Zambia airfare**

Croatia 
The Highlights: Tour the vineyards of Hvar Island and the beaches of Korcula; explore the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik; and head to Ston for taste of the local dish—oysters plucked straight from the Adriatic. 
The Details: 7 days and 6 nights, from $4,795 per person**.

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Surfing as Art and Lifestyle: Q&A with Saturdays' Colin Tunstall

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Any store can put out a catalog or a little circular that focuses on its brand, but few would dare print a full-color, oversized glossy and sell it for $25. That's exactly what Saturdays, a New York City-based surf shop has done with it's massive Saturdays Magazine.

The second issue (out now) is a celebration of all that's great about print: It's heavy, its pages make noise as you turn them, and it falls open with a satisfying "thunk." The magazine, which was printed in Iceland (watch this video of it coming off the press), is so massive you might not be able to fit it in your carry-on bag. But if you do, inside you'll find striking multipage spreads of surfers at work and at play, interviews with artists like Larry Clark and Christo, and projects from photographer Bruce Weber and designer Hedi Slimane. What you won't find is a hard sell for surfboards.

We spoke with Saturdays co-owner and Saturdays editor-in-chief Colin Tunstall. Here's what he had to say:  

What's a little surf shop with two locations in New York and two in Japan (the newest in Kobe) doing putting out a 300+ page oversized doorstopper of a magazine?
Colin Tunstall: I've always wanted to produce magazine. Before starting Saturdays I worked in publishing for 10 years. The concept was simple, we just wanted to produce something cool. We decided to focus on Q&A's with people we thought were interesting. We cast a wide net and embraced the variety of backgrounds, ages and locations of everyone to define the common thread of our lifestyle.

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Tour Operator Goes Over the @#$% Line?

hipster backpacking

No doubt, the typical hipster might not be fired up to go on a backpacking tour after looking at a brochure with pictures of people who look like his Uncle Larry and Aunt Karen.
 
Geckos Adventures totally gets that, bro. The tour operator just released a new brochure that, to plenty of travelers, might seem refreshing: According to a post on Travel Mole, it uses photos taken by actual customers—like their target audience of ages 18 to 35—and speaks in a language that, Geckos assume, their clientele understands.
 
Actually, pretty much anyone can understand it. One part of the brochure reads, “may your heart be light, your step swift and your stories @#$%ing epic,” except, well, they didn’t use the funny symbols found on more family friendly travel sites.
 
While some industry folks are already raising eyebrows, the company defends its strategy: "We are not trying to be controversial for controversy's sake,” says the tour company’s managing director. “Our new branding has been carefully thought through to speak to our travelers openly and cutting out all the usual marketing fluff."
 
Fair enough, but the danger here—beyond offending a few Uncle Larrys and Aunt Karens out there—is that those coveted 18-to-35-years-old might just see it as a bit of calculated marketing... Hey, “just sayin.’”  (That is what the @#$%in' cool kids say, right?)
 
What do you think: Is this campaign smart, or will it f-bomb?

Photo by iStockphoto

The Alpina: New Luxury Ski Resort Opens in Gstaad, Switzerland

Alpina Gstaad

The jet-setting ski-crowd has been flocking to Gstaad, Switzerland for decades, but it’s been a century since a proper grand hotel entered the scene. (The early 20th century saw the openings of the Grand Hotel Park in 1910, the Grand Hotel Bellevue in 1912, and the Gstaad Palace in 1913.) Enter the brand new luxury resort, Alpina Gstaad, which opened its doors last month.

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Young Travel Leaders Q+A: Evan Reece of Liftopia.com

Evan Reece of Liftopia.com

At last month’s PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel:

Thirty-four-year-old Evan Reece is co-founder and CEO of Liftopia.com, the web’s go-to source for discounted ski lift tickets, equipment rentals, classes, meals, and activities at some 150+ resorts in North America, in addition to detailed resort profiles with trail maps and reviews from skiers and snowboarders. And while the company has been around since 2005, Reece and co-founder Ron Schneiderman (both former employees at Hotwire) didn’t start raising serious money until 2009. Liftopia.com is evolving rapidly.

Aside from its super-deep discounts (some tickets go for as much as 80 percent off!), the company is also working to change the marketplace overall by helping resorts manage and analyze inventory. It's working both the consumer and business angles, which we think is smart. And last year, they launched the Liftopia iPhone app. What’s next?

We sat down with Reece to ask him some questions:

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Four Outdoor Activities in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

With seemingly endless outdoor activities and sunny days, Boulder, Colorado, is a mecca for healthy living (just ask the Olympians who live there). Four ways to get a Rocky Mountain high.

The Hike

Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks maintains more than 146 miles of trails, many in view of the city’s beloved Flatiron rock formations. On a naturalist-led night hike, you might encounter mule deer and even wide-eyed great horned owls in the glow of the moon.

The Spa

Book a holistic treatment at downtown’s Sensorielle Day Spa (1801 13th St.). The product ingredients—from lavender to Saint-John’s-wort—are sourced locally by Austrian expat Helena Meyer, whose naturopathic ancestors treated the Hapsburg court.

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Pacific Northwest in Time-Lapse

I’m a sucker for time-lapse photography. I’m also a sucker for the Pacific Northwest. Combine the two and you have this mesmerizing work—some 260,000 stitched-together pics—from Portland-based photographer John Eklund, who was kind enough to let us share it.

Rich Beattie is the executive digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

New Resort Inside Malaysian National Park

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This July marked the opening of Gaya Island Resort off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. With 120 villas overlooking the South China Sea, the hotel takes full advantage of their stunning national park space with a resident naturalist and marine biologist, private yacht, and underwater photography classes. This land is as pristine as it gets.

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Tweet-Up: Adventure Travel Tips

Craving a little thrill in your life? Not sure where to start or what to look for? Then join us tomorrow for a live tweet-up—hosted by Nikki Goldstein, editorial assistant and adventure traveler—and we’ll help get you squared away! We’ve gathered a large panel—the biggest we’ve ever had!—and they’re all eager to help you get your adventure on. We’ll talk packing tips, family adventure, booking on a budget, and more!

The panel includes:

Agatha Capacchione, MFA Marketing & Public Relations, @MissyFarrenPR
Brad Moss, ROW Adventures, @ROWAdventures
Carol Mueller, Travel Guard, @TravelGuard
Chris Doyle, Adventure Travel Trade Association, @AdventureTweets
Dan Austin, Austin-Lehman Adventures, @AustinLehman
Kathy Stewart, Butterfield & Robinson, @ButterfieldTrav
Laura Allen, Century Travel, @CenturyTvl
Mary Rose McKinnon, L.L. Bean, @LLBeanHuntFish
Richard Wiese, Born to Explore, @Born2ExploreTV

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 2–3 p.m. ET and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @nikkigoldstein
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert travel advice.

We hope to "see" you there!

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