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Patricia Urquiola's Packing Checklist

 

Patricia Urquiola

The architect and designer opens her (well-edited) suitcase.

“The less I pack, the more relaxed I feel,” says the Spanish-born, Milan-based designer, known for her punchy Modernist style in hotels from Puerto Rico (W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island) to Barcelona (Mandarin Oriental). “I’ve lost my luggage several times, so I only take a carry-on”—usually a well-worn Globe-Trotter cabin bag with leather trim (price upon request) and a roomy Céline tote (from $2,400). Whether she is traveling to Berlin (where she is working on the Das Stue hotel), Istanbul, or São Paulo, Brazil, Urquiola chooses a simple look that can be dressed up or down. One fail-safe outfit: a vintage Marni jacket, V-neck sweater from Cos ($87), and slightly faded Acne jeans ($250). Accessories include comfortable Robert Clergerie brogues ($495) and a Rolex Air-King watch. “Telling time using my cell phone just isn’t as reliable.”

What’s in Her Bag:

“A reversible silk and wool scarf by Pierre-Louis Mascia is great for converting day to evening wear, and doubles as a wrap.”

“I pack Prada heels and jewelry in case I need to make a quick change in the taxi for a work party.”

“Before getting off the plane, I apply YSL’s lash-lengthening Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara and Chanel Teint Innocence face powder. They’re my armor.”

Photo by Andrea Wyner

Insider's London: Black Tomato's Tom Marchant Shares His Favorite City Spots Right Now

Black Tomato's Tom Marchant

The line up for the summer in London is as exciting as it is daunting. Try and do too much and you'll be running all over town, exhausting yourself. Take it too easy and you'll be kicking yourself for missing half the action. A little careful planning will go a long way if you're planning to take part in London's many festivities this summer. We caught up with Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke travel company Black Tomato, for his rundown of secret locales, restaurants, and tips.

Q: There's a lot of discussion about the transport system and how it will cope with the millions of visitors heading your way. What's your preferred way of getting around town?
A:
London is bigger than you think so it depends on how far I'm going. I just got a new dog (Ernie), so try and walk as much as I can. When I am not with him, for short distances, I use a Boris Bike (nicknamed after Boris Johnson, our mayor) you can rent them from all over town for a pound a day. When the suns out there's no nicer way to get around. For long distances, I use taxis. My new find is HAILO, an app that lets you hail Black Cabs without even leaving your seat—useful when it's raining! 

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Last Dash to London! Essential Booking Tips for the Olympic-Bound

201205-b-london-cityscape95605583jpgLast Saturday, the Olympic Torch relay set off in Great Britain and began a 70-day journey through the United Kingdom that will end on July 27 at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The countdown has begun.

Set on making it across the pond this summer? It’s not too late—but you must act now! To inspire you procrastinators to begin booking, we present our last-minute get-to-London guide.

The good news: flights to the city’s hub airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City) are still available. Right now, a search of round-trip fares from major U.S. cities range from $1,100 to $1,500. Departing from Chicago, you’ll fork over about $1,200 for a round-trip economy ticket on Virgin Atlantic Airways (a seat in the carrier’s newly revamped Upper Class cabin will cost you $2,800).

These fares are steep—and getting steeper—but they aren’t higher than this time last year. “I don’t think airlines are price gauging,” says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, a site that monitors ticket prices. “It’s still the summer season and we’re seeing reasonable fares for this time of year.”

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How to Tip Your Hotel Housekeeper

tipping your housekeeper: envelope

If you want to make absolutely sure that your tip is distributed evenly, follow this rule of thumb: leave $5 to $10 for each day in an envelope at the front desk. Note your room number and dates of stay on the envelope, and that you’d like it divided among all your housekeepers.

Have a travel dilemma? The trip doctor is in. Send your question to Amy at tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by iStockphoto

Think Before You Stow! Spirit’s Carry-On Fee Spotlights Airline Charges

201205-b-spirit-airlines-carry-on-luggagejpg
You may have heard the news: Spirit Airlines, one of the first carriers to implement a carry-on fee, will charge up to $100 per bag starting November 6. 

That’s up from $45, the current carry-on cost for customers who wait and pay at the departure gate. Even if you plan ahead, you’ll still have to fork over a fee: the carry-on price at the airport kiosk will increase to $50 from $40. (Spirit considers carry-ons to be luggage stored in the overhead bin—passengers will still be entitled to a free personal item that can fit under the seat.)

What can you do to avoid a carry-on crisis the next time you travel?

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QVC's Lisa Robertson's Top 10 Packing Tips

201204-b-lisa-robertsonjpg
There are two kinds of travelers in the world: over-packers, those who try to stuff their entire closet into the overhead compartment on the plane, and under-packers, those who head directly to the store once they get to their destination because they don't have what they need. Not only am I a former over-packer, but I was a random over-packer, so I had a suitcase full of nonsense. Nothing ever went together so I was constantly asking myself, "Why did I pack that?"
 
I'm proud to say I've come a long way in the packing department. But it's an acquired skill and one worth spending some time on as summer approaches.
 
Here, 10 questions to ask yourself when you're trying to decide what to put in your suitcase.
 
1. What activities do you KNOW you're going to do?
The reason I was an over-packer was because I allowed my mind to go crazy with 'maybes.' Maybe I'll want to do this activity, maybe I'll want to do that activity, and pretty soon I was taking my whole closet because I wasn't focusing on what I was really going to do. So first and foremost: what activities do you KNOW you're going to do? Start there, and then you can tweak at the end as space allows.

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Virgin Atlantic Introduces New $160 Million Upper Class Cabin

Travel Pulse  |  Virgin Atlantic Airways has introduced a new Upper Class cabin that is part of its £100 million redesign of the Upper Class product. Virgin has created a new website that has a virtual tour of the new cabin. The site links to more than 40 YouTube videos that feature the new cabin.

The new cabin features an eight-foot-long bar billed as the longest in the sky...

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T+L Facebook Chat: The Trip Doctor Is In!

headshot_small_reasonably_smalljpg As Travel + Leisure's news editor, I've spent nearly a decade working behind the scenes to deliver the strategies you need to make the most of your travels. Now it's time to speak with readers directly. In my new role as T+L's Trip Doctor, I'm here to answer your most pressing travel dilemmas, from how to save money in a time of rising airfares to what apps and websites you really need to make your life easier.
 
Tomorrow afternoon, in honor of our upcoming June hotels issue, I'll be hosting a live Facebook chat to tackle your thorniest hotel questions—just in time for your summer getaways. Want to know when to book a hotel room online to get the best rate? Curious about which guest-rewards programs give you the most bang for your buck? Want to know the tricks for getting a room upgrade, or how (once and for all) to tip your housekeeper? Log onto Facebook.com/TravelandLeisure tomorrow, April 24, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET to send your questions my way. And look for our new Trip Doctor column in Travel + Leisure's June issue.
 
P.S. If you can't make the chat, you can always reach me at TripDoctor@aexp.com and by following @afarles on Twitter.

Video: Travel Tips for New Orleans

From hotel deals to cooking classes, Travel + Leisure's digital projects director, Sarah Spagnolo, shares her favorite tips for making the most of New Orleans right now.

The Best New Accessories for Your iPad

For my last round-up, I shared a collection of my favorite new cell phone accessories. This week I want to showcase a my fave iPad accessories. So let’s just cut to the chase and dive right on in, shall we?

201204-b-techsafe-casejpgNot everyone likes to bring their iPads with them when they’re walking around a strange city. For starters, showing off your flashy, expensive toy can turn you into a target for a mugging. Second, you kind of look like a jerk using an iPad as a camera. I’m sorry, but it had to be said. However, it can be understandably nerve-wracking leaving it behind in your hotel room, especially when there is no personal safe. For peace of mind, pick up the TechSafe Case ($80; griffintechnology.com), which connects to a steel cable that can be tethered to just about anything (like the heavy hotel desk, perhaps).

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