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The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending August 2, 2013

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According to Yahoo!, Borders bookstores, which went bankrupt in the U.S. in 2011, are now re-opening in Singapore. [Maria Pedone]

Two world records were broken at the annual Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival in eastern France, with over 400 balloons hitting the skies, via AP. [M.P.]

No knock-knock jokes for this Nantucket bar: a five-foot long shark was found in front of the door at Sea Dog Brew Pub, via Huffington Post. [M.P.]

In an attempt to contain rowdy foreigners, the Greek island of Crete is considering setting up designated tourist zones to keep its citizens safe, according to CNN. [Jennifer Flowers]

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Trip Doctor: Norovirus on a Plane—What You Need to Know

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This morning’s news of a possible norovirus outbreak on a Qantas flight from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia, has us all on edge. Known for wreaking havoc on cruise ships, the norovirus is not a typical worry for fliers. Should it be?

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Trip Doctor: TSA’s Not-So-Great Report Card

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Here’s some news that will make you squirm in your airplane seat: complaints filed against airport security workers have increased by 26 percent over the last three years, according to a new study the Transportation Security Agency released yesterday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

About half the cases—9,622 in all since 2010—had to do with attendance and leave (32 percent) and screening and security (20 percent). Shockingly, those screening and security offenses included allowing travelers or baggage to bypass screening, sleeping on the job, drug and alcohol use while on duty, mishandling of classified information, and inappropriate or sexual misconduct. The report also cited a case in 2011 where a transportation security officer at Orlando International Airport pled guilty of embezzlement and theft charges for stealing more than $80,000 worth of laptops and other electronics.

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Tech Thursday: Hipmunk Gets a Last-Minute Upgrade

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We’ve long loved Hipmunk for its brilliant intelligent search capabilities, which help you find the least agonizing flights or the hotels that are best suited to your individual needs. Today, the app launches an update that once again changes the game: this time, it takes on the last-minute hotel booking sphere that has become quite the competitive space as of late.

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Pet Travel Wednesdays: Road Trips

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Look over on the highway to find a dog with his tongue hanging out of the window, ears flopping through the wind, and it’s hard to fight a smile. There’s something classic about a pup braving the open road.

But of course, safety comes first, and all those “Buckle Up” signs apply to Fido as well. For this week’s pet travel tip, we reached out to our Instagram follower Tiffany Tosh (@tiffxtosh). Sure enough, she confirmed that her Chihuahua, Louie (pictured), “is so happy go-lucky with traveling, but I always keep safety first and keep him buckled up in his car seat!”

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Trip Doctor: Is Train Travel in Europe Safe?

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Recent news from the railroads of Europe has not been good: On July 12, an intercity train derailed at a station outside of Paris, resulting in 6 casualties. On July 25, 79 passengers died when a high-speed train from Madrid careened off the tracks. And earlier this week, two trains collided in Switzerland, killing one and injuring dozens more.

The three fatal crashes give cause for thought: Are European railroads safe?

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Trip Doctor: I Accidentally Damaged My Hotel Room!

damaged hotel room

Do...

Assess the mess. One that only requires cleanup costs less than one that calls for replacing broken furniture and fixtures.

Fess up. The hotel will find out regardless—and you’ll want to be there to plead your case.

Don’t...

Fret if the damage is small and unintentional. Hotels will often let you go without penalty.

Assume you can walk away scot-free. If the damage is major, you could be responsible for repairs and lost revenue.

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.

 

Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Trip Doctor: Do Airfare Prices Increase the More You Search?

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Q: Why does it seem that the more I search for an airfare online, the more the price increases?

A: Pure coincidence, say the online travel agencies that we put this question to. These sites simply do not have the ability to adjust airfares according to your searches. It’s likely that you are finding a fare with only limited seats available at that price. and, as the adage goes, you snooze, you lose.

21: The average number of days before departure that Kayak found domestic airfares at their lowest.

Tweet for More: Tweet the hashtag #AmexpubTLAirfare to get the Trip Doctor’s most valuable tip for saving money on international airfares.

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 credit: iStockphoto

The Doctor Recommends: Must-Reads for the Week Ending July 26, 2013

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In an attempt to shrink the gap between Africa and Europe, African artists and photographers in “Invisible Borders” are capturing their experiences across some of the continent’s most misunderstood areas, CNN Travel reports. (Maria Pedone)

Those in L.A. should hold off on camping—according to ABC, a plage-infected squirrel was  captured in Angeles National Forest, closing campgrounds off for the entire week. (M.P.)

If you've ever had your beauty products confiscated by TSA, you'll appreciate Benefit's new Glam Up & Away kiosks: vending machines selling full and travel size mascara, foundation, and blush opening in airport terminals nationwide, according to TimeOut. (M.P.)

Richard Florida from The Atlantic Cities discusses Detroit's future, explaining how bankruptcy doesn't mean the end for America's Motor City. (Peter Schlesinger)

Popular Science finds one Brooklyn-based company, Final Frontier Design, that's betting on the eventual popularity of space travel—this week, they unveiled their new "3G" Space Suit, which promises to bring a stylish and comfortable edge for lay folk venturing outsize earth's boundaries. (Nikki Ekstein)

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Trip Doctor: New Twitter-Themed Hotel Opens in Mallorca

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OMG, is this the latest #traveltrend? The Sol Wave House hotel in beachy Mallorca, Spain, has officially become the world's first Twitter-themed hotel.

Not sure what that means?

Well, first-off, it means there are going to be a lot of #hashtags everywhere (and probably a few in this post as well #sorrynotsorry). Guests join a virtual community called #SocialWave, accessible only through the hotel's WiFi. Using that hashtag, they can then chat away with other guests and with the hotel's two Twitter concierges.

According to an online press release from Meliá Hotels International, the Sol Wave House's parent company, the whole experience “guarantees fun, new friendships, experiences, surprise, excitement and 'buzz'” and encourages guests to “flirt, compete in contests, share photos, etc.”

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